Aerial view of the Colorado capitol building dome with clouds at sunset.

Colorado Senate elects new leadership as Garcia prepares to depart for Pentagon post

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Robert Davis | The Center Square contributor

(The Center Square) – Colorado’s Senate Democrats elected their new leadership Wednesday as Senate President Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, prepares to depart the General Assembly to serve in the Pentagon.

The majority caucus elected Sen. Steve Fenberg, D-Boulder, to replace Garcia at the dais. Fenberg was chosen over Kerry Donovan, D-Vail.

“I’m honored to have the support of my colleagues as I step into this new role, and I am humbled by this opportunity to serve the Senate and the state of Colorado in a new capacity,” Fenberg said. “Clearly I have big shoes to fill, but I’m confident that my experience in the legislature and the lessons I’ve learned working with President Garcia have prepared me to successfully navigate this transition and hit the ground running.”

Garcia announced his departure from the General Assembly earlier this month after he was appointed to serve in the Department of Defense by President Joe Biden. His next job will be as special assistant to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs within the U.S. Department of Defense.

His departure becomes effective February 23.

Democrats also elected Sen. Dominick Moreno, D-Commerce City, to serve as the next Majority Leader. Sen. Rachel Zenzinger, D-Arvada, will replace Moreno on the bipartisan Joint Budget Committee (JBC), which is responsible for writing the state’s budget.

“Serving the people of Colorado has been the honor of a lifetime, and I am incredibly excited to continue serving in my new role as Majority Leader,” Moreno said. “I am humbled by the confidence my colleagues have placed in me.”

Zenzinger added that she is excited to joint the JBC “at this particularly important moment.” Colorado is flushed with cash after receiving billions of dollars in federal aid during the pandemic. The General Assembly is also considering making strategic investments in both affordable housing and transforming the state’s mental and behavioral health systems.