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  • Writer's pictureHollis Robbins

Commission Appointments

I realized recently that I'd never written about three commissions I'd sat on back in the 1990s, appointed by Governor Roy Romer. Each was a terrific experience, offering a glimpse into state policymaking by participating in a kind of fact finding and focused analysis of a problem among leaders representing various stakeholders.

The first commission I sat on was the Colorado Cost Containment and Guaranteed Access Commission, created by Senate Bill 92-114 "to address the issues of rising health care costs and the resultant barrier of access to insurance coverage." We had two mandates: "Develop recommendations to reduce the health care inflation rate in half by 1994" and "Recommend the most cost-effective guaranteed access program." We met for a year or so and submitted a report to Governor Romer in December, 1993.

The second was the Colorado Business Commission on Child Care Financing. We (25 members of the business community) were appointed in May 1995 and charged with "examining child care from the business perspective and proposing innovative but realistic methods to help finance quality child care" that was affordable and accessible. We delivered a report in December 1995 after five months of meeting.

The third was Governor Romer's Task Force on Parent Education and Involvement, appointed in 1996 with a report in 1997. This task force (made up of parents, advocates, and professionals) was charged with "discussing the importance of parenting, the state's role in supporting parents, and the best lessons about the outcomes of parent education, support, and involvement." The report outlined why the focus on parenting and then focused largely on recommendations, including: (1) make parent education, support, and involvement programs a central theme in counties' welfare reform plans; (2) create a new statewide fund for prevention efforts that include parent education, support, and involvement; (3) hold parent education, support, and involvement programs accountable for improved parent and child outcomes by evaluating their impact; (4) ensure that parent education, support, and involvement are central elements in child care programs, schools, churches, youth organizations, health care agencies, and other local, state, and national organizations; (5) establish a permanent state-level body within the executive or legislative branch of state government to coordinate and govern policies and funding of parent education, support, and involvement programs; and (6) launch a media campaign that carries the message that parenting is the most important job a person can have and that community well-being depends on parents doing the best job possible.

The experience on these three committees has been foundational to my subsequent higher education and leadership roles.


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