Hick's First Cabinet Battle: Ellen Golombek

January 4 2011, 10:30 AM

Governor-elect John Hickenlooper, who will be sworn in on January 11, has added another few names to his growing list of cabinet nominations, including Ellen Golombek, a longtime union leader, to head the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. She would replace Don Mares but will first have to be confirmed by the state Senate. And unlike most of Hick's other nominees, Golombek could prompt a fight as his first cabinet choice so far to be labeled anti-business by state Republicans, points out the Denver Business Journal.

Golombek, who has worked for 14 years with the Service Employees International Union and Colorado's AFL-CIO, currently serves as state director of America Votes, a group that works to create a "permanent progressive campaign infrastructure." She's facing criticism from Senate Minority Leader Mike Kopp, a Littleton Republican, who claims Golombek will certainly "raise plenty of eyebrows in Colorado's business community."

Far less contention has surrounded the proposed cabinet addition of Club 20 chief Reeves Brown, a Republican, who would handle local outreach as Hick's executive director of the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, reports State Bill News. As pollster Floyd Ciruli notes, Hickenlooper seems more or less to be avoiding many of the same missteps made by his predecessor, Bill Ritter, in selecting a cabinet that is politically diverse and geographically representative of the state.