Amy Stephens

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Amy Stephens
Colorado-Rep-Amy-Stephens.jpg
Member of the Colorado House of Representatives
from the 19th district
In office
January 9, 2013 – January 7, 2015
Preceded by Marsha Looper
Succeeded by Paul Lundeen
Member of the Colorado House of Representatives
from the 20th district
In office
January 10, 2007 – January 9, 2013
Preceded by Lynn Hefley
Succeeded by Bob Gardner
Personal details
Born (1957-08-13) August 13, 1957 (age 60)
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Ron Stephens
Alma mater University of California, Los
Angeles

California State University,
Fullerton

University of Colorado,
Colorado Springs

Amy Stephens is a Colorado legislator. Elected to the Colorado House of Representatives as a Republican in 2006, Stephens represented House District 20, which covers northern El Paso County, Colorado, including portions of Colorado Springs and the areas surrounding the United States Air Force Academy.[2] She served as the House Majority Leader during the two years of Republican control of the House from 2010 - 2012. Following redistricting, Stephens was elected as the representative for Colorado's 19th House District. She had sought the Republican nomination to challenge then-U.S. Senator Mark Udall in 2014, but withdrew from the race on February 27, 2014.[3]

Biography[edit]

Stephens attended the University of California at Los Angeles and then California State University Fullerton, earning a bachelor's degree in communications in 1980. From 1991 to 2001, she worked as a public policy and youth culture specialist for the Christian ministry Focus on the Family. A sexual risk avoidance curriculum written by Stephens,[4] No Apologies, has been translated into over a dozen languages.[5]

After leaving Focus on the Family, Stephens founded the consulting firm Fresh Ideas Communication & Consulting, assisting non-profit and faith-based organizations with communication, organization, and development issues. She has also served as a panel expert on federal grant review committees for the federal Department of Health & Human Services.[5] Stephen is married; she and her husband, Ron, have one son, Nicholas.[6]

Before running for the legislature herself, Stephens was a veteran of numerous Republican campaigns, including those of Colorado Governor Bill Owens, 4th Judicial District Attorney John Newsome, El Paso County Commissioner Wayne Williams,[5] and U.S. President George W. Bush.[1] She has served as a member of the El Paso County Republican Committee, and as a delegate to the 1996 and 2004 Republican National Conventions. She was also appointed by Governor Owens to the Governor's Commission on the Welfare of Children.[5]

Political career[edit]

2006 election[edit]

In 2006, Stephens ran for the legislature herself, winning a 3:1 victory over Democratic opponent Jan Hejtmanek[7] in an overwhelmingly Republican district.[8] During her campaign, Stephens identified infrastructure issues, including water, as one of her major legislative concerns.[1] Stephens has already begun her re-election campaign for the 2008 elections and is expected to face Hejtmanek once again, in a rematch of their 2006 race.[9] Hejtmanek has criticized Stephens for her continued support of "sexual risk avoidance"[10] and for opposing expanded "adoption and non-discrimination rights" for homosexuals;[11] Stephens has denounced these bills as part of a Democratic "cultural revolution" furthering a "secular agenda."[12]

2007 legislative session[edit]

In the 2007 session of the state legislature, Stephens sat on the House Judiciary Committee and was the ranking Republican on the House Business & Labor Affairs Committee.[13] Four bills introduced by Rep. Stephens were passed by the General Assembly,[14] most prominently a measure that would prohibit criminal charges against illegal immigrants from being dismissed without their deportation.[15][16] In November 2007, upon Rep. Bill Cadman's appointment to the Colorado Senate, the first-term legislator was elected to succeed him as House Minority Caucus Chair.[17]

2008 legislative session[edit]

In the 2008 session of the Colorado General Assembly, Stephens sits on the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee, and the House Judiciary Committee. [18] Stephens sponsored a bill to tax in-room pay-per-view movies sold by hotels to fund child advocacy centers; after facing opposition from the hotel industry, Stephen asked for the bill to be killed in committee.[19] Stephens also sponsored a bill, passed by the General Assembly, to streamline the teaching licensure application process for military spouses,[20] and sponsored another bill to provide unemployment benefits to military spouses forced to relocate out of state.[21] She also sponsored successful legislation to require hospitals to publicly publish charges for common medical procedures.[22][23]

Stephens also led Republican opposition to the 2008 state budget, criticizing it for excessive spending.[24][25]

2008 election[edit]

In a rematch of their 2006 contest, Stephens again faced Democrat Jan Hejtmanek in the November 2008 legislative election.[26] Stephens' re-election bid was endorsed by the Denver Post,[27] while the Colorado Springs Independent endorsed her Democratic opponent.[28]

In September 2008, Stephens was named to the "Palin Truth Squad," representatives of the McCain-Palin presidential campaign tasked with countering alleged distortions concerning the record of Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin.[29] In that capacity, she made a number of media statements in support of Palin during the 2008 presidential campaign,[30] spoke at an October rally in Colorado Springs featuring Palin,[31] and delivered the invocation at a Denver rally featuring John McCain.[32] In October, Stephens, with other Republican legislators, participated in a statewide "Save, Don't Spend" RV Tour critical of Democratic policies.[33][34]

After winning re-election with 76 percent of the popular vote,[35] Stephens was also re-elected Minority Caucus Chair by House Republicans, fending off a challenge for the post from Rep. Ellen Roberts.[36]

After House Minority Leader Mike May announced plans to retire in December 2008, Stephens was seen as a possible candidate for the leadership post.[37]

2009 legislative session[edit]

With Democratic Rep. Joe Rice, Stephens sponsored legislation allowing health insurance providers to offer discounts for participation in wellness programs.[38][39]

Responding to a deal between labor and business leaders to remove several statewide referenda from the 2008 general election ballot, Stephens introduced legislation that would prohibit financial deals that would impact initiatives on Colorado election ballots.[40][41] The measure was defeated in a House committee.[42]

2010 legislative session[edit]

2010 election[edit]

2011 legislative session[edit]

2012 legislative session[edit]

2012 election[edit]

As a consequence of redistricting in the state of Colorado, Representative Stephens ran for the State House in the 19th House District. The seat was previously held by Republican legislator Marsha Looper since the 2006 general election.

In the 2012 General Election, Representative Stephens faced third party challengers from the ACN and Libertarian parties. Stephens was reelected with over 80% of the vote.[43][44]

2013 Legislative Session[edit]

In the 2013 session of the Colorado General Assembly, Stephens sits as Ranking Member on the House Health, Insurance & Environment Committee and House Public Health Care & Human Services Committee. Stephens played a critical role in passing a bill that identifies mandatory reporter for incidents of elder abuse and applies a class 3 misdemeanor as a penalty for failing to do so (SB 111 Require Reports Of Elder Abuse and Exploitation). She also made it easier for mental health care providers from other states to work in treatment facilities operated by the U.S. Armed Forces (HB 1065 Federal Professionals Mental Health Authority). Additionally, Stephens passed an important piece of legislation targeted at reporting waste-prevention in health care (HB 1196 Report Waste-Prevention Methods Accountable Care) as well as another bill that makes it easier for home-schooled students to participate in extracurricular activities in public schools (HB 1095 Home School Students Participation in Activities).

Health Care for the People "Amycare"[edit]

“Amy Stephens, the top GOP health care mind in Colorado politics today, has led the push to peal Colorado from the ravenous grip of the Affordable Care Act. Stephens has run several measures to get Colorado out of Barack Obama’s government run health care scheme.”[45] Noting that the Affordable Care Act had already been passed in Colorado,[46] Stephens sponsored SB-11-200, dubbed by some critics as “Amycare,” in order to create a [47] free market within the healthcare system.[47] SB11-200, was a “Health Care Exchange” bill that she co-sponsored with Senate President Pro-tem Betty Boyd.[48] “The bill allowed individuals and small businesses to band together and negotiate in marketplaces for health care coverage the way large companies do. Reforms passed by Congress required states to set up the exchanges by 2014, or the federal government would step in and do it for them.”[49] Stephens said,“ As an avid state’s rights advocate, the Colorado exchange is about the free market that the state controls - not throwing people into a federal exchange where they have less choice and longer hours waiting on a phone for help.”[50] Stephens said from the beginning of health exchange discussions, the issue was about small business and affordable health care for Colorado’s working families,”[51] “This bill brings responsibility back to the states, and to the individual. It brings local decisions where they need to be in a very efficient manner.”[52] This was done to protect our state, and to take a stand in favor of states’ rights and free market health care.” “Stephens sponsored the legislation that created[53] the Connect for Health Colorado insurance marketplace. She believed the measure protected Colorado from being held hostage from the federal government regarding implementation of the Affordable Care Act.”[54] Stephens also believed if the hands of power changed federally, that exchanges could be a vehicle to sell health insurance across state lines.[50] Stephens took a lot of political heat from some in the GOP who equated setting up a health exchange with “bringing Obamacare to Colorado.” Not understanding that Colorado US Senators Michael Bennet (D) and Mark Udall (D) voted for Obamacare - triggering its implementation into the states.[55] Stephens said of this, “The only thing to decide was if we would exercise our state rights or put people in a federally run exchange.”[50] Stephens argued that healthcare run closer to home allowed more accountability to how the exchange is run and financial oversight. Stephens set up in the SB11-200 legislation a “Legislative Oversight Review Committee” something not done in other states because she wanted the exchange accountable to the legislature and accountable to state audit.[56] Stephens was saluted for branding the GOP in Colorado as being a party that stands for health care reform, even as they spend political capital trying to make sure that the Affordable Care Act isn't the health care we have to live (or die) with.”[45]

When Stephens announced her candidacy for US Senate in 2013 some thought she might not get past the health exchange debate within her party. But in February, 2014, a Quinnipiac poll showed Stephens leading the GOP candidates for US Senate and was within 2 points of incumbent US Senator Mark Udall.[57] When Stephens stepped aside for then-Congressman Cory Gardner citing him as “a great uniter” the Colorado Springs Gazette heralded her stepping aside for Gardner titled, “Thank Amy Stephens for Rare, Selfless, Decision” calling her a “statesman.” “We seldom see politicians place interests of a party or a political philosophy ahead of the self interest of winning a higher political office.”[58] Stephens was term-limited out of the legislature in 2014 and went to consult with the Colorado Health Institute on issues pertaining to Medicaid expansion, health exchanges and health care reform.[53] In 2015 she was hired by Dentons, the world’s largest global law firm to lead their Denver Government Affairs practice.[59]

2014 U.S. Senate Race[edit]

Stephens organized a campaign for U.S. Senate to run against Mark Udall. On February 26, while in the process of raising campaign funds and gathering signatures to petition onto the June Republican primary ballot, she announced her intentions to drop out of the race and support Cory Gardner.[60]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Amy Stephens - Colorado - State House District 20 candidate". RockyMountainNews.com. Retrieved 2007-11-14. [permanent dead link]
  2. ^ "State House District 20". COMaps. Archived from the original on 2008-03-04. Retrieved 2007-11-13. 
  3. ^ Bartels, Lynn. "Amy Stephens drops U.S. Senate bid, calls Cory Gardner "the great uniter"". Denver Post. 
  4. ^ "A Better Approach to Teenage Pregnancy Prevention" (PDF). 
  5. ^ a b c d "Biography". AmyStephens4hd20.com. Archived from the original on 2008-01-07. Retrieved 2007-11-14. 
  6. ^ "Representative Stephens". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved 2007-11-14. 
  7. ^ "Campaign 2008". AmyStephens4hd20.com. Archived from the original on 2008-01-18. Retrieved 2007-11-14. 
  8. ^ Wilson, Jennifer (September 28, 2007). "District 20 is a GOP bastion". Colorado Springs Gazette. Retrieved 2007-11-14. 
  9. ^ Martinez, Julia C. (23 July 2007). "Should Denver put on a red light?". Denver Post. Retrieved 2007-11-14. 
  10. ^ "A Better Approach to Teenage Pregnancy Prevention" (PDF). 
  11. ^ "An Eye on Amy". Jan Hejtmanek for State Representative. Retrieved 2007-11-14. 
  12. ^ "Capitol Update - April 2007". AmyStephens4hd20.com. Retrieved 2007-11-14. [dead link]
  13. ^ "House Committees of Reference". Colorado General Assembly. Retrieved 2007-12-11. 
  14. ^ "Legislative Agenda". AmyStephens4hd20.com. Archived from the original on 2008-01-19. Retrieved 2007-11-14. 
  15. ^ Associated Press (May 28, 2007). "Bill aims to stop illegal immigrants from escaping prosecution". Rocky Mountain News. Archived from the original on July 29, 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-14. 
  16. ^ Sealover, Ed (June 2, 2007). "Casino smoking ban gets Ritter's approval". Rocky Mountain News. Retrieved 2007-11-14. 
  17. ^ Associated Press (November 10, 2007). "CGOP Elects Amy Stephens Caucus Chairwoman". cds4denver.com. Retrieved 2007-11-14. [dead link]
  18. ^ "House Committees of Reference". Colorado General Assembly. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  19. ^ Staff Report (13 February 2008). "Representative drops plans to tax hotel pay-per-view movies". Durango Herald. Archived from the original on 15 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-23. 
  20. ^ Sealover, Ed (3 March 2008). "Monday in the General Assembly". Rocky Mountain News. Archived from the original on 23 January 2013. Retrieved 2008-03-03. 
  21. ^ Paulson, Steven K. (17 March 2008). "Bill eases rule on jobless pay". Rocky Mountain News. Archived from the original on 2008-03-19. Retrieved 2008-03-17. 
  22. ^ Davidson, Michael; Ed Sealover (20 April 2008). "This week in the Legislature". Denver Post. Archived from the original on 24 January 2013. Retrieved 2008-04-22. 
  23. ^ Moore, Paula (28 May 2008). "Governor signs business bills". Denver Business Journal. Retrieved 2008-06-13. 
  24. ^ Hanel, Joe (27 March 2008). "State tackles budget". Durango Herald. Retrieved 2008-03-28. [dead link]
  25. ^ Gathright, Alan (28 March 2008). "House's OK of budget bill hailed, flailed". Rocky Mountain News. Retrieved 2008-03-28. 
  26. ^ Swanson, Perry (16 October 2008). "Democrats contesting all 11 El Paso County seats in state Legislature". Colorado Springs Gazette. Archived from the original on 23 January 2013. Retrieved 2008-11-01. 
  27. ^ Editorial Board (17 October 2008). "Post's picks in Colorado's House of Representatives". Denver Post. Archived from the original on 25 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-01. 
  28. ^ Norris, Wendy; Bob Spencer (3 November 2008). "State candidate endorsement watch". Colorado Independent. Retrieved 2008-11-07. 
  29. ^ "McCain-Palin 2008 Launches Truth Squad to Counter Attacks on Governor Sarah Palin" (Press release). McCain-Palin 2008. 9 September 2008. Archived from the original on 1 November 2008. 
  30. ^ Sealover, Ed (22 September 2008). "Palin fires up state races". Rocky Mountain News. Retrieved 2008-10-31. 
  31. ^ Scanlon, Bill (20 October 2008). "Palin speaks in Colorado Springs, Colorado". Vail Daily. Archived from the original on 23 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-31. 
  32. ^ Bunch, Joey (2 October 2008). "McCain fires up Sheraton crowd". Denver Post. Retrieved 2008-11-01. 
  33. ^ Montero, David (17 October 2008). "Colorado GOP takes message on the road". Rocky Mountain News. Retrieved 2008-11-01. 
  34. ^ Hoover, Tim (17 October 2008). "Republicans on an austerity drive". Denver Post. Archived from the original on 19 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-01. 
  35. ^ "Colorado Statewide Cumulative Report - 2008 General Election". Colorado Secretary of State. Retrieved 2008-12-04. [permanent dead link]
  36. ^ Luning, Ernest (6 November 2008). "Carroll named speaker as Colorado legislative leadership takes shape". Colorado Independent. Retrieved 2008-11-16. 
  37. ^ Sealover, Ed (13 December 2008). "Key Republican giving up seat to tend to business". Rocky Mountain News. Retrieved 2008-12-26. 
  38. ^ Schroyer, John (21 January 2009). "Lawmakers looking to make healthy lifestyles pay off". Colorado Springs Gazette. Archived from the original on 4 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-08. 
  39. ^ Mook, Bob (21 January 2009). "House panel OK's bill giving insurance breaks for wellness programs". Denver Business Journal. Archived from the original on 7 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-08. 
  40. ^ Marcus, Peter (6 October 2008). "Union deal angers GOP". Denver Daily News. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 2008-11-01. 
  41. ^ Marcus, Peter (12 January 2009). "GOP seeking revenge?". Denver Daily News. Retrieved 2009-01-12. 
  42. ^ Bartels, Lynn (28 January 2009). "Ballot measure fails in committee". Rocky Mountain News. Retrieved 2009-03-12. 
  43. ^ "CO - Election Results - Colorado Secretary of State". Archived from the original on 2017-03-14. 
  44. ^ "State House 2012 Election Results - Denver Post". 
  45. ^ a b ColoradoPeakPolitics (2011-03-16). "Majority Leader Amy Stephens Leads the Way on Health Care". Colorado Peak Politics. Retrieved 2017-07-08. 
  46. ^ Miller, Blair (2017-05-05). "US House passes American Health Care Act onto Senate 217-213; see how Colorado reps voted". 7NEWS. Retrieved 2017-07-08. 
  47. ^ a b "OUR VIEW: Amycare protects us from Obamacare (poll, video)". Colorado Springs Gazette. Retrieved 2017-07-08. 
  48. ^ "Colorado House Majority Leader Stephens under siege from the right". The Colorado Independent. 2011-08-03. Retrieved 2017-07-08. 
  49. ^ "Stephens says health exchange bill still alive and kicking". The Spot. Retrieved 2017-07-08. 
  50. ^ a b c "Seven questions: ColoradoPolitics.com catches up with Amy Stephens". Colorado Springs Gazette. Retrieved 2017-07-08. 
  51. ^ ""Amycare" in trouble: Dems worry about proposed GOP amendment". The Spot. Retrieved 2017-07-08. 
  52. ^ "Stephens takes heat for sponsoring 'Amycare' bill". Colorado Springs Gazette. Retrieved 2017-07-08. 
  53. ^ a b Post, Lynn Bartels | The Denver (2014-08-25). "Rep. Amy Stephens to advise Colorado Health Institute". The Denver Post. Retrieved 2017-07-08. 
  54. ^ "Rep. Amy Stephens joins Colorado health-care group as adviser". The Spot. Retrieved 2017-07-08. 
  55. ^ Ransom, John. "- Eeewww: AmyCare for U.S. Senate?". Townhall. Retrieved 2017-07-08. 
  56. ^ "SB-11-200" (PDF). 
  57. ^ University, Quinnipiac. "QU Poll Release Detail". QU Poll. Retrieved 2017-07-08. 
  58. ^ "EDITORIAL: Thank Amy Stephens for rare, selfless decision". Colorado Springs Gazette. Retrieved 2017-07-08. 
  59. ^ "Former Rep. Amy Stephens joins prominent Denver law firm". The Spot. Retrieved 2017-07-08. 
  60. ^ Bartels, Lynn (27 February 2014). "Amy Stephens drops U.S. Senate bid, calls Cory Gardner "the great uniter"". Denver Post. Retrieved 2014-02-27. 

External links[edit]