…And the answer is: The governor and the first lady themselves. Out of their own pockets. No taxpayer money; no worries on ethics considerations about accepting travel fare from third parties.
Backstory? It was only a few blog posts ago, but you’re busy, so we’ll recap it for you in brief: Gov. John Hickenlooper and Robin Pringle Hickenlooper will travel to Cuba Thursday (i.e., tomorrow) through Sunday. As we noted earlier today, it was unclear who would pick up the tab — a decision that could have political and legal implications. Credit goes to conservative blog Colorado Peak Politics for having raised the question in the first place.
This afternoon, Hick’s interim communications director, Holly Shrewsbury, resolved the issue to our satisfaction, as noted by the answer to our question above. A big thanks to Shrewsbury for her prompt response. (If only we could get the Hickenloopers to foot the bill for us to tag along. Ah, Havana in February…current temperature: 78 degrees.)
Here’s Shrewsbury’s full message to us via email; it includes more detail on the trip itself:
The Biennial of the Americas is planning a trip to Havana, Cuba from February 2 to February 5, 2017 that is designed is to promote greater mutual intercultural understanding and to provide participants with the opportunity to learn about Cuba’s present-day reality first hand.
During two and a half days of programming, participants will be meeting with experts in Cuban trade, politics and culture, as well as academics, architects, artists and musicians. They will explore historic and cultural venues in Havana, as well as visit artist studios and the U.S. Embassy.
The trip will lay the groundwork for greater economic and cultural exchange between Cuba and Colorado, and we expect there will be later trade missions and travel between Cuba and Colorado.
The Biennial of the Americas extended the invitation to the Governor’s Office. Gov. Hickenlooper and the First Lady will also attend on behalf of the Governor’s Office, and they are personally paying for the entirety of their trip. The Governor’s Chief of Staff, Doug Friednash, will also attend on behalf of the Governor’s Office. The cost of his trip is covered by the Biennial of the Americas. No taxpayer funds will be used for this trip.