Thursday, July 17, 2008

DLC Names Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter New Democrat of the Week

Washington, D.C. - Today most Americans can't afford to be ill- informed when it comes to money as they struggle with high gas prices, the mortgage crisis, and other economic woes.  Now more than ever, financial literacy education is becoming crucial to understanding and coping with everyday finances. For his work to provide new tools for teaching Americans fiscal responsibility and efforts to reach across the aisle to pass new financial education legislation, The Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) has named Governor Bill Ritter the DLC New Democrat of the Week.
This year's legislative session in Colorado was dubbed the "Education Session" by Governor Ritter as progress on a variety of educational fronts was made with strong bipartisan support. During the session, Governor Ritter signed a bill into law that requires the State Board of Education to adopt financial literacy standards, and mandates each district to revise its curricula and adopt assessments that include financial literacy. 
As the recent subprime mortgage crisis showed, unwise financial decisions can have calamitous consequences for consumers.  Unfortunately, too many Americans are not educated when it comes to their finances.  For example, the results of a 2006 report on financial literacy revealed that 40% of high school juniors and seniors have credit cards, yet only 52% of demonstrated competent levels of financial literacy.
"We know that if kids are given the right tools, they are less likely to be dragged under by torrents of debt and held under by bad credit," said Representative Rosemary Marshall, the primary sponsor of the financial literacy bill (HB1168).  "This bill offers a genuine lifeboat to kids lost in an otherwise troubled financial sea."
The financial literacy legislation is only the most recent in a number of education initiatives that Gov. Ritter has pushed through in recent months.  The governor has also championed the May 2008 Achievement Plan for Kids (SB 212), which aims to create a seamless education system from the preschool to the post-graduate level and prepare students with the skills necessary to compete in the global economy. 
As the "Education Session" came to a close Gov. Ritter said, "[i]t's been a privilege and an honor to work with all of the departing lawmakers.  The bills I'm signing today all represent progress and a pragmatic approach to solving problems and getting things done for the people of Colorado."

Each week, the DLC selects a New Democrat from across the nation who is making a difference in the lives of his or her fellow Americans using modern, innovative means to promote the traditional values of opportunity, responsibility and community. The DLC leads the New Democrat movement, a national network of elected officials and community leaders whose innovative ideas are modernizing progressive politics for the 21st century. For additional information on the DLC or for more background on the elected officials around the country governing as New Democrats, visit