In historic first for gay community, Mark Ferrandino appointed Speaker of Colorado House

DENVER - After regaining control of Colorado's House of Representatives, Democrats have elected the first openly gay speaker in state history. 

Denver Democratic Rep. Mark Ferrandino was elected House speaker Thursday. 7NEWS photojournalist Brad Bogott said the appointment brought Ferrandino near tears.

Shortly after news of the appointment broke, Ferradino tweeted: "Honored and humbled to be elected by my caucus to be Speaker Designee of the Colorado House of Representative. #coleg"

“Your job is to reach across the aisle, find partners, and come up with the best policy for the people of Colorado," Ferradino told the Democratic caucus.

His election won't be official until lawmakers reconvene next session and Republicans ratify the pick.

On the Republican side, former assistant majority leader Mark Waller was elected minority leader.

Waller said jobs and the economy remain his focus for the upcoming term.

"Our agenda moving forward is making sure we're doing our part to get the people of the state of Colorado back to work. I don't think that's changed with this election in any way," he said.

Voters gave Democrats control of the House on Election Day Tuesday. The Republicans had a controlling majority during the previous term.

Democrats kept control of the Senate. They chose Sen. John Morse of El Paso County to be the new president. Morse was Democratic Leader under the last president, who is retiring because of term limits.

Democrats hope to pass civil unions legislation next year to grant same-sex couples rights similar to marriage. In-state tuition for illegal immigrants could also be on the legislative menu with Democrats firmly in charge.

The session begins in January.

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