Stella Garza-Hicks

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Stella Garza-Hicks
Garza-Hicks in 2008
Member of the Colorado House of Representatives
from the 17th district
In office
January 10, 2007 – January 7, 2009[1]
Preceded by Mark Cloer
Succeeded by Dennis Apuan
Personal details
Born 1953 (age 63–64)
Kress, Texas, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Ray
Profession Cosmetologist, Salesperson

Stella Garza-Hicks (born 1953[2][3]) is a former Republican legislator in the U.S. state of Colorado.

A former cosmetologist and salesperson, Garza-Hicks became active in Republican Party activism in Colorado Springs, Colorado and rose to become a district chairperson and campaign manager for local candidates. A legislative aide to Rep. Mark Cloer, Garza-Hicks was appointed to Cloer's seat in the Colorado House of Representatives when he resigned unexpectedly in 2006.

As a legislator, Garza-Hicks represented House District 17, which included southern Colorado Springs and the Fort Carson military base.[4] She served one term in office, during which she look largely mainstream Republican positions and sponsored relatively little legislation. She did not stand for re-election in 2008 but remains involved in Colorado Republican Party politics.


Born in Kress, Texas, [5] Garza-Hicks dropped out of high school in the ninth grade to become a cosmetologist,[2] moving to Colorado in the 1970s[6] with her first husband, a soldier stationed at Fort Carson. After divorcing her first husband, whom she describes as an alcoholic, Hicks remarried;[2] she has three stepchildren — Frank, Jess, and Kelly[7] — through her husband, Ray Hicks, and worked as a vacuum cleaner salesperson before leaving work to become a homemaker.[5]

Garza-Hicks became involved in politics after a conversation with former state representative Barbara Phillips.[2] An active member of the El Paso County, Colorado Republican Party, Garza-Hicks belongs to the El Paso County Republican Women's Club, the Pikes Peak Republican Club, the Pikes Peak Firearms Coalition, the National Rifle Association, and is a legislative member of the Civil Air Patrol. She has managed the political campaigns of Harrison District 2 School Board member Linda Pugh and Colorado State Representative Mark Cloer, in addition to serving as Cloer's legislative aide.[5]

Legislative career[edit]

2006 appointment[edit]

Garza-Hicks served as the Republican district chairperson for Colorado House District 17 for six years,[8] a seat to which Rep. Mark Cloer was re-elected in the Colorado House of Representatives in 2006. However, instead of serving out what would have been his fourth term in the state legislature, Cloer resigned only a few weeks after his re-election, citing a desire to spend more time with his family.[9] Nominated for the position by Cloer himself, Garza-Hicks was unanimously appointed to his seat by a Republican vacancy committee,[8] and was sworn in on January 10, 2007, with the rest of the incoming legislative class.[10] Garza-Hicks, who speaks Spanish, was one of the few Hispanic women in the Colorado legislature.[2]

2007 legislative session[edit]

Bills Introduced in 2007 by Rep. Garza-Hicks
(for which Rep. Garza-Hicks is the primary originating sponsor)
HB07-1365    Concerning the inclusion of the Colorado Consortium for Earth and Space Science Education in the definition of a Public Employees' Retirement Association employer. Signed by Gov. Ritter

During the 2007 legislative session, Garza-Hicks served on the House Services Committee and the House Local Government Committee.[11]

Garza-Hicks maintained a low profile for most of her first term in the legislature, first speaking in House floor debate two months into the legislative session.[12] After being criticized by news media for not being the primary sponsor of any legislation, she introduced a late bill to allow members of the Colorado Consortium for Earth and Space Science Education to receive state retirement benefits, as well as a nonbinding resolution honoring Colorado soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.[13] Both were passed by the legislature; the resolution honoring fallen soldiers was marked in the General Assembly by a ceremony, including the playing of taps in the legislative chambers.[14] Garza-Hicks also increased her co-sponsorship of legislation from co-sponsoring only one bill at the midpoint of the 2007 legislative session to co-sponsoring over 150 bills by the session's end.[13]

For her voting record during the 2007 legislative session, Garza-Hicks earned a 64% rating from the fiscally conservative Colorado Union of Taxpayers,[15] a 60% rating from the environmentally-oriented Colorado Conservation Voters,[16] and a 42% rating from the American Civil Liberties Union;[17] each rating placed Garza-Hicks near the middle of the range of Republican legislators.

Following the regular session, Garza-Hicks was appointed by Attorney General John Suthers to the state Methamphetamine Task Force,[18] and served on the legislature's Police Officers' and Firefighters' Pension Reform Commission.[19]

2008 legislative session[edit]

In the 2008 session of the Colorado General Assembly, Hicks sat on the House Health and Human Services Committee, and the House Local Government Committee. [20] She sponsored legislation to create a special license plate recognizing the U.S. Army's 4th Infantry Division,[21] the first military unit to be honored with a special plate in Colorado.[22] She was also a primary sponsor of the bipartisan resolution to recognize Military and Veterans Appreciation Day.[23] Another of Garza-Hicks' bills addressed expedited extension of police wiretaps for surveillance purposes. The measure initially passed both houses of the legislature with different limits on potential extensions.[24] After being reconciled to allow three month-long extensions of wiretaps, the bill was signed into law by Gov. Bill Ritter.[25]

Although interest group ratings from groups including the Colorado Union of Taxpayers,[26] Colorado Conservation Voters,[27] and the American Civil Liberties Union[28] again placed Garza-Hicks solidly within the main body of Republican lawmakers in Colorado, Garza-Hicks was one of only a few Republicans to publicly back a measure introduced by Speaker Andrew Romanoff to reform spending requirements in Colorado's state constitution by diverting excess revenues under TABOR to K-12 education.[29]

Garza-Hicks announced in October 2007 that she would not seek re-election in 2008, citing health issues within her own family, but she did not rule out a future run for public office.[3] Republicans Kit Roupe and Sheila Hicks (no relation to Garza-Hicks) declared their candidacies for the open seat,[30] but the general election was narrowly won by progressive activist and Democrat Dennis Apuan, who defeated Roupe to win the only Democratic takeover of a Republican-held seat in the 2008 legislative elections in Colorado.[31]

Later political activity[edit]

While a member of the legislature in 2007, Garza-Hicks was appointed to the War on Terror Fallen Heroes Memorial Commission, which was charged with selecting a design for a memorial to soldiers killed in U.S. actions in Iraq and Afghanistan. She was elected vice-chair at the commission's first meeting; however, after the chairman, former Rep. Rafael Gallegos, left the legislature, the group did not meet again, and Gallegos could not be located. In April 2009, Garza-Hicks expressed a desire that the panel continue its work, but, as vice-chair, stated that she did not have the authority to reconvene it.[32]

In December 2009, Garza-Hicks was announced as a member of county-level leadership for Jane Norton's campaign for the U.S. Senate seat held by Michael Bennet.[33]


  1. ^ "House Journal – January 7, 2009" (PDF). Colorado General Assembly. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  2. ^ a b c d e De Yoanna, Michael (January 11, 2007). "Back road to the Capitol". Colorado Springs Independent. Retrieved 2007-11-22. 
  3. ^ a b Sealover, Ed (October 27, 2007). "Republican state rep. won't seek another term in '08". Colorado Springs Gazette. Retrieved 2007-11-22. 
  4. ^ "State House District 17". COMaps. Retrieved 2007-11-21. 
  5. ^ a b c "Representative Garza-Hicks". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved 2007-11-21. 
  6. ^ "Rep. Garza-Hicks". Retrieved 2007-11-22. 
  7. ^ Bartels, Lynn (March 20, 2008). "Citizen Legislator, March 21". Rocky Mountain News. Retrieved 2008-03-28. 
  8. ^ a b Lane, Anthony (January 4, 2007). "Cloer's choice going to House". Colorado Springs Gazette. Retrieved 2007-11-22. 
  9. ^ Washington, April M. (December 28, 2006). "Cloer: Family comes first". Rocky Mountain News. Retrieved 2007-11-22. [dead link]
  10. ^ "House Journal – January 10, 2007" (PDF). Colorado General Assembly. Retrieved 2007-11-21. 
  11. ^ "House Committees of Reference". Colorado General Assembly. Retrieved 2007-12-11. 
  12. ^ Lacey, Hank (March 24, 2007). "UNDER THE DOME from the Legislature". Colorado Springs Gazette. Retrieved 2007-11-22. 
  13. ^ a b DeGette, Cara (June 12, 2007). "A Bill Of Her own". Colorado Confidential. Retrieved 2007-11-22. 
  14. ^ Gathright, Alan (April 9, 2007). "Colorado lawmakers honor state's fallen soldiers". Rocky Mountain News. Retrieved 2007-12-04. [dead link]
  15. ^ "CUT Rates the Colorado Leigslature – Sixty-seventh General Assembly, 2007 Report" (PDF). Colorado Union of Taxpayers. Retrieved 2008-04-18. 
  16. ^ "Colorado Legislative Conservation Scorecard 2007" (PDF). Colorado Conservation Voters. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 29, 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-18. 
  17. ^ "Eye on Colorado – 2007 Legislative Scorecard for Civil Liberties" (PDF). American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 19, 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-21. 
  18. ^ "Rep. Stella Garza Hicks, HD-17". Colorado House Republicans. Retrieved 2007-11-22. 
  19. ^ "Police Officers' and Firefighters' Pension Reform Commission". Colorado Legislative Council. Retrieved 2008-04-27. [dead link]
  20. ^ "House Committees of Reference". Colorado General Assembly. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  21. ^ Staff Reports (January 21, 2008). "This week in the Legislature". Colorado Springs Gazette. Retrieved 2008-01-23. 
  22. ^ Sealover, Ed (March 23, 2008). "License plates for 4th ID, Norad". Colorado Springs Gazette. Retrieved 2008-03-28. 
  23. ^ "Statehouse Honors Military Appreciation Day" (Press release). Colorado House Democrats. February 15, 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-23. 
  24. ^ Sealover, Ed (March 3, 2008). "Monday in the General Assembly". Rocky Mountain News. Retrieved 2008-03-03. [permanent dead link]
  25. ^ Sealover, Ed; Michael Davidson (March 17, 2008). "Assembly Glance: Monday in review". Colorado Springs Gazette. Retrieved 2008-03-18. 
  26. ^ "CUT Rates the Colorado Leigslature – Sixty-seventh General Assembly, 2008 Report" (PDF). Colorado Union of Taxpayers. Retrieved 2009-12-21. 
  27. ^ "Colorado Legislative Conservation Scorecard 2008" (PDF). Colorado Conservation Voters. Retrieved 2009-12-21. 
  28. ^ "Eye on Colorado – 2008 Legislative Scorecard for Civil Liberties" (PDF). American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado. Retrieved 2009-12-21. [dead link]
  29. ^ Hanel, Joe (April 26, 2008). "TABOR reform may go straight to the voters". Durango Herald. Archived from the original on May 3, 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-26. 
  30. ^ Sealover, Ed (February 15, 2008). "Disability group lobbyist will run for state house". Colorado Springs Gazette. Retrieved 2008-02-23. 
  31. ^ Pelzer, Jeremy (November 10, 2008). "Hard work, Obama propel community organizer to HD-17 win". Retrieved 2008-11-17. 
  32. ^ Paulson, Steven K. (April 2, 2009). "Colo. war memorial panel draws fire". Marine Corps Times. Retrieved 2009-12-21. 
  33. ^ "Jane Norton for Colorado Announces All 64 County Chairs: Norton's Grassroots Organization Up and Running Strong" (Press release). Jane Norton for Colorado. December 14, 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-21. 

External links[edit]