|Member of the Colorado House of Representatives
from the 19th district
January 10, 2007
|Preceded by||Marsha Looper|
August 13, 1957 |
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
|Alma mater||University of California, Los
California State University,
University of Colorado,
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. 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.
- 1 Biography
- 2 "Amycare" legacy
- 3 Political career
- 3.1 2006 election
- 3.2 2007 legislative session
- 3.3 2008 legislative session
- 3.4 2008 election
- 3.5 2009 legislative session
- 3.6 2010 legislative session
- 3.7 2010 election
- 3.8 2011 legislative session
- 3.9 2012 legislative session
- 3.10 2012 election
- 3.11 2013 Legislative Session
- 3.12 2014 U.S. Senate Race
- 4 References
- 5 External links
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. An abstinence-based sex education curriculum written by Stephens, No Apologies, has been translated into over a dozen languages.
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. Stephen is married; she and her husband, Ron, have one son, Nicholas.
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, and U.S. President George W. Bush. 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.
Stephens is best known for championing Colorado's implementation of the state's troubled Obamacare exchange established by Senate Bill 11-200. Her advocacy of the bill was seen by critics as an embrace of Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and the end of Stephens' most promising political aspirations. The bill led conservative Republicans to label Stephens a "RINO" (Republican in Name Only). "Amycare" dogged Stephens in 2013, leading her to abandon a short-lived run for the United States Senate.
Stephens in 2014 agreed to advise the Colorado Health Institute, described by critics as a left-leaning organization dedicated to advancement of Obama's health care law and socialized medicine.
The largest "Amycare" exchange, Colorado HealthOP, was shut down by regulators in 2015, leaving 83,000 Coloradans without health insurance. Regulators closed the "Amycare" exchange provider after discovering it lacked adequate capital reserves. Demise of Colorado HealthOP left Colorado taxpayers on hook for $72 million in federal loans initiated by SB-200.
In 2006, Stephens ran for the legislature herself, winning a 3:1 victory over Democratic opponent Jan Hejtmanek in an overwhelmingly Republican district. During her campaign, Stephens identified infrastructure issues, including water, as one of her major legislative concerns. 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. Hejtmanek has criticized Stephens for her continued support of "abstinence-only sex education" and for opposing expanded "adoption and non-discrimination rights" for homosexuals; Stephens has denounced these bills as part of a Democratic "cultural revolution" furthering a "secular agenda."
2007 legislative session
|Bills Introduced in 2007 by Rep. Stephens
(for which Rep. Stephens is the primary originating sponsor)
|HB07-1040||Concerning legal process for persons who are not legally present in this county, and making an appropriation in connection therewith and requiring a post-enactment review of the implementation of this act.||Signed by Gov. Ritter|
|HB07-1109||Concerning the use of underground water storage strategies.||Postponed indefinitely in House committee|
|HB07-1270||Concerning a comprehensive review of the state's educational data infrastructure, and making an appropriation therefor.||Signed by Gov. Ritter|
|HB07-1327||Concerning the method by which a creditor that provides periodic statements to its consumers is to notify a consumer that a delinquency charge has been assessed.||Signed by Gov. Ritter|
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. Four bills introduced by Rep. Stephens were passed by the General Assembly, most prominently a measure that would prohibit criminal charges against illegal immigrants from being dismissed without their deportation. 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.
2008 legislative session
In the 2008 session of the Colorado General Assembly, Stephens sits on the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee, and the House Judiciary Committee.  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. Stephens also sponsored a bill, passed by the General Assembly, to streamline the teaching licensure application process for military spouses, and sponsored another bill to provide unemployment benefits to military spouses forced to relocate out of state. She also sponsored successful legislation to require hospitals to publicly publish charges for common medical procedures.
In a rematch of their 2006 contest, Stephens again faced Democrat Jan Hejtmanek in the November 2008 legislative election. Stephens' re-election bid was endorsed by the Denver Post, while the Colorado Springs Independent endorsed her Democratic opponent.
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. In that capacity, she made a number of media statements in support of Palin during the 2008 presidential campaign, spoke at an October rally in Colorado Springs featuring Palin, and delivered the invocation at a Denver rally featuring John McCain. In October, Stephens, with other Republican legislators, participated in a statewide "Save, Don't Spend" RV Tour critical of Democratic policies.
After winning re-election with 76 percent of the popular vote, Stephens was also re-elected Minority Caucus Chair by House Republicans, fending off a challenge for the post from Rep. Ellen Roberts.
2009 legislative session
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. The measure was defeated in a House committee.
2010 legislative session
|This section requires expansion. (November 2012)|
|This section requires expansion. (November 2012)|
2011 legislative session
|This section requires expansion. (November 2012)|
2012 legislative session
|This section requires expansion. (November 2012)|
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.
2013 Legislative Session
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).
2014 U.S. Senate Race
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.
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