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Polis’ longtime chief of staff Lisa Kaufmann stepping down

The longest-serving member of Gov. Jared Polis’ staff is stepping down.
Lisa Kaufmann is stepping down Jan. 1 as chief of staff for Gov. Jared Polis' office.

Lisa Kaufmann, Gov. Jared Polis’ chief of staff, is stepping down from her role, the governor’s office announced Monday.

Kaufmann has served Polis for more than fifteen years after she was first hired in 2007 in his bid for Congress. She served as chief of staff in Polis’ congressional office and chair of his successful gubernatorial campaign in 2018, before serving as his chief of staff for his first term in office. 

Kaufmann has been “instrumental in shaping” Polis’ political career, his office said in a news release.

“I couldn’t be more grateful to Lisa for her leadership over the past four years,” Polis said in the release. “She has been an excellent Chief of Staff and trusted advisor during an unprecedented time for our state. Together, we delivered real results for Coloradans, and I am honored to have worked shoulder to shoulder with her on behalf of our beloved state.”

Kaufmann is set to officially step down Jan. 1, and transition into her new role as a strategic advisor for the Polis administration’s public-private partnerships in Colorado’s Department of Personnel and Administration, according to the news release.

“Lisa’s strategic thinking has been essential to helping guide my administration, and I am excited that she has agreed to continue with the administration focused on showcasing my second-term priority of expanding transit and more transit-oriented housing,” Polis said in the release.

Kaufmann is the longest-serving member of the governor’s staff, and the third woman to serve as chief of staff for a Colorado governor.

“Filling her shoes will not be easy,” Polis’ statement read. “Lisa Kaufmann is a uniquely skilled, strategic, and effective leader.”

Polis has chosen Alec Garnett, the current speaker of the House, for the new chief of staff position.

Kaufmann said serving the governor will “forever be [her] greatest honor and privilege.”

“We have been through many highs and lows over the last 15 years, but the thing that always remains constant is Jared’s even-keeled, clear-eyed approach to getting results for the people of Colorado and his sense of humor - that’s what kept me doing this tough job for so long,” Kaufmann said in the news release. 

“As we close the chapter on the first term, I am proud of what we have accomplished for my children and all people of Colorado and I am excited to pass the torch to my very capable friend Alec Garnett who is going to do an excellent job leading the second term.”