Nov 182008
 
Authors: Elyse Jarvis

After ending a 12-year U.S. Senate career, Republican Wayne Allard is contemplating pursuing the CSU chancellor post should the CSU System Board of Governors decide to split the president and chancellor roles.

After receiving communications from two state lawmakers recommending Allard, a BOG spokesperson said it may consider him for the position, but called discussions regarding potential candidates “premature.”

“The board thinks it’s great that someone with (Allard’s) experience in public service is interested in serving a leadership role at CSU,” said BOG spokesperson Michele McKinney.

The board, which is considering dividing the president and chancellor roles and decentralizing power in the CSU System for the first time in decades, “still has to meet to discuss the roles, responsibilities, qualifications and characteristics of a chancellor position, and they have not done that yet,” McKinney said.

A spokesperson for Allard said that he had not necessarily envisioned himself in the chancellor role until his colleagues presented the idea to him after the BOG announced the potential split of the positions following former CSU President Larry Penley’s resignation this month.

“(Allard) has been contacted by people suggesting him for the position, and he is responding with ‘Yes, I am absolutely interested,'” said Steve Wymer, Allard’s spokesperson.

Wymer said Allard is “honored” to have been thought of, but he specified that he would only be interested in the chancellor position. He will not pursue the presidential position for the CSU-Fort Collins campus, Wymer said.

“(Allard) is certainly a better fit for a fundraising, legislative and figurehead position,” Wymer said. “That’s where his interest would be if it develops.”

The proposed chancellor position would require its occupant to reside in Denver, representing CSU-Fort Collins, CSU-Pueblo and CSU Global to state legislators, McKinney said.

Wymer said Allard’s experience, which includes terms in both the Colorado State Senate and the U.S. Senate and six years as representative for the Fourth Congressional District, make him a qualified contender for the role.

Local organizations such as ProgressNow, an online progressive advocacy coalition, have opposed Allard’s potential candidacy, citing Time magazine’s reference to Allard as “The Invisible Man” who “almost never plays a role in major legislation” as a reason to deem Allard unfit for the position.

Referencing Allard’s sponsorship of the proposed 2006 constitutional amendment that would have banned gay marriage, Michael Huttner, executive director of Progress

Now said in a press release that Allard has made his “top priority interfering in other people’s privacy by pushing to amend the U.S. Constitution to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples.”

Seth Walters, student government director of legislative affairs, said he believes Allard would help CSU form positive relationships with the state legislature, who had “a little bit of a rocky relationship” with former CSU President Larry Penley.

Gov. Bill Ritter publicly disagreed with Penley’s attempt to add a last-minute revision to the Long Bill that would have increased student tuition by 43 percent.

“Someone with experience in politics would be able to conduct the position very efficiently,” Walters said.

Wymer said that although it is typical that a retiring politician’s name begins to pop up when new positions become available, the chancellor position is one that fits Allard well.

“Sen. Allard and his wife, Joan, both bleed green and gold,” Wymer said.

Both are alumni, Wymer said, having graduated in 1968 after meeting at CSU. Allard is the third generation of his family to attend the university.

Should the BOG officially decide to split the positions and Allard be announced as an official candidate for the chancellor position, Wymer said that Allard would outline his goals and thoughts to the CSU community.

“Allard would expect to come to campus and sit down and talk to a variety of faculty, staff and students to outline his visions for the university and the work he’s done for and with CSU over the years,” Wymer said. McKinney said the BOG is likely to start the discussion as to whether it will create two positions, president and chancellor, at its next meeting in early December.

“Wayne Allard would be a very good candidate, but that will be for the board to decide,” Walters said. “I’m sure students will be involved in that deciding process, and we will have our input heard.”

News Managing Editor Elyse Jarvis can be reached at news@collegian.

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ALLARD INFO:

Former Sen. Wayne Allard graduated from CSU in 1968 with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree.

Allard represented Larimer and Weld counties in the Colorado State Senate from 1983 to 1990, during which time he sponsored a state law to limit state legislative sessions to 120 days.

Acting as the Fourth Congressional District rep. from 1991 to 1997, Allard served on the Joint Committee on Congressional Reform.

Allard served 12 years in the U.S. Senate from 1996 to this year, when he decided not to run for re-election.

Banning cockfighting was a major part of Allard’s campaign platform in his first five years in the Senate.

Allard was the chief sponsor of a 2006 constitutional amendment that would have banned gay marriage.

Time magazine, which referred to him as “The Invisible Man” who “almost never plays a role in major legislation,” ranked Allard one of the country’s five worst senators in 2006.

Allard co-sponsored the James Peak Wilderness Bill, which created a preserve around James Peak and added 3,000 acres to the Indian Peak Protection Area.

Allard served as chairman and founder of the Senate Renewable Energy and Efficiency Caucus.

During his time in the Senate, Allard’s office returned $4.3 million from its budget.

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