DENVER Gov.-elect John Hickenlooper moved to set up a transition team Wednesday, as Republican state legislators claimed they had won control of the House.
Starting today, we put aside our differences. We reach out to Republicans, Democrats, unaffiliateds. We start working on getting this economy back on track, Hickenlooper said.
He will try to create a culture of continuous improvement for state agencies, as he expects to see lean budgets for the government in the future.
Hickenlooper laid out an ambitious agenda for his transition team, which he calls Partners for Colorado.
The team will make recommendations for Hickenloopers Cabinet appointments, as well as specific steps the governor and Legislature can take in the weeks after the Jan. 11 inauguration.
How you manage those first hundred days has a lot to do with how much you can get done in the first four years, Hickenlooper said.
He said he would pick the best people to lead state agencies and not pay attention to party affiliation or a persons hometown.
Hickenlooper put Lt. Gov.-elect Joe Garcia in charge of his transition team, along with John Huggins, who led his Denver City Hall transition team in 2003.
His team will visit Durango on Nov. 13 for a public meeting, one of eight it will hold around the state this month.
Hickenlooper asked Colorado citizens to submit their comments and suggestions to his transition website, www.partnersforcolorado.com.
Meanwhile, state House Republicans declared that they had recaptured the chamber after six years of Democratic rule. Democrats, though, were not so sure.
We recognize and understand that Colorado has significant challenges ahead of us, said Rep. Frank McNulty, R-Highlands Ranch, who expected to be named the next speaker of the House today.
McNulty and Hickenlooper spoke by phone Wednesday morning and pledged to work together.
But McNulty added that the first items on his agenda would be to repeal new regulations and other bills he deemed anti-business that Democrats passed over the last four years.
Democrats said two races in Denvers northwest suburbs could yet give them the majority in the House.
The fat lady has not sung! said Democratic Speaker of the House Terrance Carroll in a Twitter posting Wednesday afternoon.
But McNulty believes the Republicans will control 33 House seats exactly enough for a majority in the 65-member chamber.
The state Senate was another story. Durango Republican Ellen Roberts looked to be the only GOP addition to the Democratic-controlled chamber, thanks to her defeat of incumbent Democrat Bruce Whitehead.
Other hard-fought races in Colorado Springs, Lakewood and the San Luis Valley did not go Republicans way. A central mountain district race was still too close to call Wednesday.
If Roberts ends up as the only GOP pickup, Democrats would control the upper chamber 20-15.
While Republicans cheered pickups of U.S. House seats by Scott Tipton and Cory Gardner, the state House would be an even bigger prize, because it would give them a say in drawing the new boundaries for Tiptons and Gardners districts.
Every 10 years, after the census, the Legislature draws new congressional district boundaries. With a Democratic governor and a Democratic majority in the state Senate, the GOP would be out in the cold if it does not control the state House, McNulty said.