A Western Slope rancher will chair the Colorado Senate Agriculture Committee during the 72nd General Assembly, which begins on Jan. 4, 2019.
The state’s Senate Democratic Caucus announced most of its Committees of Reference assignments earlier this week. The Democrats won control of the Senate in the November elections, and so will occupy a majority of the seats and will chair the Senate committees in 2019 and 2020.
Sen. Kerry Donovan, who manages her family’s ranch near Edwards, about 15 miles west of Vail, has been named to chair the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources, replacing Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg of Sterling. In accepting the post, Donovan said her priority will be to “strengthen and grow local economies across Colorado.”
“It is critical that Colorado have representatives who understand the importance of agriculture, natural resources, and water to our state’s economy and will be a champion on those issues in the Senate,” she said.
Although the Republicans haven’t yet made public their committee selections for 2019, Sen. Sonnenberg has said he will be the “ranking member” of the Senate ag committee.
The two other Democrats on the Senate ag committee are Sen.-elect Jessie Danielson of Wheat Ridge and Sen. John Kefalas of Fort Collins.
Danielson grew up on her family’s farm near Ault. She has served two terms in the Colorado House, where she was on the House Committee on Agriculture, Livestock, and Natural Resources, and was the Speaker Pro Tempore of the House.
Kefalas is a naturalized U.S. citizen and graduate of Colorado State University who once served as Peace Corps agricultural extension agent in El Salvador. Most recently, Kefalas taught in the Poudre School District and is an adjunct professor at CSU. He served three terms in the Colorado House before being elected to the Senate in 2012 and again in 2016. During the 2018 legislative session Kefalas served on the Senate’s Capital Development Committee, Local Government Committee and Health and Human Services Committee.
So far, Democrats have selected women to chair six of the 11 standing committees. Chairmanships for two committees, Local Government and State Affairs, haven’t yet been announced.
Sage Naumann, communications director for the Senate Republican staff, told the Journal-Advocate the GOP will announce Senate committee memberships later this week.
“On Monday, Senate Democrats announced their committee member assignments along with a change in committee oversight with energy moving from the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee to a realigned Transportation and Energy Committee,” Naumann said. “With this information, Senate Republicans are now able to proceed with assigning members to Committees of Reference, which the Minority Leader plans to announce by the end of this week.”
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