Friday, December 3, 2010

Rep. Weissman to serve as House Dems' chief of staff

The House Democratic caucus has chosen a legislator with long experience at the capitol to serve as its chief of staff for the 68th General Assembly.

Rep. Paul M. Weissman, D-Louisville, will lead the new minority party's team of employees, and provide strategic guidance to members of the caucus, after serving four terms in the House and one in the Senate between 1993-97.

Weissman, 46, is term-limited in the House.

"I feel like we snagged the big one!," minority leader Sal Pace, D-Pueblo, said in a statement. "Paul has managed the Blue Parrot restaurant in Louisville for years, and he understands how to run government like a business, with an eye on the bottom line and balancing the budget. He is widely respected in the Capitol and among stakeholders for his commitment to bi-partisanship. His deep understanding of the issues and of legislative process, and his integrity and ethics make him a natural fit. It doesn't hurt that like all good bartenders, he has a great sense of humor and an ability to listen to others."

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Insurance commissioner Morrison steps down

Colorado insurance commissioner Marcy Morrison has left her post.

The former school board member, Manitou Springs mayor, county commissioner, and state legislator had held the job since 2007. She advocated for a number of consumer-friendly insurance bills, including one adopted in 2010 that will require insurance policies to be readable by a person with a tenth-grade education starting in 2012.

"Marcy is a tireless advocate who worked to balance the needs of consumers with the needs of the insurance industry," Gov. Bill Ritter said.

Morrison will be temporarily replaced by John J. Postolowski, a deputy commissioner of the agency.

The state Division of Insurance is housed within the Department of Regulatory Agencies.

Statehouse Dem spokeswomen leaving for private sector jobs

The Democratic caucuses in the state Senate and House of Representatives will have new chief media relations officers next year.

Veteran House Democratic spokeswoman Katie Reinisch and Democratic Senate caucus spokeswoman Abigail Vacanti are returning to the private sector.

Reinisch and her husband aim to become entrepreneurs. They plan to open a frozen yogurt franchise in Denver, Reinisch said in an e-mail message.

"After four wonderful sessions in the majority, working for the inspiring Speakers Romanoff and Carroll and with top-notch bosses Kelly Nordini, Will Coyne and Jen Walmer, I had decided months ago that if we lost the majority in the House, I would leave," Reinisch said.

"There's many reasons why: I'm too old and spoiled to lose the clout of the majority, to face a one-third pay cut in the minority, and to have to cut back programs I believe in so that we can continue to balance the budget," she continued.

Reinisch said that her and her husband want to "leave something for our teenage girls to build upon."

"And we hope we will have more money and time for philanthropy, especially with ASAP which brings Denver volunteers to Tanzania to work alongside locals building schools," she explained. "Our whole family is returning this summer for our second ASAP trip."

ASAP is an acronym for The Africa School Assistance Project.

According to a report in the Denver Post, Vacanti will join a public relations firm.

Vacanti was unavailable for comment as this article was posted.

The story by the Post's Jessica Fender indicates that the House Democratic caucus' chief of staff, Jen Walmer, is also leaving her job.

Mullarkey leaves state supreme court

Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey's long tenure on the state supreme court ended Tuesday.

Mullarkey, who announced her retirement in June, had been a justice since 1987 and chief justice since 1998.

The 66-year old veteran jurist did not offer any public statements about her departure on Tuesday.

Gov. Bill Ritter appointed Monica Marquez, a deputy attorney general, to replace Mullarkey.

Marquez will be sworn in Dec. 10.

Justice Michael Bender has been selected by his colleagues on the high court to be the next chief justice.

Romer to leave Senate to seek Denver mayor's job

Sen. Chris Romer, D-Denver, is leaving the legislature.

Romer, who was elected to second term in the Senate Nov. 2, announced Tuesday that he will resign his seat so that he can seek election as Denver's mayor.

He made his announcement at a meeting of business advocates, promising to balance the city's budget.

Early speculation has Rep. Beth McCann, D-Denver, being the most likely replacement for Romer.

A district 32 vacancy committee will have to make that decision, and McCann won't be the only option the members have.

According to a report in Wednesday's Denver Post, Denver Democratic Party secretary Owen Perkins, former federal civil servant Jeff Hart, physician Irene Aguilar, and environmentalist Matt Royster may also seek the appointment.

If McCann is appointed to fill the remainder of Romer's term, which would expire in January 2015, she would also be replaced in House district 8 by a vacancy committee.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Ritter's chief of staff to leave job

Gov. Bill Ritter's chief of staff is leaving the post to return to the private sector.

Jim Carpenter, who has held the job since Ritter became governor, plans to join a public affairs firm.

Carpenter managed U.S. Interior secretary Ken Salazar's successful 2004 run for a U.S. Senate seat and also worked for former Gov. Roy Romer and former U.S. Sen. Timothy Wirth.

He'll work with Mike Stratton, another former Salazar staffer, at a public affairs firm.