U.S. Senate: Michael Bennet
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Michael Bennet, the junior Senator from Colorado, has served most recently as the Superintendent of the Denver Public Schools. As a dedicated public servant with comprehensive experience as a businessman, Michael has a proven record of facing tough tasks at critical times. As Superintendent, Michael worked to improve student achievement and classroom performance, while also overseeing a halt to years of budgetary cuts in the Denver Public Schools. While serving as Chief of Staff to Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, Michael was credited with leading the way on balancing a historic budget deficit. Prior to his service to the city, Michael was a Managing Director at the Anschutz Investment Company, where he managed the restructuring of over $3 billion in corporate debt. Representing Colorado as our state’s next U.S. Senator, Michael will use his understanding and leadership on complex financial and economic issues to be a voice for Colorado’s working families.
Almost four years ago, Michael inherited a School District whose achievement rates were flat and, where, for year after year, budgets were cut. With the help of Denver Public Schools’ principals and teachers, Michael has turned this around. Achievement and graduation rates are up, with Denver’s kids growing faster than all the kids in the state on every single test at every single grade level with the exception of one math test.
As Superintendent, Michael worked hard to end the annual cycle of budget cuts at the Denver Public Schools. 2008 was the first in five years that the district did not have to cut its budget, and this year Denver was able to invest an additional $18 million in its schools and classrooms to enrich the academic environment for children. As a result, programs such as comprehensive Early Childhood Education have been enacted allowing over 2,000 four year olds to now have a full day Early Childhood Education. Additionally, for the first time in Denver’s history, over 90% of five year olds have access to full-day kindergarten. These improvements are closing the achievement gap suffered by low-income children.
Michael, working with the Denver Classroom Teachers Association, revolutionized Procomp, a system of differentiated pay that pays teachers more for driving student achievement, serving in a high poverty school, or bringing a special set of talents, like the teaching of math or special education. Although the changes proposed were controversial, nearly 80% of Denver’s teachers voted for the new proposal.
Prior to serving as Superintendent of the Denver Public Schools, Michael served for two years as Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper’s Chief of Staff. Michael oversaw the balancing of an historic budget deficit, the renegotiation of several collective bargaining agreements, and a complete redesign of the police oversight function. Michael, along with the Mayor, was widely credited with putting together a first rate, diverse team to lead the City through unprecedented fiscal challenges.
Before joining Mayor Hickenlooper’s administration, Michael was a Managing Director of the Anschutz Investment Company, where he had direct responsibility for the investment of over $500 million. He led the reorganization of four distressed companies including Forcenergy (which later merged with Denver-based Forest Oil), Regal Cinemas, United Artists, and Edwards Theaters, which together required the restructuring of over $3 billion in debt. Michael also managed, on behalf of Anschutz, the consolidation of the three theater chains into Regal Entertainment Group, the largest motion picture exhibitor in the world.
Prior to moving to Denver, Michael served as Counsel to the Deputy Attorney General at the Department of Justice during the Clinton Administration.
Michael earned his bachelor’s degree with honors from Wesleyan University and his law degree from Yale Law School, where he was Editor-in-Chief of The Yale Law Journal.
Michael married Susan Daggett, a successful natural resources lawyer, in 1997. Michael and Susan are the proud parents of three daughters, Caroline (9), Halina (7), and Anne (4).
“Biography.” Senator Michael Bennet. 18 January 2009 .
Governor: John Hickenlooper
136 State Capitol
Denver, CO 80203-1792
A geologist-turned brewpub pioneer who had never run for political office (not even student council) before running for Denver Mayor in 2003, John was elected Governor of Colorado on Nov. 2, 2010. His boundless energy, enthusiasm and creativity are generating tremendous optimism and confidence in Colorado’s future.After being laid-off as a geologist in the 1980s, John struggled for a while until he came up with the crazy idea to open Colorado’s first brewpub. As John likes to say, “I didn’t know anything about starting a business. I didn’t even know what a pro forma was.”
But John went to the library, got books on how to write a business plan and started the long process of making his vision a reality. Although he had to interview with more than 20 banks, he eventually opened The Wynkoop Brewing Co. in the dilapidated warehouse district of downtown Denver. His vision proved successful, and his brewpub and restaurant are now mainstays of Denver’s community, and the beating heart of the lower downtown neighborhood.
As the mayor of Denver, John’s business abilities, partnered with the team he put together at the city, played important roles in the success he achieved after taking office. In 2005, after serving only two years as mayor, Time Magazine placed him among the top five “big-city” mayors in the country. In 2008, John brought a new level of attention to the Mile High City, successfully marketing Denver as an ideal place to host the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
Born in Narberth, Pa., John lost his father at a young age and was raised by his notoriously frugal mother. Having lived through the Great Depression, John’s mother never wore a dress she didn’t sew herself, and she washed plastic wrap and aluminum foil for reuse.
John has carried those lessons of frugality and budget consciousness throughout his life, and as an entrepreneur and politician, they have been crucial to his success.
John moved to Colorado in 1981, after earning a master’s in Geology at Wesleyan University, and found work with Buckhorn Petroleum. With the collapse of the oil industry in the 1980s, John was laid-off, providing him with the opportunity to tap his entrepreneurial skills.
When he opened the Wynkoop Brewing Co. in 1988, the Lower Downtown section of Denver was a rough neighborhood. To the surprise of his business partners, John made a point of advertising near-by restaurants in his brewpub. Though his friends told him he was nuts, John understood that the real competition was television: if they could create an attractive atmosphere that would pull people off their couches, every restaurant in the area would benefit. His efforts helped revitalize the area and turned “LoDo” into the dynamic, bustling community it is today.
As Denver began the construction of its new football stadium, John got involved in the negotiations, ensuring that the new stadium stay true to its original name, the famed Mile High Stadium. Ever the believer in good marketing, John was concerned that the city was about to lose its one landmark with “Mile High” in its title. His work helped create the first brokered naming deal in the nation, for what is now Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium. John’s leadership on the deal and his connection to the community got his friends talking about a run for mayor.
In 2003, without ever having run for public office, John entered the race for mayor. Despite opposition from seasoned political veterans, he captured the attention of voters with his outsiders’ perspective and business prowess, and he won by a landslide 2-to-1 margin.
Before ever taking office, he tossed aside regional conflicts – announcing to suburban mayors that the days of “Denver first” were over. John pushed aside partisanship and reached out to Colorado’s Republican Governor to bridge a new, city-state partnership. Just like he did in his early days in LoDo, John knew that as the state and region succeeded, so would Denver and vice-versa.
As mayor, John consistently honed a creative, innovative and efficient edge to government. He overhauled the city’s financial system, created the city’s first chief financial officer and streamlined many city services.
In 2005, John introduced GreenPrint Denver, a plan to improve Denver’s urban environment by increasing efficiency and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, promoting “green” urban design, and implementing an aggressive waste reduction campaign. The effort has reduced energy use at Denver International Airport by 11 percent per passenger, increased recycling throughout the city by 69 percent, and reduced water use at City Hall by a million gallons per year.
In 2008, John successfully marketed Denver’s long-shot bid for the 2008 Democratic National Convention. As promised, John avoided using public funds for the campaign. Instead, he traveled the country to garner support from leaders in the Democratic community, procuring the necessary funding to host the convention. The event put Colorado on the international stage and brought more than $260 million into the local economy.
John’s most ambitious campaign, a mission to reduce homelessness in Denver, saw great success. Denver’s Road Home provides employment assistance and housing for the homeless. The success of this program became a model for other cities, illustrating how they can combat homelessness within the inner city.
Despite shrinking budgets and managing the city through two national recessions, a recent citizen survey found that Denver’s overall community quality rating improved to 86 percent in 2010 from 78 percent in 2002.
John ran for Governor of Colorado on a platform to make Colorado the best place for entrepreneurs to grow jobs. He promised a balanced budget plan without raising taxes and a regulatory philosophy that would support economic development while maintaining the highest environmental standards.
Perhaps most important of all, John has a track record of bringing people together to solve problems instead of stoking the same old partisan squabbles.
In his Inaugural address, John Hickenlooper said this about Colorado:
“We can be hopeful about our future. We can be bold. We will come through this rough time because we have emerged from rough times before – because we are resilient and undaunted. We’ll do it by working together in the best tradition of the West. Like every river runner knows, when you get into rough water everybody paddles.
There’s a Yiddish word, ‘landsman’ (londs-man) which, roughly translated means ‘a fellow villager’ – a stranger, perhaps, but still someone you welcome because you know they share a common connection in the village of your ancestors.
I think we can learn from this Yiddish expression and the warmth it evokes.
This value doesn’t spring from government. But it can teach all of us to govern together. I feel that every Coloradan is a member of our administration.
As we traveled the state this last year, we didn’t speak ill of those who disagreed with us – and we refused to make personal attacks.
Now, perhaps more than ever, our relationships must be defined by respect, our discourse must be civil and tolerant. As Lincoln said, ‘Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?’
And so, I invite you and all to join us at Colorado’s kitchen table and plan our future…
Because this is Our Colorado.”
Lt. Governor: Donna Lynne
130 State Capitol
Denver, CO 80203-1792
Donna Lynne, DrPH, was sworn in as Colorado’s 49th Lieutenant Governor and Chief Operating Officer on May 12, 2016. She is widely respected as both a leader in the private sector and an expert in the health field.
Prior to assuming her roles in Colorado state government, Dr. Lynne served as the executive vice president of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc. and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, and as group president responsible for its Colorado, Pacific Northwest and Hawaii regions – overseeing an $8 billion budget, 1.4 million members and 16,000 employees.
From 1998 to April 2005, Dr. Lynne was the executive vice president and chief operating officer for Group Health Inc., a $2.5 billion managed care organization. In the mid-1990s, she was the executive director of the New York Business Group on Health.
Dr. Lynne also spent 20 years working in various positions in New York City government, including first deputy commissioner, Office of Labor Relations; director, Mayor’s Office of Operations; and senior vice president, New York City Health and Hospitals Corp.
In addition to her role as an International Executive Fellow with the International Federation of Health Plans, Dr. Lynne is the recipient of numerous honors and accolades, including the Denver Business Journal’s 2008 Outstanding Women in Business award; the 2009 Distinguished Coloradan Award from the University of Colorado Denver School of Pharmacy; the President’s Award from Women in Health Management; and the Health Care Leadership Award from the New York Business Group on Health.
She formerly served on the boards of the Denver Metro Chamber. Colorado Education Initiative, Colorado Mountain Club, Colorado Regional Health Information Organization, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Denver Public Schools Foundation, Teach for America-Colorado, U.S. Bank Colorado Advisory Board, and is the former chair of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.
Dr. Lynne was a co-chair for the Denver Education Compact Executive Advisory Board for Mayor Michael B. Hancock. In 2010, she was one of 16 statewide transition co-chairs and the Personnel and Administration Committee co-chair for Governor John Hickenlooper.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Economics and Political Science), a Masters of Public Administration, and Doctor of Public Health from Columbia University. She also holds the designation of Certified Employee Benefits Specialist from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans/University of Pennsylvania Wharton School. In 2014, Dr. Lynne received an honorary doctorate of public service from the University of Denver. Since 2005, she has been an adjunct associate professor of Public Health at Columbia University.
Dr. Lynne resides in Denver and has three children and two step-children. She enjoys skiing, mountaineering, cycling and reading. She has climbed all 58 of Colorado’s Fourteeners.
CU Board of Regents: Steve Ludwig (At-Large)
Regent Ludwig, a Democrat, was elected to serve in one of two at-large positions on the University of Colorado Board of Regents in 2006. Regent Ludwig attended Pikes Peak Community College in Colorado Springs , Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill , California , and graduated in 1993 from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs with “High Distinction.”
Regent Ludwig’s career experiences include broadcaster, news reporter, and media relations specialist. He is currently a senior strategist for Metzger Associates, a public relations and investor relations firm based in Boulder. Regent Ludwig’s six-year term runs January 2007 through January 2013.
CHAIR, ACADEMIC AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
OTHER: Regent Ludwig serves as on the Awards Committee and the University-City of Boulder Steering Committee.
“Stephen C. Ludwig, At Large.” University of Colorado Board of Regents. 14 July 2008 .
Current Term 2007-2013, Democrat
P.O. Box 461143
Aurora, CO 80046-1143