Legislative Excellence Award

The CASB Legislative Excellence Award recognizes outstanding legislators for their distinguished service on behalf of all school districts in Colorado. This award is given every other year. 

2019 Legislative Excellence Awardees

Representative Barbara McLachlan

Representative McLachlan represents Colorado House District 59 and is the current Chair of the Colorado House Education Committee. Representative McLachlan is a lifelong educator having taught English and journalism for 20 years at Durango High School. In 2012 she was honored as the District R-9 Teacher of the Year. The national Journalism Educators Association presented her a lifetime achievement award in 2014.

Representative McLachlan recalls her favorite moments in the classroom were helping students discover life changing stories or helping to ignite their passion for writing. Upon her retirement from the classroom she worked to assist students with their plans for college. Additionally, Representative McLachlan supervised future educators as they worked their way through the student teaching process at Fort Lewis College in Durango.

As Chair of the House Education Committee, Representative McLachlan spent countless hours meeting with stakeholder groups to bring about the bill that would ultimately make full-day Kindergarten available to all Colorado children. Thanks in large part to her leadership, House Bill 19-1262 titled “State Funding for Full-day Kindergarten” passed with overwhelming support and was signed into law by Governor Jared Polis.

CASB applauds Representative McLachlan for her continuing support of every Colorado student and we are proud to recognize her with the 2019 Legislative Leadership award.

Representative Jim Wilson

Representative Jim Wilson represents Colorado House District 60 and is the ranking Republican on the Colorado House Education Committee. Representative Wilson has deep roots in rural education having attended a two-room country school in Kansas as a youngster. His passion for education led to a career that spanned more than 40 years of service to students in Kansas and Colorado.

Representative Wilson has been a classroom teacher, coach and school superintendent. He has received numerous awards for his service to students and is a member of the Southwestern College Educators Hall of Fame.

Representative Wilson has long held a vision that every Colorado child should have access to full-day Kindergarten. Every year he has been in the Colorado House of Representatives he has sponsored legislation to make his vision a reality, and ultimately every year the bill failed to gain enough support to pass. Never one to be discouraged, Representative Wilson continued to meet with stakeholder groups, legislators, and staff members working to build the support needed. His hard work paid off when Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed his bill into law this past spring.

With the 2019 Legislative Leadership award CASB is proud to honor Representative Wilson for his unwavering support of Colorado students.


2018 Legislative Excellence Awardees

Representative Millie Hammer

Representative Hammer is an educator at heart. Her 35-year career in education includes service as a teacher, administrator and finally as a superintendent with the Summit School District. Representative Hamner earned her master’s degree in elementary education from Adams State College and her Ph. D. in educational leadership for the University of Denver. Hamner taught at the collegiate level and was awarded the Adjunct Faculty of the Year Award from DU in 2016 and the Outstanding Educators award from the Summit Foundation.

Representative Hamner began her service with the Colorado legislature in 2011 and for the past four years she has served on the Joint Budget Committee and for the past two years as vice-chair and chair of the committee. Additionally, she has served on the Governors Education Leadership Council and the Legislative
Interim Committee on School Finance. Hamner is also a past chair of the House Education Committee.

Representative Hamner and her husband Rich live in Summit county where they take full advantage of all the great things the Colorado outdoors have to offer.

Representative Bob Rankin

Representative Rankin earned a Bachelor of Science from Mississippi State. Upon his graduation he served as an officer with the United States Army Security Agency. Following his military service Representative Rankin led a distinguished career as an engineer, including 22 years with Ford Aerospace Corporation where he rose to the position of Executive Vice President responsible for the integration of newly acquired subsidiaries.

Representative Rankin was first elected to the Colorado Legislature in 2012 and has served on the JBC since 2015. Additionally, Rankin served on the Appropriations, Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources and Local Government committees.

Representative Rankin and his wife Joyce have founded the Computers for Kids Foundation, a non-profit organization recycling electronics while motivating high school students towards a career in technology. The Rankins live in Carbondale, Colorado.

2017 Legislative Excellence Awardees

Senator Lucía Guzmán

Colorado Senate District 34

The Reverend Lucía Guzmán, who was unanimously elected Senate Minority Leader in July 2015, was born in Texas to Mexican farm workers. A firstgeneration Hispanic with a passion for the human rights of all people, she has made a profession out of ensuring fairness and justice for people from all walks of life.

Since her election to the Senate in the November 2010, Senator Guzmán has served as Vice-Chair and Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Legislative Audit Committee. In addition, she has served on the Senate Finance Committee, Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committees.

In 2013, she served as President Pro Tempore and was re-elected to her final term in 2014. She was elected by her colleagues as the Senate Minority Leader, and is the first openly gay Senate Minority Leader, as well as the first Hispanic person to hold the position.

Senator Jerry Sonnenberg

Colorado Senate District 1

Senator Jerry Sonnenberg is a Colorado native who has been farming and ranching in northeastern Colorado his entire life. He continues to live and work on the same family farm that both his father and he were raised.

Senator Sonnenberg was first elected to the Colorado House of Representatives in 2006 and immediately became a strong voice for agriculture and rural Colorado. After serving eight years he was elected to serve from District 1 in the Colorado Senate where he represents the counties of Cheyenne, Elbert, Lincoln, Logan, Kit Carson, Morgan, Phillips, Sedgwick, Yuma, Washington and Weld.

Currently, he serves as President Pro Tempore of the Colorado Senate while maintaining his Chairmanship of the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee.

Senator Sonnenberg was born and raised in Sterling, Colorado graduating from Sterling High School. He married Vonnie Constance Sonnenberg, a teacher at Merino Elementary School. Together they have four children.

Representative Jon Becker

Colorado House District 65

Representative Jon Becker is a native of Morgan County where he still lives with his wife of 20 years, Christal and their two boys Grant and JT.

Jon earned his A.S. degree from Morgan Community College and went on to receive a B.S. in Business Administration and Organizational Management from Colorado State University. Jon has also received his MBA from Colorado Christian University.

Upon graduation from CSU, Jon started his career as an insurance adjuster for Farmers Insurance Group. He went on to be the Executive Director of Morgan County Economic Development Corporation where he successfully recruited several businesses to Northeast Colorado.

In 2008, Jon was elected County Commissioner for Morgan County overseeing the county budget, 300 employees, two enterprise funds and managing many day-to-day operations with his fellow commissioners. Jon was named Chair of the Morgan County Commissioners in 2009.

In November of 2010, Jon was elected to the Colorado State House of Representatives House District 63. As a freshman legislator, he was appointed to the powerful Joint Budget Committee, responsible for putting together the state’s annual budget. He also served as the Chair of the Appropriations Committee.

In 2014, Jon was elected to the Colorado State House of Representatives House District 65. He now serves on the Appropriations, Capital Development, Transportation and Agriculture Committees at the state legislature.

Currently, Jon and Christal own and operate several small businesses in Eastern Colorado, all while Jon works as the Vice President of Business/Government for Viaero Wireless. In his spare time, Jon is an adjunct professor at Morgan Community College.

Representative KC Becker

Colorado House District 13

Representative Becker represents Colorado State House of Representatives House District 13 which encompasses Boulder, Clear Creek, Grand, Gilpin and Jackson counties. She is the Majority Leader of the Colorado House where she organizes the legislative calendar and ensures that all bills sent to the House floor receive full and fair consideration.

Representative KC Becker is a former member of the Boulder city council where she represented the city on Boulder’s Urban Renewal Authority and on the Denver Regional Council of Governments. Following a brief stint in real estate development Representative Becker worked for the U.S. Department of Interior addressing legal issues related to the environment and natural resources.

Representative Becker graduated from the College of William and Mary with a B.A. in government, then went on to get her law degree from the Northwestern School of Law at Lewis and Clark College, where she was president of the Public Interest Law Project. Representative Becker also has an M.S. in real estate development and construction management from the University of Denver’s Sturm School of Business. She lives in Boulder with her husband, Miles Kunkel and their two young sons.