Q&A with state Rep. Tom Sullivan on 2020 legislative session

State legislature

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Colorado Community Media asked the following questions of state Rep. Tom Sullivan, D-Centennial, ahead of the 2020 legislative session, which began Jan. 8. Sullivan represents House District 37, which includes east and central Centennial, unincorporated Arapahoe County areas and the Town of Foxfield.

What can be learned from the 2019 session?

The 2019 session was truly historic in many ways. From lowering the cost of health care and prescription drugs to investing more money in transportation and education, we passed important legislation that was years in the making. I think we learned that there’s more bipartisan agreement than most people think on how, at the state level, we can address the challenges facing Coloradans. Most of the bills we passed had Republican support in at least one chamber.

What bill or bills are you most looking forward to working on in the 2020 session?

I’m going to be working on a bill to promote responsible gun ownership. There is broad bipartisan support for increasing accountability for failing to report a lost or stolen firearm, a step we know can reduce gun violence. 

I am also working on … (a bill to) protect crime victims from the additional burden of covering towing and impound fees. We need to ensure that victims are not unjustly impacted by significant costs associated with their vehicles being towed ... (another bill) would create a state apprenticeship council to encourage participation in apprenticeship programs and improve the quality of these programs, (which) help workers learn skills they need to excel in our economy.

In light of Proposition CC’s failure in November, what steps should be taken for transportation and education funding?

First, it’s important to keep in mind what we were able to accomplish last session. We paid down the school finance negative factor by $100 million, putting that money directly into classrooms. We reached a bipartisan deal to invest $300 million in transportation.  

Our budget is extremely tight. We’re looking closely at how we can continue to put more funding into these priorities.

I am eager to work with my colleagues in both parties and in both chambers to invest in our state’s future.

What do you envision as the most daunting challenge this session?

There is already, and will be a lot of, national noise going into the presidential election.  In Colorado, I expect us to continue to be the innovative lawmakers that we are and to not let national divisions inform our own politics. I’m hopeful we can continue our success in fostering productive political discourse that leads to real results for people across this state.

Describe a successful 2020 session.

We’re hoping to build on the tremendous progress we made last session, and a successful session will see us continue the bipartisan work we did in 2019. I hope we can make more progress on bringing down the cost of health care and prescription drugs. I hope we can advance bipartisan, common-sense gun-violence prevention measures that promote responsible gun ownership. Our constituents sent us to the Capitol to pass legislation that invests in our future, protects our Colorado way of life and helps build an economy that works for all, and if we can make more progress on those goals, we’ll have a successful session. 

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