Buescher nomination passes committee hearing

A panel of state senators praised former state Rep. Bernie Buescher as an evenhanded, “objective” leader as they voted Monday afternoon to endorse his bid to head the Secretary of State’s Office.

Buescher, Gov. Bill Ritter’s choice to succeed Republican Mike Coffman, pledged to the legislative committee to lead his office, which oversees elections throughout the state, in an impartial fashion.

“I really do believe the office has to be nonpartisan,” Buescher said. “Not bipartisan, but truly nonpartisan.”

The Grand Junction Democrat’s nomination easily cleared the Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee on a 5-0 vote.

Sen. Rollie Heath, D-Boulder, who sat in on the hearing, said Buescher is just the man to restore faith in the state’s elections process.

Pressed by Sen. David Schultheis, R-Colorado Springs, to discuss if someone should have to prove his or her citizenship to register to vote, Buescher said he will respect whatever laws the General Assembly approves.

“I will support whatever the Legislature comes up with … (including) the proper way of proving that a person is qualified to vote,” Buescher said.

A handful of lawmakers, including Rep. Frank McNulty, R-Highlands Ranch, have indicated they will run legislation this session to require that Coloradans present proof of citizenship when they register to vote.

Buescher’s nomination could go before the full Senate as early as today.


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