Second Democratic legislator quits and another won’t run again

BY FREDA MIKLIN
GOVERNMENTAL REPORTER

Adams County State Rep. Said Sharbini

On December 18, first term Adams County State Rep. Said Sharbini announced that he will resign his seat by December 31, 11 months before the end of his first two-year term in the general assembly. 

Sharbini, a lawyer, blamed his decision to quit after participating in just one session of the legislature, primarily on the salary of just under $44,000, which he said is not adequate to support his family, but he also noted that the work environment at the Capitol is, “characterized by vitriol and a lack of collegial behavior.”

Greenwood Village State Rep. Ruby Dickson, in her November 24 letter announcing her resignation one year into her first term, said, “The sensational and vitriolic nature of the current political environment is not healthy for me or my family.” 

Two-term Centennial State Rep. David Ortiz announced on October 11 that he will not seek re-election to a third term in 2024. Ortiz is wheelchair-bound as a result of a crash he suffered while serving as a helicopter pilot in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan. 

House Speaker Julie McCluskie has publicly credited Ortiz with having, “passed landmark legislation to improve basic access for people with disabilities, bolster service and support for veterans, and build more housing that Coloradans can afford. His advocacy at the Capitol has ensured these critical issues are always front and center, and even after his term ends, I know he will continue fighting for equity at every level.” 

In an interview with Colorado Politics in October, Ortiz said, “I think I’ve been through enough trauma and trials in my life to know you can make all the plans you want and life can have a different outcome for you. And you just have to make the most of it. That’s the way I’ve learned to live my life, and that makes it sound serious. I will always find joy where I’m at. I will make the most out of the situation I find myself in and find joy and try and serve others and help others, no matter where I’m at.”

Sharbini, Dickson, and Ortiz are all Democrats in the State House where their party holds a veto-proof majority of 46 out of 65 seats. That won’t change for the 2024 legislative session because Colorado law provides that when a member of the general assembly resigns, political party leaders in the district they represent choose the person who will complete the term they are vacating. That will occur in HD37, represented by Dickson, and HD31, represented by Sharbini. Since Ortiz plans to complete his current term, he will be replaced by the person who wins the seat by election on November 5, 2024. 

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