Funding for K-12 education, housing and UNC’s proposed College of Osteopathic Medicine topped the conversation for more than 100 university alumni, faculty, staff and community
leaders gathered for the 2024 Legislative Preview panel.
The 5th annual event highlighted UNC’s active legislative efforts ahead of the upcoming
session of the Colorado General Assembly. As in past years, the event featured remarks
by members of northern Colorado’s delegation including Sen. Kevin Priola (Senate District
13) and Rep. Mary Young, (House District 50), alongside industry and education lobbyists
Anne Bakis, Sandra Hagen Solin and Kayla Tibbals.
The event was organized by UNC in partnership with Aims Community College, the Greeley
Area Chamber of Commerce and Greeley-Evans School District 6 to provide insight into
the region’s legislative priorities for the upcoming session and included updates
on special session activities.
Young, a doctoral alumna who graduated from UNC in 2000, was among the first to raise
the importance of funding UNC’s proposed College of Osteopathic Medicine. She will
co-sponsor a bill in the House this session to enhance the college’s funding mechanism
and emphasized the intended outcomes and broad community support for the bill’s passage.
“We had other universities come together to help us on this bill that will further
health care training opportunities across the state,” said Young. “This bill is really
about satisfying the critical need for physicians in our state.”
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Attending guest and former state Sen. Tom Norton pressed the panel further on support
for the college, allowing Young and UNC lobbyist Kayla Tibbals to highlight that Sen.
Barbara Kirkmeyer will serve as the bill’s Senate co-sponsor. Kirkmeyer represents
Larimer and Weld counties in Senate District 23 and serves on the Senate Appropriations
Additionally, Tibbals encouraged attendees to publicly support the project.
“This is a complex proposal but it’s necessary action the state must take,” said Tibbals.
“Northern Colorado does not get the attention that it deserves, and this legislation
will take a lot of voices. But we need more doctors, and we need doctors that reflect
the population of the state.”
In addition to the bill, Tibbals noted that UNC President Andy Feinstein will head
to the state capitol Tuesday, Jan. 9 to meet with the Joint Budget Committee, as UNC
seeks to represent the broader interests of higher education.
Beyond the College of Osteopathic Medicine, focus was paid to K-12 education school
finance, transportation and child welfare as regional legislative priorities. Audience
questions and comments pulled the conversation toward housing and regional public
transportation as areas of particular importance, providing Greeley Area Chamber of
Commerce lobbyist Sandra Hagen Solin the opportunity to discuss the intersection of
interests and barriers to progress. Comments closed on the challenge of affordable
for-sale housing, which all panelists agreed was an important issue for the session.
The legislative preview is one of three community advocacy events co-hosted by UNC,
alongside Greeley Day at the Capitol and the Legislative Wrap up. Feinstein created
the event series to improve community relations and collaborative advocacy at the