Best Freshman in the Colorado Legislature (2008)
We first encountered Joe Rice, who now represents House District 38 in the Colorado Legislature, when he was the baby-faced mayor of Glendale, trying to save the town from turning into Titty City. Since then, the longtime military man has faced even bigger battles, including three tours in Iraq. But he's been fighting the good fight at home, too. Elected to the Statehouse in 2006 from a largely conservative district in the south suburbs, the freshman Democrat passed eighteen bills his first year, including one that established a statewide cold-case unit for unsolved homicides. This session, he's been seriously pushing for business and veterans — but he's not afraid to have some fun, too. To push his proposal that parent-teacher organizations be allowed to avoid sales tax on school fundraisers, Rice recently posed with a big blue Tax Monster. "Right now, these small, volunteer organizations spend way too much time and money on paperwork," he noted. "The government should just get out of the way so they can do what they do best: raise critical funds for their schools." We're with you, colonel.