A new representative views General Assembly opening

As your elected state representative for District 59, I am honored to have been chosen by the voters in November. Thank you to all the people who supported me, worked on my campaign and contributed time and treasure to show their support. Thank you also to every voter who helped me prevail in a difficult and narrow victory.

I also want to thank J. Paul Brown for his two years of service in the House of Representatives. He worked hard and was a strong voice for the Western Slope. I hope to continue his efforts to protect our water, land, people and this most beautiful mountain district in Colorado. I want to keep our environment as pristine as it is today.

Within two days after the election, I was on my way to Denver for new-member orientation. We were in Denver on Nov. 8 and 9; Nov. 27, 28 and 29; and Dec. 13 and 14. We learned much about the state budget, legislative process, bill drafting and interacted with the excellent staff here at the Capitol.

I am most pleased that Legislative Legal Services and the Legislative Council are composed of highly trained and professional staff whose only job is to assist us in formulating effective public policy. We also met with the Joint Budget Committee staff and the state auditor, who have given us insight into how the state must act within our financial limitations.

I have been named to the House Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources, a fundamental protector of the Western Slope way of life. I also will serve on the Interim Water Subcommittee to keep track of this most precious public and private right. I will do my best to learn all I can about water issues.

This committee also oversees our natural resources, which include Parks and Wildlife and the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. I am certain there will be issues in this committee that will require resident voices, so let me hear from you during the session about these important issues.

As one of the few lawyers in the Legislature, I was pleased to be named to the Judiciary Committee. This committee has jurisdiction over the court system, the attorney general, Department of Corrections, the criminal justice system and the great majority of legal issues that face the state. I am certain we will give some attention to the ways we can allow maximum freedom while protecting the public during this session.

We have yet to release all our bills, but I will carry bills that expand free fishing licenses for wounded warriors, review municipal court fines, allow for more competitive applications for the position of director of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and clarify the duties of the Colorado Commission on Indian Affairs.

On the latter bill, I will be a joint prime sponsor with Rep. Don Corum of Montrose, who represents the 58th District that includes Cortez and Montezuma County. I look forward to more bipartisan work and thank Corum for his co-sponsorship.

Mike McLachlan represents the newly reconstituted House District 59 in Colorado’s General Assembly. The district now encompasses La Plata, Archuleta, San Juan, Ouray and Hinsdale counties and part of Gunnison County. Call McLachlan at (303) 866-2914 or email mike.mclachlan.house@state.co.us.