More than 300 people showed up Friday night at a reception to celebrate the diversity of the legislature when it opens Wednesday.

The House will have five blacks, the most ever. And Hispanics and gays increased their numbers, too, after the November election.

Rep. Angela Williams, D-Denver, and Rep.-elect Joe Salazar, D-Thornton, who helped organize the event, introduced the lawmakers.

"They bring not just color to the Capitol, but competence," Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia told the crowd. "We need to make sure these people know we have their back."

And once again, Colorado leads the nation in the number of women lawmakers per capita.

Longtime lobbyists and politicos were stunned at the large turnout for the Celebrate Diversity Reception at the Wells Fargo Building downtown.

Members of the Black Democratic Legislative Caucus of Colorado and the Colorado Democratic Latin@ Caucus, as well as other elected officials, were present for the get-together.

Also present were the "Mr. Speakers:" former House Speaker Ruben Valdez, current House Speaker Frank McNulty and future House Speaker Mark Ferrandino.

Others at the party included Rick Palacio, chairman of the Colorado Democratic Party; Rosemary Rodriguez, director for U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet; former state Rep. Rosemary Marshall; Denver City Auditor Dennis Gallagher; Tara "No Pictures, Please" Trujillo, staffer for U.S. Sen. Mark Udall; Denver City Clerk Debra Johnson; Josh Miller, staffer for U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette; and Denver City Council members Robin Kniech and Albus Brooks.


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