Scanlan takes post with Hickenlooper
summit daily news
Christine Scanlan, who recently won reelection to State House District 56, has been tapped by Governor-elect John Hickenlooper to serve on his leadership team. Scanlan, a Democrat from Summit County, will serve as Hickenlooper’s director of legislative affairs and strategic initiatives.
“He called me out of the blue and said ‘I want you on my senior team,'” Scanlan said Tuesday after the announcement. “It’s exciting and overwhelming.”
Hickenlooper said Scanlan will help oversee initiatives on issues including Interstate 70 and education reform.
Earlier this year, Scanlan helped pass a bill changing the rules for how Colorado teachers earn and keep tenure over the objections of the state’s largest teachers’ union.
“I’ll work with the House and the Senate doing his legislative work,” Scanlan said. “I’ll also work with the cabinet, setting legislative priorities for the governor and negotiating strategies for getting them done – including across the aisle.”
Scanlan said she was “in the mix” to be Hickenlooper’s lieutenant governor and got to know him last summer during those conversations.
“We think alike politically,” she said. “We’re centrist, pragmatic and focused on the need to find solutions. And we know we need to rise above politics to do it.”
Scanlan, who started off in local politics with the Summit School District Board of Education, was appointed to House District 56 when Dan Gibbs left to join the State Senate. She was elected in 2008 in a tough campaign against Ali Hasan and this year beat Republican Debra Irvine to regain her seat. Scanlan has worked with the Keystone Center for 16 years, with decreasing responsibility as her political career has grown. With this new appointment, she said she will have to end her work with the Keystone Center.
“This is a full-time, year-round thing, so it’s a huge change for me,” Scanlan said. “But I’ll still be driving up and down the hill – I still have a kid in school (at Summit High).”
Scanlan said it’s also difficult to resign her seat after recently re-winning it. A Democrat vacancy committee will name a replacement for her, and she said she hopes Josh Lautenberg will put his name forward. Lautenberg is an Eagle County ski instructor and real estate professional whose name arose in 2007 when Gibbs moved to the Senate.
“It’s an interesting opportunity for him,” Scanlan said. “He and I are aligned in similar ways in terms of being moderate on business issues and strong advocates for education. And he’s very familiar with other issues like the bark beetle and I-70.”
Lautenberg, 42, is the son of U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), at 86 the oldest serving U.S. Senator.
“He started when I was 13, so I got the bug for politics and have worked on all of his campaigns,” Lautenberg said. “I’ve always been interested in following in his footsteps.”
As for the House seat in Denver, Lautenberg said he’s thrown his name in but doesn’t assume anything.
“I’m sure there are others interested,” he said.
Lautenberg is co-owner of Sonnenalp Real Estate in Vail and has a wife and two children.
Scanlan said she’ll start shifting to her new role in the coming weeks and be on full time in January.
“It’s an amazing opportunity,” she said.
Summit Daily editor Alex Miller can be reached at email@example.com or (970) 668-4618.
CORRECTS earlier version with incorrect age for Sen. Lautenberg.
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