Ritter Appoints First Western Slope Cabinet Member

A long time Western Slope politician will join Governor Bill Ritter in Denver to tackle a large part of Ritter's "Colorado Promise."

Russell George of Rifle will head up CDOT for Governor Ritter, this after criticism of Ritter's lack of Western Slope representation in his cabinet.

The nomination was made during Ritter's inauguration tour, with Grand Junction being the final stop on Saturday.

George was formally the Department of Natural Resources executive director under Governor Bill Owens and a one time speaker of the house.

Part of Ritter's "Colorado Promise" is improving transportation throughout Colorado, which not only includes the I–70 and I–25 corridors, but a 21st century system involving rail as well as bus transportation.

Ritter says the challenge is large, but thinks he has the right man for the job.

"Having all that in mind, I needed someone with good political skills and an understanding of state government. Russell George was one of the best people out there so I ultimately persuaded him to do it," Ritter said.

George still has to be approved by the state senate and will be the only member of Ritter's cabinet west of the continental divide.