When Colorado Community Newspapers last spoke with Linda Newell, little more than 100 votes separated her from opponent Sen. Lauri Clapp for the …
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When Colorado Community Newspapers last spoke with Linda Newell,
little more than 100 votes separated her from opponent Sen. Lauri
Clapp for the state Senate District 26 seat.
Even as new-member orientation got under way at the capitol,
Newell attended without the title of senator-elect.
Finally, Nov. 20, Clapp conceded the race and Senator-elect
Newell stepped in.
The business consultant has been assigned to serve on the Health
and Human Service, Judiciary and Local Governments, and Renewable
Recently, CCN spoke with Newell, and her 20-year-old daughter
Kate, who will serve as her mom’s legislative aide, to see how the
team is gearing up for January.
“It’s a dream come true,” Newell says of her newfound status.
Her eyes are misty and she doesn’t finish her sentence.
“This is my chance to help on such a large scale.”
Kate’s eyes are misty, too.
“I knew she would win the whole time,” Kate said. “It’s kind of
corny but my best friend has always been my mom, so I had total
Faith is something the Newells know a lot about.
When Newell, a single mother, had to take it upon herself to pay
back a large sum of debt as a result of the Savings and Loan crisis
in the 1990s, she had faith.
When she was down by 30 votes the day following the election,
she and her two daughters had faith.
Even now, one month before the start of the 2009 legislative
session, Newell has faith in her abilities to bring the two sides
together for efficient legislation.
Colorado’s fiscal state, education, health care, transportation
and renewable energy top Newell’s list of priorities for the
“We started out with a prayer and we’ll end with a prayer,” Kate
But Newell knows solving the state’s fiscal problem will take
more than a prayer.
“There’s no long-term vision for financing services in the
state,” she said. “It’s all short-term to get the project under
way, but then you don’t have a long-term revenue stream. Two years
later you’re in the exact same spot and that has to stop.”
Tackling the state’s fiscal situation must happen before any
other topic can be addressed, Newell said.
“If we don’t address this, if you don’t have the money to do
anything, what’s the point?” Newell said. “You’ll remain 48th in
education, 47th in health care, and you’re going to have bridges
But the fiscal responsibility can’t fall on the legislators’
shoulders alone. Newell said fixing the problem will take the
support of constituents — but it’s hard convincing them.
“I hear people complaining about the roads or their schools, but
people aren’t very willing to give even $1 a day,” Newell said.
“Something has got to give.”
“The way that I put it to people is if you’re going to complain
about the roads, and you don’t want to raise your taxes, then you
tell me where the money is going to come from.”
As for health care, the topic hits a little closer to home.
“We don’t have health insurance and haven’t for months,” Kate
says about her family. “And we’re probably not going to get it for
a while either.”
Newell said the state offers health insurance, but it’s too
“If your state senator doesn’t have health care, then who does?”
Regardless, Newell said she’s eager to right what’s wrong.
“This is about more than our district. It’s about the state. And
I want to make sure by the time I’m ready to commit to a bill that
it’s something I can stand behind, too.”
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