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):