Pete Maysmith moves on from Conservation Colorado to head up national elections effort

Author: Joey Bunch - September 21, 2017 - Updated: March 9, 2018


The man who made Conservation Colorado the engine of the state’s environmental movement is pulling out of the station. Pete Maysmith is becoming the senior vice president of campaigns for the national League of Conservation Voters.

Since taking over as executive director of the then-little-known Colorado Conservation Voters in 2009, Maysmith has led the organization to become the largest and most effective environmental organization in the state with 36,000 members.

Colorado Conservation Voters merged with the Colorado Environmental Coalition four years ago to become Conservation Colorado, an organization that enjoys a seat at the table with policymakers working on clean energy, public lands and the first statewide water management plan, among its initiatives.

Conservation Colorado spent $1.3 million on elections last year, winning 90 percent of the races in which it endorsed candidates.

“Pete has been a passionate defender of the landscapes and natural environment for which Colorado is famous, as well as an amazing organizer of the public to make sure these lands are protected,” Gov. John Hickenlooper said in a statment. “It’s hard to imagine all that he will do at the national level. The quality of our air and water is in good hands.”

Said U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet of Denver: “Under Pete’s leadership, Colorado has seen many notable conservation victories. We can always use more Colorado commonsense leading the way, and Pete’s knowhow combined with the League of Conservation Voters’ political muscle will help bring the issue of climate change to the forefront.”

Carrie Curtiss, Conservation Colorado’s deputy director, will serve as acting executive director through the end of the year, at which time she’ll leave after 11 years with the organization. Conservation Colorado will perform a national search for an executive director.

“We are so proud of Pete and the wisdom, tenacity and endless energy he has brought to Conservation Colorado,” Diane Carman, chairwoman of the organization’s board, said in a statement. “The fact that our national partner has recruited him speaks volumes about the power and success of this organization. Conservation Colorado is strong, healthy, and will work harder than ever to pass visionary environmental policies and elect pro-conservation candidates in 2018. We wish Pete the best and look forward to working with him in his new role.”

Maysmith has been on the League of Conservation Voters board since 2015, doing electoral work with its Political and Campaign Committee. He’ll step down from that role to work for the league full-time.

“In the new reality that is the Trump administration, now more than ever we need to build our organizing and political power to ensure that our elected officials represent our values,” Maysmith stated. “I’m thrilled to take on the challenge of building the conservation movement nationally and in other states, and together we will fight the forces that seek to pollute our air and water and undermine our right to a healthy environment. I am certain that the organization is in good hands, and I will be cheering them over the coming months and years.”

Maysmith will be based in Colorado.

He will oversee the League of Conservation Voters’ federal and state independent electoral programs, as well as grassroots organizing and advocacy around issues.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Pete onboard as staff after serving a key role on our board and as a state leader,” Gene Karpinski, the president of the League of Conservation voters said. “Pete brings a record of success that will help us channel the energy the public is feeling right now to stand up to the most anti-environmental president in history and elect real environmental champions up and down the ballot in 2017, 2018 and beyond.”

In a statement released by the league, Maysmith said, “The need to have leaders in Washington and the states who will fight for our clean water, clean air, clean energy and public lands is clearer than ever before, and LCV’s two million members and state partners in 28 states stand ready to take back pro-environment majorities.”

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch is the senior political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has a 31-year career in journalism, including the last 15 in Colorado. He was part of the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and is a two-time Pulitzer finalist. His resume includes covering high school sports, the environment, the casino industry and civil rights in the South, as well as a short stint at CNN.