Grilling Ellen Golombek, the Governor's Most Controversial Nominee

January 25 2011, 10:00 AM

The fight to confirm longtime labor leader Ellen Golombek to run the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment continued Monday, after an interrogation by state senators on the Business, Labor, and Technology Committee. Republican Senators Shawn Mitchell, of Broomfield, and Ted Harvey, of Highlands Ranch, opposed the nomination, but Golombek managed to clear the committee nonetheless. Mitchell questioned how Golombeck, the state director of the liberal America Votes organization and the AFL-CIO's state leader, would approach the economy and job creation. "Organized labor works well in industries in which it's prevalent," she replied. "It provides a clear pathway for business and labor to work together to try and resolve issues they face."

After the hearing, the GOP issued a news release accusing Golombek of making "no attempt to substantiate her qualifications" (via the Denver Daily News). The nomination now moves to the full state Senate, "virtually assuring Golombek's appointment, given that Democrats control the upper house," notes WhoSaidYouSaid, which provides video of the Monday hearing. Unions are a thorny issue in Colorado. As the Denver Post points out, for years Republicans have battled Democrats over labor, and the tone can often be edgy, as it has been in Golombek's case.