Friday, December 29, 2006


Farmer, former Prowers Commissioner Stulp to run Ag Department
Manitou Mayor Marcy Morrison Appointed Insurance Commissioner
Gov.-elect Bill Ritter today named two prominent Coloradans to his administration:farmer and longtime Prowers County Commissioner John Stulp as executive director of the Department of Agriculture, and Manitou Springs Mayor Marcy Morrison as insurance commissioner.
Ritter said he is committed to appointing a broad cross-section of talented Coloradans to top-level posts by reaching beyond metro-Denver.
"John and Marcy each will bring different and important perspectives to the Capitol," Ritter said. "John was raised on a farm outside of Yuma. He's been actively involved in crop and livestock production ever since. He understands the needs and values ofColorado's rural families. Marcy has repeatedly distinguished herself as a champion of the consumer, particularly in the area of health care.
"For many years, they have been working on behalf of the people of this great state," Ritter added. "We are all extremely fortunate they have now agreed to take on these new leadership positions and help us fulfill the Colorado Promise for all Coloradans."
The Department of Agriculture's mission is to strengthen and advance Colorado's agriculture industry; ensure a safe, high quality, and sustainable food supply; and protect consumers, the environment, and natural resources. Stulp's nomination as executive director requires state Senate confirmation.
"Like Bill Ritter, I grew up on a farm," Stulp said. "I know the hard lessons of dry-land wheat farming and cattle ranching. I also know the good that the Department of Agriculture can provide to rural Colorado, from assisting with new opportunities like renewable energy to overcoming challenges posed by drought and disease."
The insurance commissioner serves as the top administrator for the Division of Insurance within the Department of Regulatory Agencies. The division regulates the insurance industry, protects consumers and provides valuable information to the public. It responds to an estimated 60,000 phone calls, e-mails, letters and walk-in visits each year.
"It will be a true privilege to serve the people of Colorado in this consumer-protection role," Morrison said. "Health care is one of my passions. I look forward to helping the new administration and the legislature end the crisis of the uninsured and making sure that we bring all voices together to forge a Colorado Health Plan for all Coloradans."
Additional biographical information about Stulp and Morrison:
Stulp served as a Prowers County commissioner from 1991, when he was appointed to fill a vacancy, until January 2005. He also has served on numerous other boards and commissions, including the state Board of Agriculture (1986 to 1995), state Wildlife Commission (1995-99), the Connect Colorado technology committee (1996), and the Colorado Ag Development Authority & Value Added Board (2005-06).
A member of the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union since 1975, Stulp for the last several years has been a leading proponent of building wind farms in wheat fields as a way to develop new economic opportunities and jobs for Colorado's farmers and ranchers. Stulp's family farming operation is home to the Lamar Light and Power Wind Farm, and Stulp is a principal in Prairie Wind Energy LLC.
Stulp graduated from Yuma High School in 1966, earned his bachelor's degree in veterinary science from Colorado State University in 1970 and his doctor of veterinary medicine from CSU in 1972. He and his wife, Jane, have five children, all of whom were blessed with first names starting with the letter "J": John III, Janea, Jason, Jeremy and Jensen.
Morrison served as an El Paso County commissioner from 1984 to 1992 and as a Republican state representative from 1992 to 2000. She thought she'd given up politics but was elected mayor of Manitou Springs in 2001 and re-elected in 2005.
Her list of awards, accomplishments and activities is lengthy: She has served on the state Board of Health and Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees; won the national Dr. Nathan Davis Award for Outstanding Public Service in the Advancement of Public Health (2001) and the AARP Legislator of the Year Award (1998); and sponsored legislation that extended hospitalizations for mothers and newborn babies.
Morrison earned her bachelor's degree in education and speech from Queens College inNew York and did graduate work at Colorado College and CU-Colorado Springs. She is a Gates Foundation fellow and completed the John F. Kennedy School of Government's local government program at Harvard in 1989.

Thursday, December 28, 2006


David Skaggs to head Department of Higher Education and CCHE
Don Mares to run Department of Labor and Employment
Michael Locatis also named state Chief Information Officer
Gov.-elect Bill Ritter today announced his first two Cabinet appointees, giving shape to the top-level administration that will oversee Colorado state government and the departments that directly serve the public.
Ritter named former Congressman David Skaggs as executive director of the Department of Higher Education and the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, and former Denver Auditor Don Mares as executive director of the Department of Labor and Employment. Both require state Senate confirmation.
Ritter also named Michael Locatis as the state's Chief Information Officer. Locatis will direct the Office of Information Technology and provide overall technology strategy direction for the state. He is currently the Chief Information Officer for the city andcounty of Denver.
"Colorado is blessed with some of the brightest, most energetic and innovative-minded people in the country," Ritter said. "This trio is no exception. They will play key roles in helping to fulfill the Colorado Promise."
"Rep. Skaggs distinguished himself as a thoughtful, engaging and forward-looking member of Congress," Ritter added. "I know he will bring his passion for higher education to this new assignment. A thriving higher-education system is central to fulfilling the Colorado Promise, particularly for our families and rural communities."
The Department of Higher Education is home to the Colorado Commission on Higher Education.The department oversees 28 public institutions of higher learning, two key loan programs and several artistic and cultural programs.
"Preparing Colorado's young people to succeed in a global economy and an extremely competitive workforce is vital," Skaggs said. "It's central to every part of fulfilling the Colorado Promise. I look forward to doing everything possible to keep college affordable and accessible for all Coloradans and to help realize the full potential of Colorado's extraordinary system of higher education."
Ritter said he's excited Mares will be the next executive director of the Department of Labor and Employment. "Don has demonstrated his commitment to serving the public in numerous capacities, and he has always done so with the utmost of professionalism," Ritter said. "He will bring a wealth of experience to the Department of Labor and Employment. We're fortunate to have him."
The department provides key economic and workforce data to current and prospective employers. It assists injured or unemployed workers and ensures fair labor practices. It oversees the divisions of Labor, Employment & Training, Workers' Compensation and Oil & Public Safety.  
"I look forward to engaging the labor and business communities so that together we can fulfill the Colorado Promise," Mares said. "Working families and employers large and small are the engine that will drive Colorado forward and keep us competitive globally."
Additional biographical information about Skaggs, Mares and Locatis:
Skaggs served as the 2nd Congressional District representative for 12 years (1987-99). Before that he served in the Colorado House from 1981-87, and was chief-of-staff to then-Congressman Timothy Wirth from 1974-77.
He is the founder and executive director of the Center for Democracy & Citizenship at the Council for Excellence in Government. The Center works to strengthen American democracy through several projects and activities, many of them school-based. He earned a bachelor's degree from Wesleyan University in 1964 and his law degree fromYale Law School in 1967. Skaggs is a decorated Marine who served in Vietnam. He is of-counsel with the firm Hogan & Hartson.
Mares served as Denver's auditor from 1995 to 2003 and in the state House and Senate from 1989 to 1995. He currently serves on the Colorado State Personnel Board, the leadership council for Escuela de Guadalupe and the board of the Latin American Educational Foundation.
Mares earned his bachelor's degree in psychology from Stanford University in 1979 and his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1982. Since leaving office in 2003, he has been special counsel with Fleishman & Shapiro.
Locatis became Denver's first Chief Information Officer in March 2004, where his office provides data network, telephone, application development, software support, and electronically delivered communication services to internal and external customers of the City and County of Denver government.
Before joining the city, he spent two years with Time Warner Inc. as Senior Director of Enterprise Technology Strategy. Previous employers include Texas Instruments, MobileForce Technologies and ConferTech International. He earned his bachelor's degree in business from the University of Nebraska and his MBA from Colorado StateUniversity.

Monday, December 18, 2006


Gov.-elect Bill Ritter today named Evan Dreyer as communications director and Adrian Miller as deputy legislative director, continuing to round out senior staff appointments leading up to the Jan. 9 inauguration.
Also joining the Governor's Office staff will be Scott Hutchings as director of operations and advance, and Flossy Aston as executive assistant to the governor.
"I couldn't ask for a better group of people to be joining me in the Governor's Office to help me fulfill the Colorado Promise," Ritter said. "With the addition of Evan, Adrian, Scott and Flossy, the citizens of Colorado will be well-served."
Dreyer is a former newspaper journalist who joined the Ritter for Governor Campaign in August 2005. As the governor's communications director, he will serve as chief spokesman. The Communications Office will respond to media inquiries, maintain the governor's website, distribute a regular newsletter, write speeches, answer letters and e-mails, and oversee gubernatorial proclamations.
The office also will work with the other directors to ensure that the governor's legislative, policy and budget agendas are well-communicated, as well as coordinate activities with public information officers from other state agencies.   
Miller will join the Governor's Office as deputy to Legislative Director Mary Kay Hogan. Together, they will work with Colorado's 100 representatives and senators to further Gov.-elect Ritter's Colorado Promise agenda. Miller, a Colorado native, spent two years in the Clinton administration as special assistant to the president and deputy director of the One America initiative, which focused on closing opportunity gaps for minorities.
Aston worked with Ritter for many years in the Denver District Attorney's Office. She also served as his executive assistant from January 2005 to January 2006 at the private law firm Hogan & Hartson, and then joined Ritter as his scheduler during the gubernatorial campaign. She is currently the governor-elect's Transition Team scheduler.
Hutchings most recently worked as an aide to Denver Councilwoman Rosemary Rodriguez. He took a three-week leave of absence from that post in October to coordinate Ritter's Colorado Promise bus tour. His resigned his city position effective this past Friday and is now helping to plan the governor-elect's inaugural ceremonies. He will join the Governor's Office in January.
Additional biographical information about Dreyer and Miller:
Dreyer, 40, graduated from the University of Denver in 1988 with a bachelor's degree in English and mass communications. He was a newspaper reporter and editor for 15 years in suburban Boston, San Diego County and here in Colorado. He was at The Denver Post from 1998 to 2003 as an assistant city editor and then as metro editor.
Dreyer helped oversee the paper's coverage of the Columbine tragedy, the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the Hayman fire and countless other stories big and small. After leaving the paper, he started Dreyer Communications, a media consulting firm. He worked on three issue campaigns before joining Ritter's campaign team.  
Dreyer is married to Melody Harris, and they have two children: Ben, 7, and Charlotte, 10.


Miller is a Colorado native who graduated from Smoky Hill High School in 1987, received a bachelor's degree in international relations from Stanford University in 1991, and a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center in 1995. Upon graduating from law school, Miller returned to Denver to practice law at Holme Roberts & Owen and LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae.


In 1999, Miller left Denver to serve as special assistant to the president and the deputy director of President Clinton's One America initiative. 


Miller has served as the general counsel and director of outreach for the Bell Policy Center and the Bell Action Network since September 2001. 


Sunday, December 17, 2006


Three More Musical Acts Also Will Perform at Jan. 12 Celebration
The Ritter-O'Brien Inaugural Committee announced today that country-music star Jessi Colter will headline the Jan. 12 inaugural concert. Three other musical acts also are slated to perform at the inaugural celebration at the Colorado Convention Center's Wells Fargo Theatre.
"We're extremely pleased a musician of Jessi Colter's caliber will be the main act for Gov.-elect Ritter and Lt. Gov.-elect O'Brien's inaugural concert," said Inaugural Committee co-chairs Frances Koncilja and James Crowe. "This will be a wonderfully entertaining night."
Gov.-elect Ritter has long admired Colter's brand of music. Twenty years after her last solo project, Colter released her Out of the Ashes CD in February 2006. Much of the music is inspired by Colter's grief following the 2002 death of her husband, Grammy-winner Waylon Jennings.
"The governor-elect is thrilled she will be part of the inaugural festivities," Koncilja and Crowe said. "He and his family are equally excited that we're going to have additional musicians who will bring a diverse cultural mix to the evening's entertainment."
The inaugural concert will begin about 8:30 p.m. Jan. 12. Tickets cost $20 per seat and are now available by going to or calling TicketsWest at 1-800-325-SEAT (7328).   
Colter will appear after three other musical performances by:
·         Mariachi Vásquez. For nearly 20 years, this popular family group has captured the hearts of audiences around the United States and Mexico with their Mariachi music. The group organizes and produces the annual Denver Mariachi Festival and has released three albums.
·         Spirituals Project Choir. The choir is composed of 70 singers of all ages, backgrounds and musical experience. The choir has performed in a number of theatrical performances around Colorado, and at various events and venues around the state.
·         Kissidugu. Founded in 2004 by Master Drummer and Dancer Fara Tolno, Kissidugu offers audiences explosive West African percussion and dance. The troupe, based in Boulder, dazzles crowds with awe-inspiring, complex percussion and tightly choreographed, high-flying, Guinea-style dance including "dunun dancing" rarely seen in the United States.  

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Ritter Names Finance Expert To Head Budget Office
Todd Saliman Tapped for Key State Budget Post
Gov.-elect Bill Ritter today named Todd Saliman, a former state lawmaker with expertise in state finances, to head the Office of State Planning and Budget. Saliman served in the legislature from 1994 to 2002, including four years on the Joint Budget Committee during which he earned widespread bipartisan respect.    
"It gives me great pleasure to announce the addition of Todd Saliman to the incoming administration," Ritter said. "He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience that will benefit every Coloradan. Todd will help us analyze the inner workings of state government so that we can better use the budget as a tool to help fulfill the Colorado Promise."
As director of the OSPB, Saliman will serve as Ritter's chief budget officer, crafting the governor's budget proposals and providing revenue estimates and economic forecasts. He also will play a key role in the development of and advocacy for the governor's policy and legislative priorities.
"I'm honored that Gov.-elect Ritter has asked me to join the Colorado Promise team," Saliman said. "The budget is the road map to a brighter tomorrow. I'm excited about contributing to the creation of a budget that represents the values and priorities of the new administration and the people of Colorado."
A Colorado native, Saliman earned his bachelor's degree in political science from theUniversity of Colorado in 1989. From 1991 to 1994, Saliman was a Boulder Countypolicy analyst. He also has worked for a variety of nonprofits doing fundraising, grant writing, strategic planning and budget development.
In addition to serving on the JBC while in the legislature from '94 to '02, Saliman also sat on the Appropriations, Finance, Transportation and Local Government committees. He was ranked one of the most respected and influential legislators in Colorado by his fellow legislators.
Upon leaving the legislature, Saliman launched his own consulting and lobbying business, Todd Saliman and Associates, with a particular emphasis on education, health care and land conservation. He also serves as a policy adviser to the University of Colorado.
He is married to Michelle Segal, and they have two children, Mira, 3, and Max, 5.

Monday, December 11, 2006


Ritter Announces Two Senior Staff Appointments
Governor-Elect Names Deputy Chiefs of Staff for
Community Outreach & Administration and Policy & Initiatives
Gov.-elect Bill Ritter today announced the appointments of two additional members of his senior staff: Stephanie Villafuerte as deputy chief of staff for community outreach and administration, and Kenneth C. Weil as deputy chief of staff for policy and initiatives.
"Stephanie and Ken are highly qualified and I'm honored they have agreed to work with me in the new administration," Ritter said. "We're building a team that is intellectually second-to-none, a team that will represent the diverse interests of this great state, and a team that will work tirelessly to help fulfill the Colorado Promise." 
The deputy chief of staff for community outreach & administration will ensure that all communities across Colorado have access to the governor's office through formal channels, such as boards and commissions, or less formal means, such as communities of interest.
Ms. Villafuerte also will oversee some internal management aspects of the governor's office.
"This is a new concept, one that reflects Gov.-elect Ritter's commitment to making sure the Colorado Promise is available to all Coloradans, no matter where they live or what their background," Chief of Staff Jim Carpenter said.
The deputy chief of staff for policy & initiatives will work with the governor to develop a comprehensive policy agenda and carry out various policy initiatives. Mr. Weil will work closely with the legislature, state agencies, citizen groups and other organizations to help fulfill the Colorado Promise for all Coloradans. 
Additional biographical information about Ms. Villafuerte and Mr. Weil:
Ms. Villafuerte is a former federal prosecutor and chief deputy district attorney. She received a bachelor's degree in public policy and mass communications from theUniversity of Denver in 1987 and her law degree from UCLA in 1991.
She has prosecuted thousands of cases in state and federal court, dedicating her career to combating domestic violence and child abuse. She was selected as Prosecutor of the Year in 2005 by the Colorado District Attorney's Council for her work on behalf of child victims and specifically for her work as the lead prosecutor in the Brent Brents case.
Ms. Villafuerte took a leave of absence from the Denver D.A.'s office in July to work on the Ritter for Governor campaign. She is currently serving as coordinator of the governor-elect's transition team. Ms. Villafuerte is a member of the Colorado Bar, Colorado Women's Bar Association and the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association. She is married to Seth Grob and they have two daughters: Sierra, 7, and Sydney, 10.
Mr. Weil served as co-chair of the Ritter for Governor campaign, overseeing the policy team and chairing the finance committee. 
Previously he was the founder and president of Rose Biomedical Research and Rose Biomedical Development Corporation. He worked in health care for 19 years, including extensive experience in coordinating the activities of physician and engineer teams in medical technology development and clinical research.
Before his years in health care and medical product research and development, he served as a policy adviser to former Gov. Richard Lamm.
Among his community activities, Mr. Weil serves on the Board of Trustees of Jewish Family Services, and was chairman of the board in 2003 and 2004. He previously served on the Board of the Child Health Foundation. 
Mr. Weil received a bachelor of philosophy degree from Miami University in 1980 and a masters of public administration from George Washington University in 1982. Mr. Weil is married to Tamara Weil and they have three children: Hannah, 14, and twins Ari and Benjamin, 10.
Gov.-elect Ritter previously named Carpenter as chief of staff, Mary Kay Hogan as legislative director and Trey Rogers as chief legal counsel. Read the news release here.
Photos of Ms. Villafuerte and Mr. Weil are available upon request. For more information about the transition team, visit, e-mail or call 303.352.0440.