Behind every millionaire who aims to leave his mark on politics is a skilled political operative with the seasoning and savvy needed to make things happen. Hence, dialysis giant DaVita’s CEO, Kent Thiry, who is newly minted chairman of the nonpartisan redistricting reform coalition Fair Districts Colorado, can lean on Alan Philp.
The veteran Republican utility player — who among his many callings has been regional political director for the Republican National Committee and for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign; deputy chief of staff to former Colorado Gov. Bill Owens, and policy director to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush — has been around the block a time or two.
Philp, a longtime consultant, was in on the ground floor of Fair Districts when it started in 2015 and, in an emailed update to prospective supporters and donors last week, said, “We are moving into a new phase of this project.” The letter elaborates:
Our measures are working through the Title Board, and in January or February we expect to start the expensive process of collecting signatures. Davita CEO Kent Thiry recently came on board as Chairman of the effort.
The reform proposal Fair Districts aims to petition onto the statewide ballot …
… will make Colorado a model for reform nationally: a balanced commission that includes independents, a supermajority requirement to pass maps, transparency, nonpartisan staff drawn maps, neutral criteria for map-drawing (including drawing competitive districts, where possible). If you want to see the text of the measures (I would read #67 and #69), see our press releases, learn more, or link to articles about the effort, please go to www.fairdistrictscolorado.org.
There’s also the ask, of course:
Please contribute and/or help identify potential contributors. We can accept unlimited amounts from individuals, corporations, etc. This will be a multi-million dollar effort. To date, we’ve been able to operate on a very modest budget, since most of our team members are unpaid. But now legal costs will mount, as we work through Title Board and court challenges. Our team needs to raise $200,000 in the next 45 days.
(Contributions can be made online via the aforementioned website or by a check in the mail to: Fair Districts Colorado, P.O. Box 19730, Denver, CO 80219.)
And while Philp hails from the Republican side of the fence, Fair Districts points to its bipartisan headliners: not just the Republican Owens but Democratic former Colorado Gov. Dick Lamm, as well. There’s also Republican former Colorado Speaker of the House Frank McNulty of Highlands Ranch as well as former Democratic Speaker Pro Tem Kathleen Curry of Gunnison.
Herding cats? Whatever the challenges in building and maintaining the coalition, Philp is no doubt familiar with the terrain.