Garcia joins Hickenlooper on Dem ticket for governor

The Democratic gubernatorial ticket is complete.

John Hickenlooper announced Thursday that Colorado State University-Pueblo President Joseph A. Garcia is his choice for lieutenant governor, creating what his campaign described as “a powerhouse gubernatorial ticket to solve the issues facing Colorado with experience, leadership and collaboration.”

“Joe doesn’t just love Colorado — he lives Colorado,” Hickenlooper said when he introduced his running mate at a press conference outside his Denver campaign headquarters.

John Hickenlooper announces Thursday that Colorado State University-Pueblo President Joseph A. Garcia is his choice for lieutenant governor.
Photo by Jamie Cotten/The Colorado Statesman
If elected, Joe Garcia would be the first Latino Lieutenant Governor in Colorado’s history.
Photo by Jamie Cotten/The Colorado Statesman

Garcia’s inclusion on the ticket was met with immediate and almost universal excitement — that is, with the exception of the state Republican chairman. “Joe Garcia should immediately resign as president of CSU-Pueblo,” the partisan declared in a statement. “As a state employee, Colorado taxpayers expect Mr. Garcia to be a full time university president, not to run around the state campaigning for office. Otherwise taxpayers are subsidizing the Hickenlooper-Garcia campaign.”

Garcia told a reporter that he plans to meet with his college board next week to discuss particulars. 

“Joseph Garcia is a community leader with a diverse background in both the public and private sector and as a leader in higher education in this state...We are confident that the Hickenlooper-Garcia team will be the leadership Colorado needs,” lauded Colorado Democratic Party Chair Pat Waak.

If elected, Garcia would be the first Latino Lieutenant Governor in Colorado’s history.

Garcia is known for his unique leadership abilities and his skill at forging partnerships with the public and private sectors, according to the Hickenlooper campaign. 

Garcia has worked to improve the CSU-Pueblo’s financial issues, attract students from across the western region and update campus facilities. Recently he appeared at the state Capitol with other university officials to announce a revolutionary program to ensure that students from lower income families in the state could afford their college education.

“Joe has had success solving problems by bringing the public and private sectors together in a meaningful way and by his tireless work ethic,” said Hickenlooper.

Garcia, who has been president of Pikes Peak Community College, Rocky Mountain States representative for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and executive director of the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, has revitalized the CSU-Pueblo campus and increased enrollment since taking over in 2006.

Born to a military family from New Mexico, Garcia moved often with stints in Alaska and Virginia. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a juris doctorate from Harvard Law School. His love for Colorado brought him back in 1975 where he has raised his family ever since.