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Colorado House talks about what makes Colorado Springs the 'best'

April 10, 2018 Updated: April 11, 2018 at 8:33 am
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The breakaway lead by Laurent Didier of Trek Factory Racing races through Garden of the Gods on the first lap Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014, during stage 4 of the USA Pro Challenge in Colorado Springs, Colo. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

Colorado Springs' lawmakers seized their bragging rights on the House floor Tuesday.

Republican Rep. Larry Liston held up The Colorado Springs Gazette when he talked about the news that the city is the second-best place in America to live in a new ranking by U.S. News & World Report magazine.

Austin, Texas, took first place, he noted, but "I'm sure we'll catch them next year."

Even sweeter, to these hometown partisans, Colorado Springs passed Denver on the list. In fact, the state's largest city finished second last year and was bumped to third this year.

"It's no surprise to us that live in Colorado Springs," said Republican Rep. Terri Carver. "What a wonderful place it is: great quality of life, huge number of parks, 200-plus miles of bike trails and walking trails - gorgeous place."

Democratic Rep. Pete Lee had a unique theory in the city with a conservative reputation: taxes. He noted how residents had supported sales tax hikes to pay for transportation and drainage improvements the past three years.

"We took it on ourselves and accepted responsibility for out own fate and invested in our community," Lee said on the House floor. "That's why Colorado Springs moved up, because we invested in ourselves."

House Speaker Crisanta Duran, D-Denver, chimed in, "Power to the people. Let the people vote."

Besides laughs and a couple of howls from the chamber, new taxes didn't set well with his Republican colleagues from Colorado Springs, however.

Carver took the tax theory head-on.

"We go to the voters; we tell them exactly what we're going to spend the money on," she said. "We keep administrative costs incredibly low, we keep our word, and we're totally transparent. And that, folks, is why there's such a robust civic community engaged with our local government on all these issues."

Rep. Shane Sandridge, a Republican appointed to the seat in December, had his own theory that didn't involve taxes at all.

"Maybe it's because of the climate, the beautiful mountains, the great people, maybe some of the leadership, and maybe the great student students and great schools are the reasons why Colorado Springs in No. 2," he said.

Democratic Rep. Tony Exum Sr., a career firefighter, had a theory to add.

"Colorado Springs has the best fire department in the country, too," he said.

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