6 Things to Know About Colorado Gubernatorial Hopeful Donna Lynne

Author: Ernest Luning - September 6, 2017 - Updated: September 7, 2017

“Love a good hike, especially our 14ers and Capitol Peak!” Colorado Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne tweeted in June. (Photo courtesy Lynne via Twitter)

Here are six things to know about Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne as the Democrat makes it official Thursday that she’s running for governor of Colorado:

• Before being sworn in as Colorado’s 49th lieutenant governor on May 12, 2016, Lynne was executive vice president of the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc. and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, as well as the group president for Kaiser’s Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii regions. She oversaw an $8 billion budget with 16,000 employees and 1.4 million members. In 2015, Lynne was named one of Modern Healthcare magazine’s Top 25 Women in Health Care, and she holds a doctorate in Public Health from Columbia University.

• Lynne was a White House intern during President Gerald Ford’s administration, a post she garnered while pursuing a master’s degree in public administration at George Washington University. “It was post-Watergate so it was an exciting time to be in government and realize that our system worked,” she told ColoradoBiz magazine in 2005. She moved on from there to work in municipal finance in New York as the city was on the verge of bankruptcy. “So I went from one frying pan into another,” she recalled.

• In the late 1990s, Lynne was in charge of putting together New York’s centralized emergency management plan — a critical component in the city’s response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks — when she was director of the Mayor’s Office of Operations under Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Before that, she held several positions with the Mayor’s Office of Labor Relations, including deputy director of the agency, deputy commissioner and director of employee benefits. In 1997, Giuliani named Lynne as senior vice president of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation.

• Lynne kept fit by pogo-sticking at one point, in addition to biking, hiking and skiing. She decided to ski 50 different mountains the year she turned 50 — 25 in the East and 25 in the West — and has climbed all 58 of Colorado’s 14ers.

• Lynne’s favorite book is David Halberstam’s 1972 bestseller “The Best and the Brightest,” which chronicles how academics and intellectuals steered the United States into the Vietnam War. “I got so excited about government and the fact you could have these people working in government who really were smart, that I knew then I wanted to work in government,” Lynne said in the 2005 ColoradoBiz interview.

• Lynne has a tattoo on each shoulder — an apple with a bite taken out of it on her right shoulder and Chinese characters on her left shoulder. Lynne told Colorado Politics the apple can be interpreted numerous ways but is coy about the characters’ meaning. “If I wanted people to know what it said, it’d be written in English,” she said with a grin.

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning is a political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has covered politics and government for newspapers and online news sites in Colorado for more than 25 years, including at the Highlands Ranch Herald, the Jefferson Sentinels chain of community newspapers and the Aurora Sentinel, where he was the city hall and cops reporter. After editing the Aurora Daily Sun, he was a political reporter and blogger for The Colorado Independent site. For nearly a decade, he was a senior political reporter and occasional editor at The Colorado Statesman before the 119-year-old publication merged with Colorado Politics in 2017.