Cabinet members to take up residence in Governor's Mansion

8:23 AM, Feb 9, 2011   |    comments
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Hickenlooper, who decided with his wife Helen, to continue to raise their 8-year-old son Teddy in their current Denver home, has offered the seven bedrooms in the mansion to seven of his Cabinet members who don't live in the metro area.

"This is one of the most beautiful mansions there is and to have it sit empty, I think, would be a waste," Hickenlooper said. "Having them all in the same place, we'll get, from the state's point of view, more work out of them. I probably shouldn't say that."

Reeves Brown, who has been appointed to run the Department of Local Affairs, lives in Grand Junction with his wife and three kids. For the last few weeks, he's been staying in a spare bedroom at a friend's Aurora house.

"Anything that is not a cot or a sleeping bag is going to be a huge upgrade for me," he said.

Eleven members of the Cabinet are not from the Denver area and seven reside on Colorado's Western Slope.

Instead of having to rent an apartment in Denver and drive home on the weekends, the opportunity is being celebrated by the select administration members tapped to live in the mansion.

"This becomes a great alternative to staying with friends," said Sue Birch, who is the executive director of Health Care Policy and Financing, and is one of two women who will stay in bedrooms on the second floor of the residence. She has three kids in college and lives in Steamboat Springs. "We're all just glad we're not living out of our cars."

Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia (D-Colorado), who has a home in Colorado Springs and Pueblo, wanted to return to southern Colorado on the weekend, but was struggling to figure out what he was going to do during the week in Denver.

"I just didn't know how I was going to afford it," he said. "Would I be living out of my truck? So, this is a great option for me."

The mansion has been home to Colorado's governors since the Boettcher family donated it to the state in 1959. Hickenlooper says the tenants will be responsible for their own cleaning and cooking, costing the taxpayers nothing.

"We're trying to break down silos and trying to get different agencies to work together," Hickenlooper said. "What better way than having the heads of these agencies get to know each other, by living together?"

"It'll help them work together better, find common ground and make collaborative decisions," Hickenlooper said.

The Governor's Residence at the Boettcher Mansion:

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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