George Santos was recently in the news when it was announced that he had been expelled from Colorado’s House of Representatives due to a violation of its ethics rules. Now that he has vacated his seat, many questions remain about who will take his place as the Democratic representative of District 3.
The State of Colorado has a few options when it comes to replacing an expelled representative like Santos. According to Colorado statutes, a vacancy must be filled “by appointment made by the Governor, which appointment shall take effect upon approval thereof by the House of Representatives of the General Assembly.” This means that the governor must find a suitable candidate to replace Santos and then have them approved by members of the House before they can officially take office.
The governor has already set in motion the process of selecting Santos’ replacement. He has appointed a selection committee that will be in charge of developing a list of potential representatives for the seat. The committee is composed of three Democratic leaders from the district, including the county commissioners, as well as representatives from local Democratic and community groups. The selection committee will have a period of 30 days to review the applications and interview potential candidates. The candidate chosen must then be approved by a two-thirds vote of the House of Representatives.
The prospect of a new representative in the Colorado House is exciting but it leaves many unanswered questions. Until a new representative is chosen, the constituents of District 3 will still have representation, though in a more limited role. The Senate Democratic Leader may appoint a temporary representative who will take office until the permanent representative is chosen. This temporary representative will be able to chair committees, debate legislation, and vote on bills, but will not be able to introduce bills or serve on House-wide committees.
The ongoing replacement process highlights the importance of ethics rules within the Colorado House and serves as a reminder of the need for transparency and accountability in government. It is also a testament to the value of democracy, and ensures that the constituents of District 3 continue to be represented during this transition period.