Joe Garcia: the coolest lieutenant governor, the hippest hot tamale

Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia leads the Ignacio Bikers parade in 2011. (Photo Steve Lewis/Durango Herald/used with permission)
Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia leads the Ignacio Bikers parade in 2011. (Photo Steve Lewis/Durango Herald/used with permission)

Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia surprised Colorado today,  announcing he will step down some time next year to pursue his passion in higher education.

Garcia, the former president of Colorado State University-Pueblo, will become president of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education.

Since taking office in 2011 with Gov. John Hickenlooper, Garcia has been an unconventional lite gov.

Garcia also serves as the director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education, which means the governor likely will have two jobs to fill.

Garcia is known for his sense of humor. When Hickenlooper and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock were out of town, Garcia and City Attorney Scott Martinez were in charge of their government agencies. Garcia tweeted out their pictures and said “First move. Pueblo is now state Capitol.  What else?” Martinez tweeted, “Two hot tamales in charge. New law: Green chile is the official city and state fruit.”

Garcia is known for traveling the state on his motorcycle.  I remember writing a blog on him in 2011 for The Denver Post when I spotted a picture of some biker dude on the front page of The Durango Herald.  I thought, “Whoa, this guy kind of looks like Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia. If you don’t look too closely.”

But when I clicked on the link it was Joe Garcia, along with former U.S. Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, on their Harley-Davidsons leading the Ignacio Bike Week motorcycle parade.

The news of Garcia’s impending departure –congrats Joey Bunch of The Denver Post on the scoop — dominated Colorado politics. Here’s a look at some of the stories (click on the name of the media outlet):

The Durango Herald.

The Denver Post.

The Colorado Statesman.


1 thought on “Joe Garcia: the coolest lieutenant governor, the hippest hot tamale”

  1. I met Lt. Gov. Garcia exactly once. He was in Lyons for an event and Lyons Volunteers, our local post-flood volunteer group, was planting trees in a park. One was saved next to a hole for a politician (we thought Gov. Hickenlooper, but didn’t know for sure) to “help”, which for politicians usually means posing for a picture as they toss a couple of shovels of loose dirt on something. But when this tree went into the hole, it was off-center and leaning. It had a huge root ball that, with the tree, probably weighed 500 pounds. Several of us jumped into the 5-foot deep hole to straighten & center the tree. It was a struggle. Suddenly Lt. Gov. Garcia appeared, saw what was happening, and jumped in the hole with us. The dude has a weightlifter’s build and is strong as an ox. He must hit the gym several times a week. He grabbed onto the dirty root ball with us and the tree started sliding over to where it needed to be. So much for the ceremonial tree planting — this guy actually jumped down in the dirt and helped with the heavy lifting. I’ve never been so impressed with a politician in my life.

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