Colorado’s new lieutenant governor takes office

Friday, May 13, 2016 5:18 PM
State Sen. Lucia Guzman, left, D-Denver, talks with Donna Lynne before a ceremony to swear in Lynne as Colorado’s new lieutenant governor on Thursday in the state Capitol in Denver. Lynne, a former health care executive who has worked for several New York City mayors, replaces Joe Garcia, who left office in April to run a higher education group.

DENVER – The new Colorado lieutenant governor who took office Thursday said that efficiency will be her top job.

Democrat Donna Lynne replaces former Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia, who left office last month to run a higher-education group. Lynne is a former health care executive who also worked for several New York City mayors. Tapped by Gov. John Hickenlooper and confirmed by the Legislature, Lynne said she plans to try to make state government more efficient.

“My job is going to be to make sure that the agencies are delivering on the promises and the services that they ought to be delivering on,” Lynne said.

For example, Lynne has talked to lawmakers about writing a state budget every other year, rather than every year. Lynne said that is more similar to how a private corporation projects spending.

The proposal has been made before, but not adopted by lawmakers, who would have to make the change in law.

“It’s a good business practice,” Lynne said. “It gives you a sense of the direction of the spending, the dynamics.” But the proposal from Lynne and Hickenlooper met with tepid support in the Legislature.

Many lawmakers said the idea should be considered, but they were quick to add that budget-writers already project taxes and spending years in advance, calling a reduction in formal budgets more of a public-relations gimmick.

Some lawmakers on the budget-writing committee were more blunt.

“They have no idea what they’re talking about,” said Sen. Kent Lambert, R-Colorado Springs.

“Look at Texas. They have a biannual budget, and spend the intervening year trying to fix it. So what they need to have is multiyear planning.”

Lynne has said she has no plans to run for the governor’s office herself after Hickenlooper leaves office in 2019.