Colorado leaders react to Biden inauguration


Colorado officials on Wednesday marked the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, with Democrats offering messages of congratulations and conveying determination to tackle the work ahead, while Republicans cautioned the new administration against lurching too far to the left.

The state's two senators, who both ran in the Democratic primary in hopes of taking on former President Donald Trump, spoke of the challenges faced by the incoming administration and cheered Biden's call to bring the nation together.

“Not since FDR has an administration began with such formidable challenges — a public health crisis, an economic crisis, a climate crisis, and the most bitter partisan divisions in living memory," said U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet.

"Americans are eager for change. President Biden and Vice President Harris have a historic opportunity to earn the American people’s confidence by leading with integrity, governing with competence, and pursuing an agenda that will make a real difference in their lives."

Added Bennet: "The new administration has already put forward proposals to bridge us from the pandemic into a growing economy while expanding opportunity and security for millions of Americans. I look forward to working closely with the new administration to pass this agenda, restore a government that works, and burnish our democratic example to the world once again.”

"Today we begin our work to rebuild the nation," said U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper. “President Biden spoke of coming together to confront the challenges facing our country, and he’s right — there isn’t any time to waste.

"The pandemic has stolen over 400,000 lives and millions of jobs, climate change has caused severe droughts and record-breaking wildfires in Colorado, and the Trump Administration has endangered families' health care and our standing in the world."

Referring to Biden's pledge that he will be a “president for all Americans” and “fight as hard for those who did not support me as for those who did," Hickenlooper seconded the sentiment.

“President Biden and Vice President Harris are taking office at a time when we face deep divisions, but even stronger calls to unite. I’m ready to partner with the new administration and my colleagues, including those across the aisle, to get our nation back on track. Let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work.”

U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, a Windsor Republican and the chairman of the Colorado GOP, tweeted criticism of Biden's reported plans to swiftly undo policies of the Trump administration by issuing an unprecedented series of executive orders on his first day.

"Instead of taking steps to start moving America forward, Biden will sign Executive Orders on his first day that will make good on the campaign promises he made to the extreme left-wing of the Democratic Party. These policies will hurt millions of people and weaken our nation," Buck said.

"This liberal wishlist is the wrong approach for our nation," Buck said after listing his objections to Biden's intention to join the Paris Climate Accord, block the Keystone XL pipeline and move toward hiking the minimum wage and creating a path to citizenship for 11 million immigrants in the country illegally.

Added Buck: "Republicans are focused on working to unify the country by rebuilding a strong economy and fighting for freedom and opportunity, which have made America an exceptional nation."

Democratic Gov. Jared Polis called the "relief and hope" he felt watching the inauguration "overwhelming" in an email to supporters.

"The last four years have been an emotional roller coaster for all of us. Finally, we have professional, skilled, experienced, data-driven, sane leaders in the White House once again who are governing our nation with honesty and integrity," he said. "In my lifetime, the need for leaders like this President and Vice President, who are prepared to begin to make progress on Day One, has never been greater."

Slamming the "absence of federal leadership during the previous administration," Polis maintained that Coloradans "have done our very best to use science, data, and fact-driven consensus to improve people’s lives and recover in the face of trauma."

"This is a day of tremendous hope that brighter days are ahead for our nation," Polis concluded. "And it’s a day for resolve and for determination that we will not let the forces whose negligence and dishonesty have given us so much unnecessary hardship drag us back in the wrong direction. Together, we can and we must continue to make progress."

U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, a Denver Democrat, hailed the inauguration as "a great day for our nation" in a statement.

"Our Democracy has been tested in unprecedented ways, but it has held — and today’s inauguration was a testament to the amazing strength and resiliency that our nation has shown time and time again during even the most trying of times," she said.

DeGette, one of nine House Democrats chosen to prosecute the impeachment case against Trump in an upcoming Senate trial, said, “Today is the start of a new chapter in our nation’s history. It’s a time for us to come together and show the word that America’s unity is still its greatest strength.”

In a tweet, DeGette drew attention to the historic nature of Harris being sworn in.

"Three historic words were spoken on the steps of the U.S. Capitol today: Madam Vice President," she said, noting Harris is the first woman to serve as vice president. "Now, let’s make sure you aren’t the last."

Freshman U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, a Rifle Republican and ardent Trump supporter, took a swipe at Biden after attending Trump's send-off to Florida at Joint Base Andrews.

"It’s Biden’s #InaugurationDay and all the left can seem to talk about is Donald J. Trump," Boebert tweeted. "Says it all."

Earlier, Boebert tweeted a valedictory message about Trump.

"President Trump inspired a new generation of patriots to get involved in saving this great nation," she said.

"It’s now on us to carry the movement forward. This is bigger than one man. The America First movement is only beginning."

Democratic U.S. Rep. Jason Crow of Aurora said Biden's inauguration marked "the dawn of a new day in America," in a statement.

"President Joe Biden is a good and decent man who has faced many challenges in his life and persevered. His empathy and compassion is born of tragedy, like so many of us. Our first woman Vice President, a daughter of immigrants, embodies the hopes and aspirations of our nation. While the path forward is hard, I know that President Biden and Vice President Harris will help America build back stronger," Crow said.

“Today’s inauguration sends a clear message to Americans and people across the world that the peaceful transfer of power is the cornerstone of Democracy. The January 6th attacks on our Capitol and the setbacks our nation has experienced over the last four years will not define us. America is strong and our democracy will prevail."

Denver Mayor Michel Hancock, a Democrat, applauded the arrival of "leadership once again on the most pressing issues of our time — positive progress on immigration reform, addressing climate change, regaining our standing on the international stage, and much more."

Calling Harris's ascension to the vice presidency "an inspiration to so many," Hancock praised the inauguration's "display of unity we need right now."

"We may have our differences, but we are all Americans, and what we can achieve when working together toward a common goal is one of our greatest strengths as a people," he said.

"Today, America turned a page and put a dark chapter of our history behind us," said Alec Garnett, the speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives and a Denver Democrat, in a statement.

“I’m confident that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are the right people to lead our country at this crucial time, and I’m hopeful that together we’ll be able to craft a strong economic recovery that leaves no person behind. It’s time to put aside the vitriol that has characterized the last four years and instead work together to build back our country even stronger than it was before.”

The Colorado Senate Democrats offered congratulations to Harris.

"The first Latina Supreme Court Justice, Sonia Sotomayor, just swore-in the first black, South Asian & woman Vice President of the United States," the Senate Democrats tweeted. "The glass ceiling has been shattered."

Morgan Carroll, a former state Senate president and chair of the Colorado Democratic Party, said that the country's "Constitution and democracy institutions have prevailed," in a statement.

“It is morning again in our great nation, and I look forward to watching the Democratic members of Colorado’s Congressional delegation work with the Biden Administration to lead us past the pandemic, rebuild our economy, and to heal the soul of our nation," Carroll said.

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