Nov 152010
 
Authors: Keeley Blakley

Former CSU President Al Yates was appointed as one of the 16 statewide co-chairs of Gov.-elect John Hickenlooper’s transition team, coined Partners for Colorado.

Hickenlooper named his transition team last week, which includes a diverse group of leaders from Colorado’s business, education and political sectors.

CSU President Tony Frank said that he was not surprised that Yates was picked to be part of the transition team.
“Al is very, very thoughtful and incredibly intelligent person,” Frank said. “His experience is really going to serve him and Governor Hickenlooper.”

Yates’ appointment really shows that doing something with the funding problem in higher education will be a priority, said John Straayer, CSU political science professor.

The transition team, according to a Partners for Colorado press release, will aid the incoming governor in setting goals for the first 100 days of his term and help recruit candidates for each major department.

Frank said that while it can never hurt to have leadership who understand the value and pressures of higher education, he believes Yates will act in the best interest of the state.

“Dr. Yates brings a tremendous amount of experience and knowledge of statewide issues to our transition effort,” said Eric Brown, spokesperson for Partners for Colorado.

Matt Strauch, Associated Students of CSU director of Legislative Affairs, said that, though transition teams are common, Hickenlooper’s is unique in the fact that it includes people from both major parties, instead of the usual appointment of party elders.

Former Republican Gov. Bill Owens was also named as a statewide co-chair of the transition team. The statewide co-chairs for the team are split with seven Democrats, eight Republicans and one unaffiliated member.

“It’s good not to be polarized from the beginning,” Strauch said. “He wants everyone to work together.”

Hickenlooper and Lt. Gov.-elect Joe Garcia will take office on Jan. 11 next year.

When it comes to higher education, Hickenlooper wants to improve access and student success in public institutions, according to the Partners for Colorado website. He wants to find ways to fund Colorado’s 30 public institutions and bring Colorado up from its ranking as 48th in the nation in local support for higher education.

Partners for Colorado also named the co-chairs of 23 issue committees –– ranging from corrections to higher education –– which have been holding meetings in cities all over the state. More meetings will be held on Nov. 20. These meetings are open to the public and a full list of times and locations can be found online at partnersforcolorado.com.

“All in all, it is just good politics to assemble a broad coalition whose support you will need in the months and years to come as you struggle with Colorado’s problems,” Straayer said.

Staff writer Keeley Blakely can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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