On Monday, Mental Health America of Colorado publicly welcomed former Colorado Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff as its new CEO. If the leap from former congressional candidate to mental health leader seems a bit abrupt, you’re right. But, that’s not the only jarring job change Romanoff has hopped to during his career. Let’s look at the timeline.
According to Romanoff himself, the last clear-cut (read: real) job he’s ever had was back in the 1980s, when his task was to research the Ku Klux Klan while working for the Southern Poverty Law Center. After that, his career is more confusing.
For instance, there’s his time at the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, where “he sent African-American and white ‘spies’ with matching credentials to try to get jobs at top firms,” according to The Denver Post and taught English to kids in developing countries, which is usually reserved for that gender studies major who can’t land that first job out of college. Here’s a bit more of his timeline from the Broomfield Enterprise:
1993-1997: Senior Associate at the consulting firm Greenberg Baron Simon & Miller
1997-1999: Senior Policy Advisor to then-Governor Roy Romer
1999-2005: At this point, Romanoff held a variety of what could be described as
patronage jobs “odd jobs” teaching at the University of Colorado Denver, the Community College of Denver, Metropolitan State College of Denver, and Red Rocks Community College. The subjects? No clue. Simultaneously, he juggled his time as a state legislator, until he finally became a “full-time” politician as the speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives.
After a failed senatorial bid in 2010, he hopped over to a completely different industry, joining a Lakewood nonprofit called International Development Enterprises (IDE), helping farmers get access to better trade technology. Romanoff described IDE’s signature irrigation pump using the highly-technical analogy to a StairMaster. Sounds like an expert for sure.
Now that he has tried and failed again to return to politics, Romanoff’s announcement that he’s taking the helm of another, entirely unrelated organization is a new puzzle. While he cites the death of a close family member as prompting him to accept the role (our sincere sympathies), that only seems to qualify him as a passionate supporter of mental health programming, not as a leading influencer in the field or a subject matter expert. Based on his resume, we have to wonder what he can bring to the table from experience, and more importantly, where he’ll bounce to next. Or, perhaps this gig is simply a placeholder for his next political opportunity.