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Colorado Gov.-elect Jared Polis announces senior staffers for administration

Posted: 1:00 PM, Dec 06, 2018
Updated: 2018-12-06 20:00:18Z

DENVER – Colorado Governor-elect Jared Polis on Thursday announced the hiring of nine senior staffers for his administration who will fill some of the top jobs in the governor’s office once Polis takes office next month.

Among them is Cary Kennedy, who took second to Polis in the Democratic gubernatorial primary in June. The former state treasurer and Denver chief financial officer will be Polis’ senior advisor for fiscal policy, Polis’ team announced.

Aside from Kennedy, the other senior staffers announced Thursday are as follows:

  • Eve Lieberman will serve as Polis’ chief policy advisor and legislative counsel. She is Polis’ chief of staff in his congressional office and will serve as his top advisor on legislative and policy measures.
  • David Oppenheim will serve as Polis’ legislative director. He is a previous chief of staff to two Democratic House Speakers and most recently served as the state director of the State Innovation Exchange.
  • Wade Buchanan will serve as Polis’ policy director, a role he filled for former Gov. Roy Romer. Buchanan was Gov. John Hickenlooper’s senior advisor on aging and led the Bell Policy Center for 15 years.
  • Maria De Cambra will serve as Polis’ director of communications and community engagement. She is the Westminster City Council’s former mayor pro-tem and most recently was a senior associate at Hilltop Public Solutions.
  • Kate Siegel Shimko will serve as Polis’ director of boards and commissions. She has been Polis’ congressional national finance director for the past seven years.
  • Danielle Oliveto will serve as Polis’ deputy chief of staff. She previously worked on Polis’ congressional campaigns and offices.
  • Jacki Cooper Melmed will serve as Polis’ chief legal counsel – a role she has been in with Gov. Hickenlooper’s office since 2015.
  • Lauren Larson will serve as Polis’ director of the Office of State Planning and Budgeting – a role she will continue from Hickenlooper’s administration, where she served in the same capacity since June. She previously was the chief of the Treasury Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget under Presidents Obama and Bush.

Polis’ transition team said it is continuing to fill cabinet positions and that it has received more than 700 applications to work on his staff through the transition website. More announcements are expected before the Jan. 8 inauguration.

“We are very excited about our incoming senior staff and the work they will do in Gov.-Election Polis’ administration to implement the bold goals we set during the campaign,” said Lisa Kaufmann, the chief of staff for the transition team. “Each member of our team brings their own unique experience to the table and I know we will accomplish great things for Coloradans together.”