Add former Colorado Lieutenant Governor Jane Norton to the list of Republican women looking to run for office in 2010. On Tuesday, September 15, the native Coloradan traveled the state to announce that she would be entering the race to unseat Democrat and current United States Senator Michael Bennett. During her announcement speech, she was not hesitant to tackle Washington D.C.'s "giant hand,"
Norton also addressed illegal immigration and a subject that has been a big part of her own life: health care. With a Bachelor's degree in health sciences, Norton has served in a number of prominent health care-related positions. Not only did she serve her home state as the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, but she also served under President Reagan as the regional director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. On health care, she had this to say,
"Seizing control of our car companies, banks, insurance companies - exploding the national debt - and chipping away at individual liberty. And now, the federal government is attempting a take-over of 17% of our nation’s economy in the form of government-run health care. They have unleashed a tidal wave of spending unprecedented in American history... That is why I have decided that I cannot and will not sit by and do nothing."
So who exactly is Jane Norton?
"We need to reduce the cost of health insurance by promoting choice and competition. We need to provide tax equity so that people who buy their own insurance receive the same tax benefits as those who get insurance through their employers. We need real tort reform that limits expensive and frivolous lawsuits that drive up costs. And we need to tell President Obama and Senate Democrats that cutting Medicare for seniors as a way to pay for health care reform is immoral and wrong. And as the daughter of two Medicare recipients, I will not allow this to happen."
She was born October 12, 1954 in Grand Junction, Colorado, to Walter "Bus" and Elinor Bergman. After graduating from Grand Junction High School and Colorado State University, she began teaching middle school and would eventually work for Medical Group Management Association, heading its Office of State Government Relations and Office of Strategic Relationships. She also holds a Master's degree from Regis University. Norton is married to Mike Norton, former United States Attorney of Colorado, is the mother of two children and two step-children, and grandmother to seven.
Norton has been involved with Republican politics for most of her adult life and has served in countless leadership roles. She was a member of the Colorado General Assembly from 1986-1987. In 2003, she became the 46th Lieutenant Governor of Colorado where she achieved a number of accomplishments including appointing a state court judge, signing legislation into law, and hosting the Joint Chiefs of Staff for the Jordanian Armed Forces. She also convened a Committee to Promote Adoption, was chair of the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs, co-chair of the Colorado Space Coalition, worked tirelessly to help small businesses to purchase lower health care plans, restored funding to the Ryan White AIDS Drug Assistance Program, oversaw the Governor’s Commission on Community Service, and was recognized for her countless other efforts in matters such as veterans affairs, education, community preparedness, strengthening families, and numerous other health care-related services. She also served as part of a Council of State Governments delegation to Mexico that worked to promote dialogue between American leaders and their Mexican counterparts on trade, cross border cooperation, and immigration policy.
Jane Norton currently works to support law enforcement as the executive director for the Denver Police Foundation, a group that reaches out to police officers and their families in times of crisis and also, provides equipment, training and technology. She also serves as as President of the Board of Directors of the Colorado Emergency Preparedness Partnership. Norton has participated in a tour of the nation's missile defense operations, the West Point Combating Terrorism Center and National Homeland Defense Foundation Symposium training sessions. She is also a graduate of the FBI's Citizen's Academy.