Club 20 criticizes appointments

Group unhappy that Western Slope not represented in Ritter's cabinet

Members from the Western Slope political organization, Club 20, will meet later this month with state legislators, including Governor-elect Bill Ritter, during an annual legislative visit.

But, the 30 minutes that group members have scheduled Jan. 18 with the new governor won't be the first time this month he's heard from the club's leadership.

In a letter sent to Ritter on Thursday, Club 20 executive director Reeves Brown criticized the incoming governor for not appointing anyone from the Western Slope to his cabinet.

"While the Front Range boasts a deep pool of incredibly talented individuals, there are some equally talented individuals on this side of the Continental Divide as well," Brown wrote. "Colorado's western border does not end at the Jefferson County building."

The lack of geographic diversity among the cabinet appointments, Brown added, does not conform with Ritter's campaign pledge to work on behalf of statewide interests. He asked the governor to "consider the value in having a geographically-diverse leadership team, which represents the breadth of (Ritter's) statewide constituency.

"We have been very pleased with the verbal commitments which you made during your campaign to represent these statewide interests, and we hope that the leadership team which you ultimately assemble will reflect this commitment," Brown wrote.

Brown served as co-chairman of Ritter's transition advisory economic development and international trade committee.

Ritter spokesman Evan Dreyer said the governor-elect takes input from Club 20 seriously and is committed to providing government leaders from throughout Colorado.

"Reeves Brown was on our transition team so he's been providing advice," Dreyer said Friday. "Clearly his input and suggestions are valuable and we too want to make sure that the administration ... is representative of the entire state."

Dreyer said he could not comment on future appointments.

Club 20 is a 50-year-old coalition of residents, business leaders and organizations in the Western Slope's 22 counties and was formed to lobby on behalf of interests at the state and national levels.

Club 20 members Saed Tayyara, a Moffat County commissioner, and Jeff Comstock, county natural resources planner, are slated to attend the club's legislative session.

The two-day visit will include scheduled visits with leaders on both sides of the aisle and panel discussions on energy impact funds, election and campaign reform, and transportation infrastructure funding.

"It's two-sided," Brown said. "Half of it is to update ourselves on what the issues (the Legislature will be debating), and the other half to comment on our positions and concerns."

Brown said he doubts the club's letter to Ritter will have any bearing on its meeting in the state's capitol.

"By now, they expect Club 20 to bang the drum," he said.

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