DENVER, Colo. — Today, Attorney General-Elect Phil Weiser announced his transition team as he prepares to take office on January 8th.

These team members and groups will be responsible for providing valuable guidance on the transition process, developing the office’s leadership team, and shaping priorities for the first months of Weiser’s tenure.

“I am committed to protecting the people of Colorado and building a law office that will serve all Coloradans effectively. That starts with assembling a talented and experienced team that reflects the diversity of people, places, and ideas across our great state,” Weiser said. “I am deeply honored by the opportunity to serve all Coloradans as their lawyer. I will work tirelessly to defend our freedoms, protect our Colorado values, and provide opportunities for all. I appreciate the investment of time and energy by a talented group of professionals who have agreed to volunteer their time and support me during this transition.”

Kathryn Besemer, a former Apple Computer and NeXT executive, and former Vice President of People and Director of Strategic Planning at Celestial Seasonings, will direct Weiser’s transition, along with Deputy Director Suzanne Stoller, Director of People Operations, Google and former head of HR for Google Sales, Europe, Middle East, and Africa, who will lead organizational development.

Further oversight of the transition will be led by a committee of three co-chairs:

  • Alan Salazar, who currently serves as chief of staff to Mayor Michael Hancock, and previously advised Governor John Hickenlooper as chief strategy officer
  • Meg Porfido, who served as chief of staff and general counsel to Governor Roy Romer and currently sits on several boards of directors, including as chair of Global Education Fund.
  • John Walsh, who is currently a partner at WilmerHale and formerly served as the U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado

“Phil campaigned to be the lawyer for all Coloradans. Establishing this diverse and inclusive transition team reflects that commitment, and demonstrates how he will serve as our Attorney General,” said Transition Committee Co-Chair Alan Salazar.

To fulfill his commitment to serve as the “People’s Lawyer,” Weiser will engage representatives from across the state, soliciting the insight of stakeholders and community members from diverse backgrounds, communities, and regions.  To help him do that, and bring the best possible ideas and people into his Administration, the following individuals have agreed to serve on the Attorney General’s Office Transition Team (in alphabetical order):

  • Wil Alston, Interim President and CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan Denver
  • Fiona Arnold, President of MAINSPRING Developers and former Executive Director of the Office of Economic Development and International Trade for the State of Colorado on Governor John Hickenlooper’s Cabinet
  • Rich Baer, Chief Legal Officer of Liberty Media Corporation and Chair of the National Jewish Health Board of Directors
  • Bernie Buescher, former Colorado Secretary of State and current counsel at Ireland Stapleton Pryor and Pascoe
  • Diane Carman, Colorado Sun columnist and former Director of Communications at the University of Colorado Denver School of Public Affairs
  • Jeff Chostner, District Attorney for Colorado’s Tenth Judicial District (Pueblo County)
  • Audrey Danner, Principal and Owner of Mountain Connect Broadband Development Conference and former Moffat County Commissioner
  • Rio de la Vista, Founding Director at Salazar Rio Grande del Norte Center at Adams State University
  • Steve ErkenBrack, former Colorado Chief Deputy Attorney General, and former Mesa County District Attorney
  • Katharine Ferguson, currently with the Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group, former Chief of Staff to the Domestic Policy Council in the Obama White House
 and to Rural Development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Russ George, former Speaker of the House in Colorado, and Executive Director for both the Colorado Department of Natural Resources and the Colorado Department of Transportation.
  • Franz Hardy, former President of the Denver Bar Association and partner at Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani
  • Pastor Terrence H. Hughes, President, Greater Metro Denver Ministerial Alliance
  • Gail Klapper, Director, The Colorado Forum
  • Monica Lang, Chief of Staff at the Zayo Group and former senior advisor to Denver Mayor Michael Hancock
  • Michelle Lucero, Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel at the Children’s Hospital of Colorado and former Acting City Attorney of Denver
  • Joelle Martinez, Executive Director of the Latino Leadership Institute and co-founder of the Colorado Latino Forum.
  • Karen Middleton, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado, former President of Emerge America, and former Colorado State Legislator, House District 42.
  • Stephanie O’Malley, former Denver Executive Director of Public Safety, former elected Denver County Clerk and Recorder,  and current Senior Advisor to Mayor Michael Hancock
  • Garrison Ortiz, Pueblo County Commissioner
  • Luis Ponce, Strategic Campaign and Research Director, SEIU Local 105
  • Sean Smith, La Plata County Sheriff
  • Eric Roza, Senior Vice President and General Manager at Oracle Data Cloud; former CEO of Datalogix, and founder and owner of CrossFit Sanitas
  • Stephany Rose Spaulding, founder of Our Children’s Children Enterprises and Associate Professor at University of Colorado, Colorado Springs
  • David Wood, former District Attorney for Colorado’s Eighth Judicial District (Larimer and Jackson counties) and former president of the Colorado Bar Association

“Phil has consistently demonstrated a dedication to our entire state, fighting for 21st century opportunity in every community and devoting the time necessary to learn about the important issues affecting communities across our state,” said Russ George, former Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives and cabinet member under Governor Bill Owens. “I look forward to working with him to turn the promises of his campaign into real solutions for Colorado.”

“During the campaign, Phil Weiser was a frequent visitor to rural Colorado, earning him the Rural Advocate of the Year Award from the Rio Grande County Democrats.  Now, it’s a privilege to support and advise him on the issues that concern our agricultural community, from protecting our water and public lands, to the challenges of opioids,” said Rio de la Vista. “Together, we’ll work to ensure that every corner of Colorado enjoys equal opportunity and that we conserve and manage our precious natural resources for future generations.”

The transition process is comprised of 8 working groups led and supported by the following dedicated team:

  • Matt Baca (lead), attorney at Colorado Legal Services, former associate attorney at Earthjustice and U.S. District Court law clerk
  • Alya Besemer, campaign Deputy Director of Communications
  • Jeff Blattner (lead), president of Legal Policy Solutions and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General, US Department of Justice,
  • Anne Castle, Getches-Wilkinson Center, CU, former Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Water and Science.
  • Roxanne Jensen (lead), founder of EvolveLaw and former Managing Partner of Morrison & Foerster’s Denver office
  • Marty Katz (lead), Chief Innovation Officer at the University of Denver, former Dean of the University of Colorado Denver School Sturm College of Law
  • Melanie Kay (lead), Director of Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative at University of Colorado Law School and former Earthjustice attorney
  • Viva Moffat, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at University of Denver — Sturm College of Law
  • Jessica Neumann, Associated Director of Innovation at the University of Denver
  • Diana Noyes, former Director of Research in the Office of the White House Counsel, campaign Press Secretary
  • Tim Rastello (lead), founder and owner of Timothy Rastello Law Firm
  • Tom Raynes, Executive Director of the Colorado District Attorney’s Council, former District Attorney in the 7th Judicial District, former Deputy Attorney General
  • David Romer, campaign Finance Event Director
  • David Seligman, Director of Towards Justice, former attorney at the National Consumer Law Center
  • Monty Sooter (lead),co-founder of Intelivideo, former COO of ClickBank, former CIO Corporate Express, Associate Partner at Andersen Consulting, and Naval Officer
  • Keri Ungemah, Assistant Dean of Communications and Marketing at University of Denver – Sturm College of Law
  • Ken Weil (lead), Principal at Social Impact Solutions, former Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor Bill Ritter

“I appreciate the important cooperation and support offered to me by our current Attorney General Cynthia Coffman and her whole team.  With the support of Attorney General Coffman, the talented professionals in the AG’s office, and our Transition Team, I anticipate a smooth and transparent transition into the Attorney General’s office.  I am eager to begin the critical work Colorado voters elected me to carry out: fight the opioid epidemic, protect our valued natural resources, defend equal treatment under the law, and working hard to address the important issues facing Colorado,” Weiser said.


This post was updated 12/7/18.

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