DLC lauds Speaker-elect Carroll, points to historic legislative leadership

Newly anointed speaker of the Colorado House Terrance Carroll gets the star treatment from the rabidly centrist Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), which this week named the Denver Democrat its New Dem of the Week. With the re-election of state Sen. Peter Groff to head the upper chamber, Carroll’s ascension in the House makes Colorado the first state in the nation to have both houses of a legislature led by African-Americans, the DLC profile observes.

Beyond that distinction, the DLC finds plenty to admire in Carroll’s personal story:

Rep. Carroll, a Denver lawyer, an ordained Baptist minister and a fourth-term Representative, was born into one of the worst neighborhoods in Washington, D.C., and is the only child to a single mother who was a sharecropper’s daughter. “You just don’t grow up where I grew up and make your way out of the neighborhood by kind of slacking off. You have to work kind of hard to get out of that place,” Carroll told his caucus….

Carroll, a longstanding champion of charter schools and other education initiatives, said he’ll include school finance reform among his top priorities as speaker in the next legislative session. Also on deck: transportation and dealing with the state’s strained budget.

“It just shows how, with the selection of Sen. Groff and president-elect Barack Obama, that there are no limits to what we can do. It really shows we made significant progress, but there is still much work to be done,” Carroll said.