Governor Bill Ritter completed his cabinet appointments with the selection of Rifle native Russell George to head the Colorado Department of Transportation. George is a well respected former state legislator, speaker of the house, and Director of the Department of Natural Resources under Governor Bill Owens.
During his tenure as legislator, George sponsored the Rural Transportation Authority Act, which enabled local communities to create transportation districts to fund transit and road improvements. Communities in the Roaring Fork Valley had asked George to sponsor the legislation and were the first to use it to fund transit operations in the region.
The selection releaves some of the angst felt by Western Slope residents over Ritter’s the lack of Western Slope representatives to his cabinet. In selcting a Republican, Ritter also shows his willingness to work across political lines for the benefit of Colorado.