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Romer signs on with Schwartz

John Colson
Gail Schwartz is seeking a Colorado State Senate seat in District 5.
University of Colorado/Boulder | Photography Office

Snowmass Village politician Gail Schwartz has enlisted a fairly big political gun in her battle for a seat in the state Senate. Three-term Colorado Gov. Roy Romer signed on recently to be Schwartz’ campaign chairman. Romer will continue in his current job as superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, although he reportedly has asked that he be allowed to resign as soon as a replacement superintendent can be found.On May 31, according to a press release from the Schwartz campaign, Romer announced he would serve as campaign chairman in her bid for a Republican seat representing District 5 in the Colorado State Senate. Schwartz said she and Romer will make campaign appearances around the district starting later this summer and on a more intensive schedule in the fall.”I’ve known Gail for years, and I have absolute confidence in her to do what’s right,” Romer said in a prepared statement. “That’s why I am chairing her campaign. She’s great on education, water and Western Slope values. She will be a real champion for the people of rural Colorado. Gail Schwartz is a serious person ready to tackle the serious issues facing our state. You can depend on her.”

Romer and Schwartz have worked together before, primarily on educational issues. In 1995, then-Gov. Romer appointed Schwartz to serve on the Colorado Commission for Higher Education, a post she held for three years.In 2000, about the same time Romer left office, Schwartz scored a political upset by unseating a Republican incumbent to win the CU regents seat representing the Western Slope and much of southern Colorado. She currently is vice-chairwoman of the Board of Regents.”I am thrilled that one of Colorado’s greatest statesmen will be providing his insight and knowledge as chair of my State Senate campaign,” the 56-year-old Schwartz said. “Governor Romer’s vast experience and popularity throughout the District is a tremendous boost to me and my campaign.”Pat Waak, chairwoman of the Colorado Democratic Party, received official confirmation of Romer’s addition to Schwartz’ team Monday, although the rumor had been circulating for days.”From our perspective, we think that that’s a good boost for her over on the Western Slope,” Waak said. She called Romer “a very popular governor” who should be a big draw for Democratic voters in the district.

But, she said, “in the end it’s up to [Schwartz] to make those connections” with voters.At the time of the announcement, Schwartz and Romer were attending a fundraiser for Schwartz and for Chris Romer, the governor’s son who also is running for the state Senate, at the home of Tom and Beth Strickland in Denver.Romer served as governor of Colorado from 1986-98, and has extensive experience running election campaigns at the state and national levels. He served as general chairman of the Democratic National Committee in 1997, was a national co-chairman of the Clinton-Gore 1996 campaign, and ran successful campaigns for seats in the Colorado House and the Senate between 1958 and 1966.In 2001 he took his current job, as superintendent of the L.A. Unified School District. He reportedly has asked the district school board to start looking for his replacement, and Schwartz predicted he will be living back in Colorado full time by the end of 2006.

Colorado Senate District 5 comprises 11 counties, from Delta County in the west to Saguache County in the east, and from the northern Pitkin County line to the southern border of Colorado.Rep. Lewis Entz, of the San Luis Valley, currently represents Senate District 5; he could not be reached for comment Monday.Entz, who calls himself “74 years young,” has been in public service for more than three decades, and has represented Senate District 5 since 2001. He was appointed to fill the seat vacated by Gigi Dennis, whom President George W. Bush named state director of rural development for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.John Colson’s e-mail address is jcolson@aspentimes.com


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