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How did we miss it? Former Colorado Lt. Gov. Jane Norton now aboard Trump train at HHS

Author: Dan Njegomir - June 20, 2017 - Updated: June 20, 2017

Republican Former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton greets well-wishers after announcing her run for U.S. Senate in Colorado Springs in 2009. (Carol Lawrence / The Gazette)

We are supposed to be on top of these things. Alas. Here we are, just now reporting that Colorado’s third woman lieutenant governor — she was the first Republican woman to have held that office — went to Washington last month to become director of intergovernmental and external affairs for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Yup, another Coloradan joins the Trump administration.

Jane Norton served as lieutenant governor during Republican former Gov. Bill Owens’s second term, from January 2003 to January 2007. She served Owens in his first term as his director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. She went on to run for the U.S. Senate in 2010 in a high-profile Republican primary, narrowly losing that race to Ken Buck, who in turn lost the general election to current Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet. Norton is married to a former U.S. attorney, Mike Norton.

So, we were asleep at the switch. In our defense, we could find no mention of Jane Norton’s appointment via any other Colorado media, either; it was reported in brief by Beltway-insider Politico.

The pro-life, socially conservative Norton’s selection has not gone unnoticed by her philosophical foes, though. Rewire, a pro-abortion rights website that covers and comments on reproductive rights and related issues, had this to say about Norton in a post last month with the headline, “Trump’s HHS Won’t Stop Adding Anti-Choice Extremists“:

Norton’s record appears to be the most extreme on abortion rights …

During her failed bid for the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate in 2010, Norton became the first candidate to ever receive the endorsement of anti-choice legislation mill Americans United for Life …

Norton began waging a war on Planned Parenthood in the late 1990s. Under her leadership, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment moved to ban organizations providing abortion care from receiving state funding.

Meanwhile, yet another Colorado Republican has joined Team Trump in D.C. — also at HHS — and she’s a close comrade of Norton’s. As reported by Politico, Lynn Johnson, the chief exec of the Jefferson County Department of Human Services, has been tapped to become assistant secretary for family support at HHS.

Johnson had served as chief of staff to Norton when Norton was lieutenant governor.

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir is the opinion editor for Colorado Politics. A longtime journalist and more-than-25-year veteran of the Colorado political scene, Njegomir has been an award-winning newspaper reporter, an editorial page editor, a senior legislative staffer at the State Capitol and a political consultant.



    June 20, 2017 at 9:19 am

    “Pro-abortion rights” ?!! There’s lots of “pro-choice,” “anti-abortion” and “pro-life” groups. No one identifies as “pro-abortion.” If Colorado Politics wants to reach for the middle of the road, mainstream audience, you’ll need to clean up your language choices. Save the editorials for the editorial page.

    • Ric Durity

      June 20, 2017 at 10:03 am

      Agree Joel. Colorado Politics not only was way behind in reporting this story, they are showing their bias. More balanced reporting will make Colorado Politics a more valuable source.

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