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Jared Polis announces transition team stocked with big-name Democrats

The Democrat governor-elect picked 51 people to help form his administration ahead of Jan. 8 inauguration

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Big name Democratic officials and donors will lead Gov.-elect Jared Polis’ transition team and shape his incoming administration.

Polis named 51 people to his transition team Friday, dividing them into seven broad areas with two leaders for each committee. All are serving the team as unpaid volunteers. (See the full transition team list below.)

The announcement came three days after Polis won the Colorado governor’s race by a seven-point margin against Republican Walker Stapleton.

In a statement, Polis said he plans “to hit the ground running” on three key areas: education, health care and the economy. “Over the next 60 days, a group of more than 60 experts in their field, community leaders, and Coloradans representing the broad diversity of our state will be helping us prepare to take on these challenges,” he said in the statement.

Polis takes office after his inauguration Jan. 8.

Polis formed a 501(c)4 nonprofit — dubbed Boldly Forward — to serve as his transition committee, and it is seeded with excess campaign funds, according to a Polis spokesman. The nonprofit can take unlimited donations and does not need to disclose its donors, but the Polis team said it would publish them on its transition website.

A number of the people are major political donors, but a Polis spokeswoman said no registered lobbyists or current lawmakers are part of the transition.

The team includes prominent Democrats, such as former Gov. Bill Ritter, Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne, former Colorado State University President Al Yates, former Democratic Party Chairman Rick Palacio and two former Democratic House speakers, Crisanta Duran and Andrew Romanoff. The Keystone Center will facilitate the effort.

But Polis touted his transition effort as a bipartisan affair and pointed to one prominent Republican on the team, former U.S. Rep. Bob Schaffer, a charter school leader who is a member of the education effort. Schaffer served in a similar role for Gov. John Hickenlooper in 2010, a move that drew scorn from liberals for his controversial stances in the past.

“Every Coloradan wants good schools, healthy communities, and more opportunity for the next generation. I am proud to serve on the Polis administration’s transition committee to work towards our shared goals,” Schaffer said in a statement.

Hickenlooper made a bigger point of bipartisanship in his transition, naming former Republican Gov. Bill Owens as one of his statewide co-chairman. But plenty of overlap between Hickenlooper and Polis exists, including Lynne and Yates.

Polis is soliciting feedback from the public about his new administration and seeking volunteers.

Here’s a list of the transition team members announced Friday:

Transportation, Infrastructure and Local Affairs

Co-chairs: Former House Democratic leader Sal Pace and former House Speaker Crisanta Duran

Members: Rutt Bridges; Tim Mauck; and Dr. Florine Raitano

Topic areas: Colorado Department of Transportation, broadband, Department of Local Affairs

Economic Development and Labor

Co-chairs: Gary Arnold and John Tayer

Members: Rick Sapkin; Ken Gart; Joe Zimlich; and Sarah Shrader

Topic areas: Office of Economic Development and International Trade; Department of Labor and Employment

Consumer Services

Co-chairs: Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne and Rick Palacio

Members: Former Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst; former DORA Executive Director and U.S. Rep.-elect Joe Neguse; past Denver City Council President Ramona Martinez; cannabis entrepreneur Wanda James; and former Colorado Gov. Roy Romer

Topic areas: Office of Information Technology; Department of Revenue; Department of Regulatory Affairs; Department of Personnel and Administration

Health and Human Services

Co-chairs: Speaker Andrew Romanoff and Dr. Malik Hasan

Members: Dan Gibbs, Dusti Gurule; Jake Williams; Jill Ryan; and Hickenlooper’s former Chief of Staff Roxane White

Topic areas: Department of Human Services; Department of Health Care Policy and Financing; Department of Public Health and Environment; Division of Insurance

Energy and Natural Resources and Agriculture

Co-chairs: Gov. Bill Ritter and Andrew Currie

Members: Jim Alexee; Boulder County Commissioner Elise Jones; retired oil and gas executive Tim Marquez, former Colorado Agriculture Commissioner John Stulp; Hunter Lovins; Eric Washburn; and Jim Pribyl

Topic areas: Colorado Energy Office; Department of Natural Resources; Public Health & Environment; Department of Agriculture

Education

Co-chairs: Former CSU President Al Yates and former member of the Colorado State Board of Education Elaine Gantz Berman

Members: Former state Sen. Mike Johnston; University of Denver Chancellor Emeritus Dan Ritchie; Ami Baca; Jen Walmer; former U.S. Rep. and former Chairman of the State Board of Education Bob Schaffer; former state Sen. Polly Baca; former CU Board of Regents Chairman Michael Carrigan; and former Denver Post Publisher Dean Singleton

Topic areas: Department of Higher Education; education policy

Public Safety, Military and Corrections

Co-chairs: Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle and Dr. Regina Brown

Members: Taylor McLamore; Rosemary Lytle; Mike Rogers; and Tricia Heller

Topic areas: Department of Public Safety; Department of Corrections; Department of Military and Veterans Affairs

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