March 12, 2009

Will Shafroth goes to Washington.


Will Shafroth is a good man. I don’t think anyone has ever not liked, or appreciated him.

That said, he’s no pushover—he ran a tough, active, dot every i cross every t campaign for Congress last year, and did better than anyone in the establishment would have guessed. I interviewed him, along with his rivals and friends now-Congressman Jared Polis and Rep. Joan Fitz-Gerald at one of our talk shows at the Boulder Theater. We also interviewed him as part of our weekly talk show, and got to know his amazing family and community along the way—Will’s positive, can-do campaign managed to make my public support of longtime-friend Jared Polis a difficult, close, and painful choice. So I’m glad to hear from him that he’s being made use of—his is a talent, and a mind, and a heart too big and strong and kind to sit on the sidelines for long.

Here’s his letter:


It has been a long time since I’ve been in touch with many of you so I thought I would take this opportunity to reconnect. And, I’m sorry that I’m delivering this news after some of you have already heard about it.

Starting a few weeks ago, I went to work for Ken Salazar, our nation’s new Secretary of Interior.  For the past month, I have served as a senior advisor to Secretary Salazar.  This week, I will start my longer term assignment as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.  In that job, I will be reunited with my long time friend, Tom Strickland, who President Obama has nominated to be Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks. 

In this job, I will have responsibility over our nation’s national parks and fish and wildlife resources.   Given the significant differences between President Obama’s policies in these areas compared to the last administration’s, there is a lot of work to do to restore the integrity of the Department of Interior and to place a greater emphasis on science and conservation.   Secretary Salazar, with whom I have worked for 15 years, has also asked me to take a lead role in developing a major initiative related to preservation of our nation’s treasured landscapes.  This program will be modeled on Great Outdoors Colorado – which Ken Salazar and Tom Strickland were instrumental in creating and where I served as the first executive director.  The energy and creativity at the Department of Interior, under Ken’s leadership, is palpable and exciting to be a part of.

While I was disappointed to not have been victorious in my congressional race, I am extremely happy to be in Washington serving in the Obama Administration and working directly with Secretary Salazar.  I feel very good about the kind of difference I will be able to make for our country in this time of incredible change. To be able to focus my time and energy on a smaller number of issues about which I have 28 years of working experience is a great honor and huge opportunity. In just a few weeks, I have already seen the effect of my work in some tangible ways. 

For those of you who stood by me during my congressional campaign, I want to thank you again for your trust and support. Now that I am where I am, I believe that the congressional race was a step in the direction that landed me where I am  and has served me (and will continue to serve me) in my current position.   My confidence as a public speaker, ability to synthesize issues and juggle a hundred tasks,  and the many lessons learned from being in the “fire” for as long as I was has helped me in many, immeasurable ways.  Thank you again for your part in making this journey a successful one for me.

I responded to this call to service on very short notice about a month ago and have relocated to Washington DC.  Erica, Lily and Anna are still in Boulder where the girls will finish out the school year and then join me in the summer.  Lily will finish high school in the DC area and Anna will work in DC for a portion of the year between high school and college.  We’re not sure where we’re going to live and if we’re going to keep or sell our house – lots of decisions to make in this life-changing time.

I hope all is well with you and I look forward to connecting with you over the coming months.  Please forgive me in advance if my response time is slow;  the pace and amount of work at Interior is as intense as it was during the campaign.


Will Shafroth

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