Roxane White, Hickenlooper’s chief of staff, leaving at year’s end


Roxane White is stepping down as Gov. John Hickenlooper’s chief of staff in November.

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DENVER — Roxane White, who has served as chief of staff to Gov. John Hickenlooper’s for nearly five years, will not be sticking around for a second term, should Colorado’s Democratic governor be reelected in November.

White, who was hired as Hickenlooper’s mayoral chief of staff in Sept. 2009 and transitioned into the same job after the 2010 election, plans to take a job running a non-profit program that provides nursing help to at-risk first time mothers and families.

She will be leaving her current job in November and moving over to become CEO of the Nurse-Family Partnership, one of two programs implemented by the nonprofit Invest In Kids.

A trained social worker and ordained minister, White is known around the Capitol for being a calm, grounded presence in meetings and one of the advisers the governor trusts the most to tell him the unvarnished truth.

She is also regarded as a workaholic who manages the day to day operations of the executive branch and who has steadied the administration through a number of unanticipated natural disasters and tragic events, from seasons of fire and flood to the murder of former Dept. of Corrections chief Tom Clements.

“I’ve had the good fortune to work with several chiefs of staff, and even more fortunate that every one of them have been as dedicated as they have been brilliant; certainly, that has been the case with Roxane White,” Hickenlooper said in a statement.

“But Roxane is in a league of her own, practically superhuman, when it comes to her energy, her compassion, and her commitment for serving others.”

Hickenlooper first hired White to run Denver’s Dept. of Human Services before she was appointed to replace Kelly Brough as the mayor’s chief of staff.

Prior to working in government, she was an advocate for San Francisco’s homeless before moving to Denver and working as President and CEO of Urban Peak, Urban Peak Colorado Springs, Urban Peak Housing Corporation and The Spot.

She also created and chaired Denver’s Road Home, Denver’s 10-year plan to end homelessness.

“John Hickenlooper challenged me to help government change the way it worked,” White said. “Together, we passed a new comprehensive zoning code in Denver and created a 6.5 percent reserve for the state of Colorado, all while expanding health care coverage, creating a statewide scholarship fund, expanding housing for people who are homeless, increasing the effectiveness of emergency response operations and eliminating or modifying more nearly 5,500 regulations.

“I am excited to be leaving one amazing job for an equally inspiring role as CEO of Nurse-Family Partnership, an evidence-based, cost-effective program that improves pregnancy outcomes, improves child health and development, and improves the economic self-sufficiency of the family.”

Lisa Hill, the executive director of Invest In Kids, told FOX31 Denver the organization is thrilled to be bringing White on board.

“Anyone who knows Roxane White is aware of her deep commitment to vulnerable populations, so leading the Nurse-Family Partnership National Service Office is a perfect fit,” Hill said. “We are excited by the idea that Roxane’s experience at the state level will be brought to a national effort. Invest in Kids pioneered and continues to spearhead Nurse-Family Partnership in Colorado because its track record is stellar and the results are undeniable.

“We expect Nurse-Family Partnership will continue to shine under Roxane’s leadership.”

All along, White has only planned on serving as Hickenlooper’s chief of staff for one term; her departure is not a surprise nor a reaction to any recent event, according to the governor’s office.

A year ago, White made her feelings known as Hickenlooper considered the looming execution of Chuck E. Cheese killer Nathan Dunlap. Her strong personal opposition to the death penalty was a major factor in the governor’s decision to grant Dunlap an indefinite reprieve.

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