A former speaker gets in his political licks while minding mental health


Former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff campaigning for U.S. Senate in Colorado Springs in 2010. He now advocates for mental health. (Carol Lawrence / The Gazette)

No one has to ask, “Remember Andrew Romanoff?” The forever-youthful Democratic boy wonder and former Colorado House speaker never went away. He has mounted two high-profile, if ultimately unsuccessful, runs for elective office since leaving the legislature in 2008. And more to the point, all of us media types keep writing about him — win, lose or do something else.

As we’ve noted before, Romanoff has been doing something else for some time, now, as president and CEO of Mental Health Colorado. Moved on from politics? Well, he still weighs in on the passing political scene; it’s just that the end game is now about his latest calling.

Like this e-missive that went out to his organization’s mailing list this week:

Quick show of hands: Who’s running for governor? A lot of folks, it turns out.

Now the harder question: Where do they stand? More specifically, we want to know how these candidates plan to address mental health care.

More than one million Coloradans experience a mental health or substance use disorder each year, but the subject itself doesn’t figure prominently on the campaign trail. We aim to change that — and we need your help.

What questions on mental health policy would you like our state’s (would-be) leaders to answer? Please share your suggestions on our public forum.

We’ll compile your questions and submit them to the candidates next month. Then we’ll share their responses with the media and with each of you.

This topic touches every family in Colorado. Let’s make sure our next governor understands that too.

But does that mean Romanoff won’t seek another political office? Never say never.

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