Colorado ACEP 2024 Interview: Senator Kyle Mullica

Senator Kyle Mullica
Hometown: Thornton, CO

Why did you choose to pursue a career in the legislature?

I was lucky enough to serve on my local city council before running for the legislature. I initially got involved when my daughter Gabriella was born because I wanted to be a part of creating a community that provided her with the opportunities, she needed to build a quality life.  In the process, I was able to learn about the similar hopes and dreams of my neighbors which inspired me to run for House District 34. Having that experience serving at the local level has allowed me to be a better policymaker because I’m always putting my community’s needs and interests first.

What surprised you the most about working as a legislator?

Unfortunately, how partisan it can be on what I perceived to be non-partisan issues. I ran vaccine legislation to increase childhood immunization rates in my first year, and it turned into a huge fight.  I had completely underestimated the vitriol and misinformation.  I had assumed it was science, and that everyone agrees that vaccines save lives.  I was wrong. But I will say it hasn’t stopped me from continuing to fight for science and public health, nor has it stopped me from continuing to try to work across the aisle.

What is the biggest similarity or difference in your career as a State Senator compared to working as an ED nurse?

Both can be quite chaotic at times. The Capitol can be intense, but it is nothing compared to trying to save someone’s life during a code or helping deliver a baby in the back of a minivan. Our healthcare workers have one the hardest jobs there is, taking care of folks in their most difficult times.  I make it a point to make sure that my colleagues never forget that.

If you could change one thing about healthcare in Colorado, what would it be? 

As a nurse, I’m always advocating for my patients, and I know that cost and access are two of the biggest factors that weigh heavy on them.  From a staffing perspective, I also think that workplace violence is a significant concern and impacts the longevity of our healthcare talent.

What do you consider your greatest achievement in the legislature?

I think the investment I’ve been able to help make in our profession has been the most significant policies I’ve been able to accomplish: HB 22-1401 and SB 22-226 created staffing committees and other protections for healthcare workers while also making a record investment of $61 million for healthcare workforce development and HB 24-1231 is the funding mechanism to create a new medical school at the University of Northern Colorado along with capital investments at several other institutions to increase our healthcare workforce. I can’t forget SB 20-163, a bill we passed to increase childhood immunizations. This bill was hard fought and helped Colorado steer away from the growing anti-vaccine rhetoric we’re seeing take root in many parts of the country.

What can emergency medicine do better regarding advocating for the specialty and our patients?

I think ACEP does a great job!  I think it’s important that ER Docs build relationships with legislators outside of session so that when the time comes to reach out about legislation it’s not a cold call and a relationship has already been established.  Emergency medicine has a unique perspective when it comes to healthcare, and probably one of the most important and I think we always must remember that.

What hobbies do you enjoy in your off time?

I love spending time with my family, going to movies, and playing golf.  I’m a huge football fan and would love to see my Broncos win more this season.

What is your favorite place to visit in Colorado?

We make an annual camping trip to North Michigan Creek Reservoir every year up in Jackson County.  My wife Julie has been going since she was a kid with her family.  The memories we can now make with our kids are priceless.

Is there anything else you would like us to know about you? 

At the end of the day, I’m always advocating for my patients and my community. Nothing stops me from continuing that fight every legislative session. I’m proud to work with the House of Medicine to pass policy that helps our patients.  I strive to bring the team like environment that we see in the ER, always putting the outcome of our patients first with me down to the Capitol.