How will Colorado’s 2013 legislative session play out? Denver-based freelance writer Bryan Schatz offers some clues in “The Dealmaker,” his profile of new Speaker of the House Mark Ferrandino. The story appears in the March issue of 5280, which hits newsstands later this week.

Ferrandino, as you probably know by now, is Colorado’s first openly gay Speaker. You probably know this because the descriptor is so frequently used by Ferrandino’s fans and foes that it might as well be part of his name. His supporters use it to laud his pioneering ascension, and his more simple-minded detractors invoke it to raise the specter of what they see as Ferrandino’s unholy intentions for Colorado and its Congress.

Both sides are missing the point. As Schatz deftly reports with details and scenes from the Speaker’s compelling life story, Ferrandino is a proud but reluctant standard-bearer for the gay community who’d prefer to be known for what he really is: A savvy, intellectually curious, and wholly dedicated public servant.

Those who expect that Ferrandino will champion every scrap of progressive legislation are likely to be as incorrect as those who fear the same thing. Long known for his bipartisan chops, Ferrandino’s primary objective is to make Colorado run more smoothly for all its citizens, and by doing so, to restore some of our long-lost faith in the dysfunctional American political process. So, even if you’re uncertain about Ferrandino’s policy positions, be sure of this: Colorado is lucky to have a Congressional leader who respects and nurtures the insitution of government while always doing whatever he can to improve it.

—Image courtesy of Benjamin Rasmussen.

Follow 5280 articles editor Luc Hatlestad on Twitter at @LucHatlestad.