Buescher named secretary of state | SteamboatToday.com

Buescher named secretary of state

Ritter picks Grand Junction legislator over Gordon, Romanoff

Mike Lawrence

— Grand Junction legislator Bernie Buescher is Colorado’s next secretary of state.

Gov. Bill Ritter made the announcement this morning from his office in Denver, appointing Buescher over two other finalists, outgoing state Senate Majority Leader Ken Gordon and outgoing state Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff.

Current Secretary of State Mike Coffman was elected to Congress in November and is stepping down with two years remaining on his term.

Buescher served two terms in the state House of Representatives after voters first elected him in 2005, including stints as chairman of the Joint Budget Committee and the House Appropriations Committee. He lost a hotly contested re-election bid in November.

“He is a proven leader, and he brings a diverse group of experiences and life experiences to this job,” Ritter said of Buescher. “He’s not only bi-partisan in this job, he understands the need of the secretary of state to be non-partisan.”

Ritter also praised Buescher’s regional perspective.

“As a resident of Grand Junction, he brings a statewide perspective to a statewide office,” Ritter said.

Buescher noted the challenges he will face as secretary of state in Colorado, which has seen problems with the certification of electronic voting machines and election management across the state.

“This is a great opportunity. There is a lot of work to be done both on the election side and the business side, the registration side,” he said. “The first thing we have to do in office is determine how we’re going to go forward with the certification of equipment.”

Buescher implied that he will empower Colorado’s local election leaders.

“We have to forge a real partnership between the Secretary of State’s office and the county clerks.”

He also said he and his staff will need to better manage election finances, to “come up with a way that we do not have a crisis in that office continually.”

Buescher’s appointment is pending confirmation by the state Senate after the Legislature convenes next month. Coffman’s resignation is effective Dec. 31. Deputy Secretary of State Bill Hobbs will serve as acting secretary in the interim.

Buescher said he plans to quickly get to work.

“I anticipate that we will have to have a consensus about legislation for this session,” he said.

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