"Andrew Romanoff in the Starting Blocks," published yesterday, pointed out that his long dormant personal website sported a one-line addition: "New Website Coming Soon."
Make that now. Even before the start of his scheduled 10 a.m. senatorial campaign announcement in Pueblo, the updated AndrewRomanoff.com was live. The picture on its home page, seen here, features Romanoff speaking to a little girl in front of a wheel of fortune -- perhaps an unconscious symbol of the gamble he's taking by challening fellow Dem Michael Bennet for the U.S. Senate seat. Also featured is the following statement:
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I'm running for the Senate because I want to represent the state I love the best way I know how. I've led the fight to energize our economy, strengthen our schools, and curb the cost of health care. No one in this race knows the people of Colorado better -- and no one will work harder to make their voices heard. I look forward to talking with you over the months ahead, and I hope to earn your support.
In addition, the site boasts the usual "Volunteer" and "Donate" buttons, plus an extensive biography filled with attaboys from most major newspapers in the state. His résumé makes it clear why he was a rising star in Colorado's Democratic Party, and why he won't be a pushover as Bennet seeks to make his first run for an office he already holds -- all for the likely honor of facing off against Jane Norton, who launched her own campaign yesterday. Read the bio below:
"A man of honor and conviction," says the Pueblo Chieftain. Andrew Romanoff "represents the best in government leaders," says the Gunnison Times. And the Fort Collins Coloradoan says, "His energy and dedication to resolving some of Colorado's major issues" are "unmatched."
A NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED LEADER
Elected to four terms in the state legislature, Andrew Romanoff became the speaker of the House in 2005. His leadership won national recognition. In 2008, Governing magazine named Romanoff as Public Official of the Year. In 2006, he was honored as one of the most outstanding lawmakers in America. The Council of State Governments, the National Conference of State Legislatures, and the State Legislative Leaders Foundation present the William Bulger Award to the "legislative leader whose career embodies the highest principles of leadership - integrity, compassion, vision and courage." Romanoff is the award's youngest recipient.
Romanoff was first elected to the State House in 2000 and reelected in 2002, 2004 and 2006. He swiftly assumed command of the Democratic team, winning election as his party's leader in his second term. In 2004, Romanoff led the charge to capture a Democratic majority in the House -- the first such victory in three decades. Romanoff's colleagues twice elected him to the speakership, a post he held until he was term-limited out of the House in 2009.
A PASSION FOR PUBLIC SERVICE
Romanoff's commitment to his community is no accident. His mother Gayle, a social worker, and his father Marvin, a judge, instilled in Andrew and in his twin sister Hilary a passion for public service. Andrew's grandparents worked for Project Hope, bringing medical supplies and treatment to Africa and Latin America. The concept of "tikkun olam" -- to heal the world -- was central to his family's creed.
Romanoff took an early interest in civil rights. In high school, he learned about the Southern Poverty Law Center's efforts to combat Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazi groups. The Center's Klanwatch Project and a state civil rights agency's investigative unit became two of his first employers.
After earning a bachelor's degree with honors from Yale in 1989, Romanoff set off for Costa Rica and Nicaragua, where he taught English, honed his Spanish, and lived with local families. The experience confirmed both his love of teaching and his dedication to fighting poverty. After returning to the United States, Romanoff enrolled in Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government; he earned a master's degree in public policy in 1993. He completed a juris doctorate at the University of Denver's Sturm College of Law in 2008.
Romanoff spent four years in the private sector -- as a senior associate at the Colorado consulting firm of Greenberg Baron Simon & Miller -- before accepting a job with Governor Roy Romer. He worked in the Office of Policy and Initiatives, analyzing state and national proposals for education reform.
Since leaving the legislature, Romanoff has taught graduate students at the University of Colorado at Denver's School of Public Affairs. He has also taught political science at the Community College of Aurora, Metropolitan State College of Denver, and Red Rocks Community College.
Romanoff has long played an active role in nonprofit organizations. He has served on the boards of the Center for Women's Employment and Education, the Colorado Children's Campaign, and the Colorado Health Foundation. He was the president of the Washington Park East Neighborhood Association and the Washington Street Community Center. And he has mentored at-risk students through Denver Kids.
A RECORD OF RESULTS
Strengthening the Economy
In 2005, Colorado's new Democratic majority inherited one of the worst fiscal crises since the Great Depression. Romanoff led a bipartisan majority of the legislature to put the Colorado Economic Recovery Act (Referendum C) on the ballot and helped build the broadest coalition in state history to pass it.
• Tens of thousands of Coloradans received health coverage.
• Thousands of families were able to send their children to preschool and kindergarten.
• College students earned financial aid and work-study funding.
• Senior citizens regained a break in their property taxes.
• Three-dozen critical road and bridge repairs got a green light.
Under Romanoff's leadership, the legislature produced the most significant economic development package in decades, including major investments in renewable energy, bioscience and biotechnology, tourism, film and the arts; tax incentives for small and rural businesses; and a near-record boost for the state's infrastructure.
In 2008, the Economic Development Council of Colorado -- one of the state's leading job advocates -- honored Romanoff with its Lifetime Achievement Award. Romanoff's efforts to strengthen the economy have earned praise from a wide range of business organizations, including the Southeast Business Partnership, the Colorado Contractors Association, the Colorado Junior Chamber, the Independent Bankers of Colorado, the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, and the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties.
Curbing the Cost of Health Care
Thousands of Coloradans have been forced to do battle with their insurance companies just to get the coverage they've already paid for. In 2007, Romanoff fought the insurance industry and won. The result: a new law that requires insurers to pay what they owe when they owe it -- and cracks down on those who unreasonably delay or deny claims.
Romanoff also sponsored bills making it easier for Colorado's seniors to get care at home and in community-based settings. He passed a law to save millions of dollars in state Medicaid costs by holding private insurers more accountable. He backed measures to reduce the price of prescription drugs by pooling Colorado's purchasing power with other states'. And he spearheaded efforts to expand mental health and drug and alcohol treatment.
Romanoff's leadership on health and human services has been recognized by the Colorado Psychological Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the Colorado Dental Association, the Colorado Community Health Network, the Colorado Society of Osteopathic Medicine, the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, the Colorado Association of Alcohol and Drug Service Providers, Peer Assistance Services, Crossroads Turning Points, and Advocates for Recovery, among other organizations. In 2006, the Colorado Medical Society named Romanoff as Defender of the Patient -- the physicians' highest honor.
Improving Public Education
Many of Colorado's decades-old school buildings pose a health or safety risk to students and staff. In 2008, Romanoff sponsored the Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) Act. The result: the single largest investment in school construction in state history, a billion-dollar plan to repair or rebuild crumbling classrooms in Colorado's poorest school districts.
Romanoff has led the fight for high-quality early childhood education, so that more students can start first grade ready to learn. He worked to provide a more stable learning environment for homeless children, so that they can remain in the same school over the course of a year even as their families are shuttled from shelter to shelter. And he has been a champion of higher education, ensuring that the doors of Colorado's community colleges and universities remain open to students from low- and middle-income backgrounds.
Romanoff's work on behalf of children has earned top honors from virtually every major education organization in Colorado, including the Colorado Education Association, the Colorado Association of School Boards, the Colorado Association of School Executives, the Colorado Association for the Education of Young Children, and the American Association of University Professors.
Safeguarding the Environment
In his first address to the House as its Democratic leader, Romanoff urged his colleagues to make Colorado a world leader in "the production and use of clean, efficient and renewable energy." In 2004, he backed a landmark measure to increase the state's renewable portfolio standard and then helped double that goal three years later. He voted to accelerate the construction of transmission lines, advance large-scale solar projects, and bring wind power to schools. And he helped pass a net-metering law that gives households, farmers, ranchers and business owners credit for the energy they produce.
Romanoff fought the Bush Administration's attempts to weaken environmental standards. He passed a law to preserve open space and agricultural land. And he sponsored bills to increase water conservation, improve energy efficiency, promote recycling, and protect the rights of homeowners.
In 2009, Progressive 15 -- "the Voice of Northeastern Colorado" -- inducted Romanoff into its Legislator of the Plains Hall of Fame, making him the first-ever metropolitan lawmaker to win the organization's top award. The Rocky Mountain Farmers Union twice honored Romanoff's legislative leadership.
Protecting Vulnerable Populations
Romanoff has been one of the leading defenders of Colorado's most vulnerable citizens. He authored laws to protect the victims of domestic violence, to break the cycle of child abuse and neglect, and to expand the supply of affordable housing. He also sponsored measures to reduce the risk of criminal recidivism by expediting the delivery of mental-health services, putting a greater priority on rehabilitation, and ensuring that violent offenders serve a majority of their sentences before becoming eligible for release or parole.
Romanoff's work on behalf of at-risk populations has earned recognition from the Colorado Affordable Housing Partnership, the Colorado Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs, the Colorado Association of Nonprofit Organizations, the Colorado Women's Bar Association, the Junior League of Denver, and Community Shares of Colorado.
Promoting Democracy and Human Rights
Romanoff's commitment to democracy and human rights extends around the world. In 2007, he worked with a group of students at the University of Colorado to craft the Sudan Divestment Act. The law, which he steered through the legislature by a margin of 97-1, cut state ties to the regime responsible for the genocide in Darfur.
Later that year, Romanoff brought 46,000 petitions to Beijing on behalf of the Save Darfur Coalition. He met with Chinese officials and urged them to use their clout with the Sudanese government to stop the genocide. Romanoff's efforts have been honored by the Jewish Community Relations Council and by the Mizel Museum, which named him as its 2009 Tikkun Olam Ambassador.
Romanoff has traveled extensively in the United States and abroad to improve democratic governance. The National Conference of State Legislatures and the State Legislative Leaders Foundation have enlisted his help in training lawmakers from more than a dozen other states. The Aspen Institute's Rodel Fellowship in Public Leadership enabled him to meet with government officials and democracy advocates in the Middle East and Asia. And in 2009, the National Democratic Institute sent him to Abuja to work with members of the Nigerian National Assembly.
Closer to home, Romanoff pushed the Colorado legislature into the 21st century by putting live video coverage of the House of Representatives on television and the Internet -- an effort that earned him the Sue O'Brien Award for Public Service from the Colorado Freedom of Information Council. Romanoff's leadership has also won recognition from the Colorado Federation of Public Employees and the Colorado Institute for Leadership Training.
"A STERLING REPUTATION"
"Speaker Romanoff is a man of honor and conviction. He has a sterling reputation from his service in the Statehouse." The Pueblo Chieftain, Dec. 29, 2008
"Romanoff represents the best in government leaders. He's not a partisan ideologue. He's a pragmatic problem solver." Gunnison Times, Dec. 24, 2008
"Romanoff has proven to be a hard worker, a bridge builder and a decent politician in an era when that term often can be an oxymoron." Summit Daily News, Dec. 29, 2008
"Romanoff has shown outstanding ability and fairness in his legislative career, especially during his four years in the speaker's chair." He has a "record of integrity, bipartisanship and simple decency." The Denver Post, Aug. 17, 2008
"Romanoff has [an] extensive record of working on issues that affect the entire state. ... He's known as an incredibly hard worker who has accomplished much as speaker and has won respect from politicians on both sides of the aisle. ... [H]e has repeatedly demonstrated an ability to look beyond his urban district, listen to people from other areas and consider what best serves the entire state." The Daily Sentinel, Grand Junction, Dec. 22, 2008
"His energy and dedication to resolving some of Colorado's major issues ... is unmatched. In fact, Romanoff is one of few leaders in recent memory who has been so willing to place himself at political risk to enact change. ... Romanoff has made his presence known throughout Colorado as a state representative and as an advocate for several ballot issues. He is a solid communicator who works well on both sides of the aisle." Fort Collins Coloradoan, Dec. 17, 2008
"Romanoff [is] an impassioned, bright, articulate and tireless young politician with a promising future." The Gazette, Colorado Springs, Dec. 16, 2008
"Romanoff has worked on many issues affecting northern Colorado during his tenure with the state, including legislation aimed at improving public schools. He has often traveled through our area to meet with constituents and gather information for legislation." Greeley Tribune, Dec. 26, 2008
"Romanoff has been a tour de force in state politics since his election to the House in 2000. He has proved to be an effective leader capable of bringing together divergent political viewpoints for the state's benefit .... He is clearly comfortable navigating the politics of the legislative environment and has shown his capability and effectiveness in consensus-building and problem-solving." The Durango Herald, Dec. 19, 2008
"Colorado truly has been fortunate to have had Andrew Romanoff as a public servant for the past eight years." He "worked around the clock to create the kind of bipartisan policy that will leave a lasting mark on our state. ... Colorado is a better place for his service." The Denver Post, January 11, 2009