State to swear in new governor today

DENVER — Colorado will be getting a new governor today.

The inauguration of Gov.-elect Jared Polis, which has been dubbed Colorado for All, will be held at 11 a.m. on the west steps of the Colorado Capitol, which has a clear view of the Colorado mountains.

From that venue, Polis and several other Democrats who were swept into office over all Republican challengers last fall will be sworn into office one after the other.

With his inauguration, Polis becomes the state's first Jewish and openly gay governor.

Polis, who defeated Republican Walker Stapleton by more than 10 percentage points in November, served in Congress for 10 years before running for governor. Prior to that, he served six years on the Colorado State Board of Education.

Born Jared Polis Schultz, the now 43-year-old is a self-made millionaire, co-founding a free electronic greeting card website. He sold his portion of that business for nearly $800 million in stocks and cash in 1999 before launching his political career.

The new governor has been widely criticized for using much of his fortune to get elected to public office. He put more than $24 million of his own money into his race for governor, according to campaign finance filings.

Along with Polis, fellow Democrats Lt. Gov.-elect Dianne Primavera, Attorney General-elect Phil Weiser, Treasurer-elect Dave Young and Secretary of State-elect Jena Griswold also will take the oath of office and start their four-year terms.

After the swearing in and Polis' inaugural address, several celebrations for all the newly minted elected officials are planned around town, most of which are private.

Polis' main inauguration celebration, called the Blue Sneaker Ball in honor of the blue sneakers Polis' wore through much of the campaign, will be held at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Tickets for that event have long been sold out.

The event will feature Cyndi Lauper and Nathaniel Ratliff & the Night Sweats.

Polis' inaugural team said Lauper, a singer and songwriter who started her career in the 1980s, was chosen to perform at the event because she is an advocate against bullying and for gay and lesbian rights. Ratliff is a rock-folk artist.

Polis replaces Gov. John Hickenlooper, who has already created an exploratory committee with the goal of winning the Democratic Party's nomination to president.

Polis is set to deliver his first state-of-the-state address to a joint session of the Colorado Legislature on Thursday.