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The CRA’s team of legislative professionals has the experience and skills necessary to advocate for and achieve big wins on behalf of the local hospitality industry. The Government Affairs team works tirelessly to promote solutions to issues and regulations at all levels of government, making it easier for you to do business in Colorado.

Do you have a concern with a Colorado policy or issue affecting your business? The Government Affairs team would love to hear how they can help!

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CRA Government Affairs

Sonia Riggs

Sonia Riggs, CRA President & CEO

Sonia has been President and CEO of the Colorado Restaurant Association (CRA), the leading trade organization for the state’s dynamic restaurant industry, since 2014.

In 2020, during the early days of the pandemic, Sonia was appointed to serve on the Tourism Committee for the Governor’s Council for Economic Stabilization and Growth. She has also served as co-chair of the Restaurant Committee that reports to the Denver Economic Relief & Recovery Council. Sonia is the President of the Council of State Restaurant Associations and serves on the Boards of the National Restaurant Association, the Colorado Tourism Board, and Visit Denver.

Colin Larson, Director of Government Affairs

Colin Larson earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and history from Colorado College in 2009 and worked in public policy following graduation. In 2014, Larson founded and owned Atlas Coffee, a local coffee shop and cafe. In 2018, Larson was elected to serve as the representative for Colorado State House District 22; he was re-elected in 2020. During his four years in the Colorado legislature, Larson served on the education, public health, appropriations, and audit committees. Larson joined the CRA as Director of Government Affairs in 2023.

Nick Hoover, Manager of Government Affairs

Hailing from the North Star State, Nick began his career in the kitchen at Anton’s Restaurant in St. Cloud, Minnesota, while attending St. Cloud Technical College for Culinary Arts. He earned an Associate of Science degree in culinary arts from Johnson & Wales University in Miami while working at Casa Casuarina under chef Nina Compton. In 2008, he left the kitchen for the Capitol, earning a degree in political science from St. Cloud State University.

Nick has fought fiercely for Colorado restaurants since joining the CRA team in 2011. Over the last decade, Nick has led the charge on numerous legislative and regulatory wins, in policy areas including liquor, the food code, labor and employment, taxes, and more.

Our Partners at the Capitol

Solomon Malick

Solomon Malick, Peak Government Affairs

A Colorado native, Solomon (known as Sol) has been a professional contract lobbyist in the State of Colorado since 2005 and is the principal of Peak Government Affairs LTD. He graduated with honors from Metro State University with a degree in political science, and his professional background includes working as an emergency medical technician and wildland firefighter in southwest Colorado.

Mary Marchun

Mary Marchun, The Capstone Group

Mary grew up on her family’s farm on the Western Slope. While attending Colorado Mesa University, she had the opportunity to cross the Divide and work at the State Capitol, where she got hooked on public policy. Mary is now an expert in Colorado’s legislative process and getting things done under the gold dome.

As one of the founding partners of The Capstone Group, Mary’s victories include spearheading efforts to allow new, high-tech Transportation Network Companies (Lyft) to operate in Colorado; passage of legislation to streamline the permitting process for the construction industry, promoting economic development and protecting Colorado businesses; limiting fines assessed on business development and access; winning new money for Colorado’s infrastructure system; developing new rules for scooters; finding new opportunities in the energy field; and impacting change on the Colorado ballot process.

Samantha Neucherlein

Samantha Nuechterlein, The Capstone Group

Growing up on the move around the country, Samantha learned firsthand how state and local politics impact a community’s way of life. During her time at the University of Denver, where she graduated cum laude with a bachelor degree in English and Environmental Geography, Samantha started knocking on doors and testifying at the Capitol for stronger education funding and policy – and she hasn’t looked back since.

Samantha joined The Capstone Group as an Associate in July 2021, supporting a wide array of clients on several issue areas. She has been involved in the Denver community for more than a decade, working with Democrats for Education Reform Colorado, NCSL Foundation, and, most recently, founding the Young Professionals Board for Urban Peak, the only organization serving youth homeless in the city.

Action Center

Make an impact by adding your voice to the CRA’s periodic grassroots campaigns.

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Legislative Priorities

Learn about our advocacy goals and track current industry-related legislation.

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Get Involved

Support and influence our advocacy work on behalf of restaurants, and learn how to communicate effectively with representatives at all levels of government.

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