Gov. Polis Announces Interim Chief of Staff

DENVER – Governor Jared Polis today announced that Rick Palacio will serve as the Interim Chief of Staff in the Governor’s Office starting August 1st while current Chief of Staff Lisa Kaufmann is on maternity leave. Kaufmann is expected to return to the office full time in early November and resume her role as Chief of Staff. 

Prior to serving as Chief of Staff, Kaufmann was then-Congressman Polis Colorado Chief of Staff  and chair of his gubernatorial campaign.Lisa Kaufmann has worked with Gov. Jared Polis for over 13 years, since his first campaign for Congress. She has held various positions on his team over the years, including Chief of Staff for his congressional office, campaign manager during various election years, and Chair of his 2018 Campaign for Governor. She has been the Chief of Staff for the State of Colorado since Gov. Polis’ inauguration in January 2019. Kaufmann is one of a few women to hold the position of Chief of Staff to the Governor and the first one to go on maternity leave while serving in Colorado.

Kaufmann along with Congressman Joe Neguse, Representative Leslie Herod, and Majority Speaker Steve Fenberg founded New Era Colorado in 2006, a nonprofit group that engages young voters and inspires future progressive leaders.

She lives in Lyons, CO with her husband Ryan, their daughter Ani, and the two are excited to welcome a new baby in August 2020.

Lisa is a dedicated public servant who’s strategic thinking has been instrumental in our administration’s accomplishments for the people of Colorado,” said Governor Jared Polis. “I am deeply committed to leading by example that women can have successful careers at the highest levels and a family by having her at the helm as chair of my campaign and now chief of staff. When I hired Lisa to chair my gubernatorial campaign, a more than full time demanding job, she was expecting her first child. It’s important that having a family not hold anyone back from the highest leadership roles in government and in business. We’re excited for Rick to join the team in the interim and know his wealth of experience will be a great asset.” 

A Pueblo native and sixth-generation Coloradan, Rick Palacio is the Managing Partner of The Majority Institute, a progressive research and polling firm based in Denver, Colorado. He is also the founder of the consulting firm, PSGroup. In 2018, Rick served as a Co-Chair for the Governor’s transition committee. For six years, Palacio served as Chairman of the Colorado Democratic Party. 

Prior to his service as Chair, Palacio served in a variety of positions in Colorado and national politics, including various roles with former U.S. Rep. John Salazar of Colorado and as a senior leadership aide to U.S. House Majority Leader, Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland.

Palacio is the first Latino to hold the office of chair of the Colorado Democratic Party, and when elected, he was only the second Latino elected as chair of a major political party in the nation. Palacio will be the first Latino and the first openly gay Chief of Staff to serve a Colorado Governor and the state.

Rick lives in Denver with his husband, Graham, and their two dogs.



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