Alan Salazar,Gov. John Hickenlooper’s right-hand man, is taking a temporary leave of absence to join the presidential campaign for former Secretary of State and presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
Salazar, a fifth-generation Coloradan, is currently the governor’s chief strategy officer, running the offices of policy and research, legislative affairs and communications. His leave of absence began Wednesday.
He’s no stranger to Clinton presidential campaigns. Salazar served as the state director for Bill Clinton’s first campaign in 1992 and again in 1996 for Clinton’s re-election bid.
In Colorado, Bill Clinton beat incumbent President George HW Bush by 5 percentage points in 1992, but lost Colorado by less than two points to Republican Bob Dole in 1996.
Salazar said he will be working on a yet-to-be-named program, jointly under the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, that concentrates on battleground states. Salazar would serve as a senior advisor, primarily focused on Colorado. But there may also be opportunities to work on policy and Latino outreach that could be helpful to other battleground states, he said.
“The value I might bring is awareness on water, energy, and public lands” as it pertains to Western states, he explained.
Salazar pointed out he has 30 years of relationships with the Latino community in politics, going back to his days working for former U.S. Sens. Gary Hart and Tim Wirth and former Gov. Roy Romer. “The opportunity for me is to make new relationships with young people. That keeps my saw sharp,” he said with a smile.
Salazar is headed to Brooklyn in the next week for training and program orientation. He expects to be based out of Denver, but an exact location hasn’t yet been determined. Salazar says he will be available, as an unpaid advisor, should Hickenlooper need his assistance on a special session.
In the meantime, Salazar’s responsibilities will be handled by members of the governor’s senior leadership team.
Photo credit: Marianne Goodland