Andrew Romanoff

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Andrew Romanoff
33rd Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives
In office
Preceded by Lola Spradley
Succeeded by Terrance Carroll
Member of the Colorado House of Representatives
from the 6th district
In office
Preceded by Ken Gordon
Succeeded by Lois Court
Personal details
Born (1966-08-24) August 24, 1966 (age 47)
Washington, D.C.
Political party Democratic
Alma mater University of Denver (J.D.)
Harvard University (M.P.P.)
Yale University (B.A.)[1]
Profession Politician, Professor
Religion Jewish[2]

Harlan Andrew Romanoff (born August 24, 1966) is an American politician. A Democrat, he was a member of the Colorado House of Representatives from 2000 to 2008, serving as Speaker from 2005 to 2008. He was a candidate for the United States Senate in the 2010 election, when he was defeated by incumbent Democrat Michael Bennet in the party's primary.

Early life, education and career[edit]

Romanoff was raised in Columbus, Ohio and graduated from Columbus Academy. He has a Democratic mother and a Republican father, a twin sister, and a border collie named Zorro. Romanoff's full name is Harlan Andrew Romanoff but he prefers to be known by his middle name. His mother "Cap" (née Gayle) was a social worker and his father Marvin was a judge. Andrew’s grandparents worked for Project Hope, bringing medical supplies and treatment to Africa and Latin America. Romanoff took an early interest in civil rights. As a student, he learned about the Southern Poverty Law Center’s efforts to combat Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazi groups. The Center’s Klanwatch Project and a state civil rights agency became two of his first employers.

After earning a bachelor’s degree at Yale University, Romanoff taught English in rural high schools in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. After coming home, he earned a Master's degree in public policy from John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a law degree at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.

Romanoff worked in the private sector, as a senior associate at the Colorado consulting firm of Greenberg Baron Simon & Miller, before accepting a job with Gov. Roy Romer. He worked in the Office of Policy and Initiatives, analyzing state and national proposals for education reform.

Romanoff has taught at the University of Colorado, the Community College of Aurora, Metropolitan State College of Denver, and Red Rocks Community College. He has served on the boards of the Center for Women’s Employment and Education, the Colorado Children’s Campaign, Colorado Common Cause, and the Colorado Health Foundation; headed two neighborhood groups; and mentored at-risk students through Denver Kids.

Colorado House of Representatives[edit]

Romanoff was a member of the Colorado House of Representatives from 2000 to 2008 and was re-elected three times. He was the first Democrat to hold the Speaker's post since 1975. He was the second youngest speaker of the House in Colorado history. Before becoming Speaker he was the House Minority Leader. He represented House District 6. He teaches at the Community College of Aurora. Romanoff was considered by many to be a possible Democratic candidate for Governor of Colorado in 2006, but announced in late 2005 that he would not seek the Democratic nomination for governor. Romanoff left the Colorado House after 2008 because of term limits.

He is widely credited as the author of Referendum C, a major fiscal initiative approved by Colorado voters in 2005.

2010 U.S. Senate election[edit]

In early 2009, Senator Ken Salazar was nominated and confirmed for U.S. Secretary of Interior. Andrew Romanoff was on a short list of possible candidates for appointment to Salazar's seat.[3] To fill that seat, Governor Bill Ritter chose Denver schools' superintendent Michael Bennet. The Colorado Independent reported on August 29, 2009 that Romanoff will challenge Bennet in a 2010 Primary for the Senate seat.

Romanoff has made campaign finance and ethics a key issue of his campaign, declining to take Political Action Committee money.[4]

A preference poll taken March 16 at precinct caucuses showed Romanoff with 51 percent support, Bennet with 42 percent, and the remaining uncommitted.[5] Delegates at each stage of the Democratic caucus-assembly process aren’t pledged to a candidate but are selected based on candidate preference.

Romanoff won the Democratic State Assembly against Michael Bennet, with 60.4% of the vote to Bennet's 39.6%. The State Assembly determines ballot placement for the August Primary.[6] As Romanoff had a higher percentage of votes, his name appeared first on the Democratic ballot.

On September 16, 2009, Romanoff officially announced his campaign to challenge Bennet for the Democratic Senate nomination of 2010.[7] He was endorsed by Bill Clinton on June 29, 2010. President Barack Obama endorsed Bennet shortly after Romanoff announced his candidacy to unseat Bennet.

On August 10, 2010, Romanoff was defeated by Bennet in the Colorado Democratic Primary.

Policy positions[edit]

Government ethics and reform[edit]

Romanoff has made government ethics and reform a central part of his Senatorial campaign. Romanoff does not take Political Action Committee (PAC) money, instead relying on individual campaign contributions. Romanoff has said in numerous speeches that he believes there is an inherent conflict in elected officials taking contributions from industries they are supposed to regulate.[8] Although several elected officials such as Russ Feingold have limited their contributions in various ways, the only other federal candidates of note to eschew all PAC contributions are President Barack Obama (who has since changed his position), former Louisiana Governor (1988–92) Buddy Roemer, and former New Mexico Governor (1995–2003) Gary Johnson.


Romanoff is credited as a main author and advocate for Referendum C, a major financial overhaul to the state of Colorado. It partially disabled the safety mechanism intended by the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, that tried to prevent the over spending that nearly bankrupted the state after an economic downturn.


Romanoff sponsored the Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) Act, working in conjunction with State Treasurer Cary Kennedy. BEST was the largest investment in school construction in Colorado history, with an emphasis on rural school repair.

Energy and the environment[edit]

In 2004 Romanoff supported an initiative to have at least 10% of energy consumed in Colorado come from renewable sources. Romanoff supports the creation of more green collar jobs in an effort to stimulate job growth while reducing fossil fuel usage. Romanoff has also supported efforts for tax breaks for those who weatherize their homes or otherwise reduce their energy usage.

Job offer from the Obama Administration[edit]

On September 27, 2009, Michael Riley of the Denver Post reported that Romanoff was offered a position in the Obama Administration in exchange for not running for U.S. Senate against Michael Bennet.[9] According to Riley, Jim Messina, deputy Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama, made a phone call to Romanoff offering him various positions in the Obama Administration, which included a position at the United States Agency for International Development. Romanoff turned down the offer.[10]

Romanoff issued a statement on June 2, 2010, in which he confirmed that he was contacted by Messina on September 11, 2009 and was told that President Obama was going to support Bennet in the Democratic Party primary. Romanoff told Messina that he would be running anyway and Romanoff states, as reported by the Washington Post that Messina "suggested three positions that might be available to me were I not pursuing the Senate race. He added that he could not guarantee my appointment to any of these positions." White House deputy press secretary Bill Burton told the Post that "Mr. Romanoff was recommended to the White House from Democrats in Colorado for a position in the administration. There were some initial conversations with him, but no job was ever offered." Messina sent Romanoff job descriptions for three positions: an administrator for the Latin America and Caribbean Bureau within USAID, the chief of the Office of Democracy and Governance within USAID, and the director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.[11]

After repeated questions, Michael Bennet admitted to interacting with the White House regarding offering Romanoff a job to get him out of the race.[12]

International development work[edit]

After losing the 2010 Colorado Democratic Party primary election for a U.S. Senate Seat, Romanoff accepted a position in September, 2010 as a Senior Advisor with International Development Enterprises (IDE). IDE is a Colorado-based non-profit organization that works in developing countries to create income opportunities and provide low cost water access for rural households.[13][14]

2014 US House election[edit]

Romanoff has stated that he would run against Mike Coffman for the 6th district seat.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bartels, Lynn (2009-09-17). "Romanoff launches Senate bid: "Colorado is my cause"". The Denver Post. Archived from the original on 14 September 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-29. 
  2. ^ "Election". 2010-08-25. Retrieved 2010-08-29. 
  3. ^ Osher, Christopher N.; Crummy, Karen E. (December 15, 2008). "Sources: Salazar accepts Interior spot". Denver Post. Archived from the original on 17 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-16. 
  4. ^ Ingold, John; Fender, Jessica (March 16, 2010). "Sources: Romanoff prevails in Dem caucuses". The Denver Post. Retrieved 2010-07-07. 
  5. ^ Osher, Christopher N.; Crummy, Karen E. (December 15, 2008). "Sources: Romanoff prevails at Dem Caucuses". Denver Post. Retrieved 2010-07-07. 
  6. ^ "Sources: Romanoff, Buck win Colorado Assembly Races". Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-07-07. 
  7. ^ Bartels, Lynn (September 17, 2009). "Sources: Romanoff launches Senate bid: "Colorado is my cause"". Denver Post. Retrieved 2009-09-18. 
  8. ^ "Sources:". Romanoff for Colorado. Archived from the original on 19 June 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-24. 
  9. ^ Riley, Michael. D.C. job alleged as attempt to deter Romanoff, Denver Post, September 27, 2009.
  10. ^ Littwin, Mike. Littwin: Romanoff won't answer why he won't answer, Denver Post, May 30, 2010.
  11. ^ Elliott, Philip. Senate candidate says White House discussed 3 jobs, Washington Post, June 3, 2010.
  12. ^ Colorado Senator Bennet confirms knowledge of White House contact with Romanoff, Eli Stokols, KWGN, June 11, 2010.
  13. ^ Michael Booth, Romanoff to fight world poverty as senior adviser to Lakewood nonprofit, October 6, 2010, The Denver Post
  14. ^ Team listing, IDE website, retrieved November 30, 2009

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Lola Spradley
Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives
Succeeded by
Terrance Carroll
Colorado House of Representatives
Preceded by
Ken Gordon
Member of the Colorado House of Representatives, 6th district
Succeeded by
Lois Court