Ferrandino received the gavel from outgoing speaker, Republican Frank McNulty, and noted his historic moment as the state’s first gay House speaker with a little pang of sadness. His older brother and grandfather were not present.
"They are the more conservative members of the family, and my arguments with them have prepared me for the coming discussions with Minority (Mark) Leader Waller," Ferrandino said in his speech.
The new speaker outlined plans for a bipartisan philosophy of governing to improve the state budget. A healthier state budget will allow for the restoration of some programs like education, and said it also will allow for about 800 more people with developmental disabilities to finally start receiving state services.
"But we still face a structural budget crisis," Ferrandino said. "And we won't be able to climb all the way back — ever — unless we address its causes. So we'll continue to have unmet needs in our classrooms, our colleges, and in critical areas like developmental and mental health services. Ultimately, that should be unacceptable to all of us."
Ferrandino said the House will discuss gun control legislation. "The Second Amendment is sacrosanct," Ferrandino said. "But so is the First. It is our right — and the time is right — to speak openly and honestly about how we can curb the gun violence that costs our communities far too many sons and daughters,” he said.
As for same-sex marriage, Ferrandino said he supports homosexuals’ right to marry. “Ayn Rand, wrote: 'The political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities.' "In that spirit," he said, "we must acknowledge that all committed couples deserve equal protection under the law, forever end Colorado's 'hate state' nickname, and, with bipartisan cooperation, pass civil unions this year."
Waller, R-Colorado Springs, the new minority leader in the House, cited far fewer specific legislative initiatives in his speech and called for an end to "poltical grandstanding."
"I pledge to you that House Republicans will do everything in our power to build the coalitions we need to strengthen our state together," he said.