Colorado’s President of the Senate
President Kevin J. Grantham gave a beautiful speech today explaining exactly what his job entails. For some background on Mr. Grantham, he has, “ … served in the Colorado Senate since 2011, representing Senate District 2 … Prior to serving as President, he served as Senate Minority Whip and as a member of the Joint Budget Committee. President Grantham was elected President of the Senate in 2017” (http://leg.colorado.gov/agencies/senate/senate- executive-leadership). President Grantham has had many years of experience which sets him up for success as President of the Senate.
President Grantham opened his speech by saying, “We do have a beautiful chamber here, and it is a pleasure to be able to show it to you.” He specifically requested to give his speech in the Senate Chamber, as it is where his work is based. President Grantham takes great pride in his workplace and explains that how, since all of the construction is now done in the house and the senate, “What you are looking at in here, except for a few minor variations, is what this place looked like when the founders of Colorado put this state together.” The Capitol is so incredibly important to the history of Colorado, and the delegates of Youth in Government have a great honor in being able to use these spaces.
After explaining more details about the senate and what they do, President Grantham opened up the floor to questions. The first one was, “What is the hardest part about your job?” His ‘short’ answer was, “The best part of my job is the people I get to work with. The worst part of my job is the people I get to work with” which made the entire delegation laugh and giggle since everyone has experienced this feeling at some point in their lifetimes. The room turned quiet, and he started to speak again.
He explained how, “[It’s the president’s job to ensure that] we can all have a voice when we’re discussing issues, and that’s probably one of the most difficult things, to make sure that our emotions do not get away from us when arguing about difficult issues.” Since politics affects the lives of so many individuals, its subjects can make for heated and passionate arguments. This means that one of the President of the Senate’s key tasks is to ensure that debates stay professional, in order to get more done in a calm manner.
Another question that was asked relates back to how politics have become so personal. A young lady in the delegation asked, “There is a common theme of respecting the person debating even if we do not agree with their ideals, but what they think is a part of who they are. So, how do we separate the two?” President Grantham’s answer is that he cannot separate his political opinions from himself, “otherwise I’m not myself when I’m casting my vote.” The NPR supports this with research from the University of Michigan says that people are more likely to listen to their personal beliefs instead of the facts (https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story. php?storyId=128490874). People’s personal beliefs often shape their opinions, just as Mr. Grantham said in response to the question.
Overall, this everything that was discussed matters to every single person at the Youth and Government 2017 session because, as Mr. Grantham says, “If you’re not interested in politics, don’t worry, because politics is very interested in you. You need to help shape it otherwise it will help shape you.”
Author: Sierra Snyder
Photographer: Cenon Caramanzana