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Gov.-elect names state tourism & health exchanges directors

December 21st, 2010


Denver – Gov.-elect John Hickenlooper announced today Sen. Al White will be Director of the Colorado Tourism Office and Joan Henneberry will be the Healthcare Exchange Planning Grant Project Director.


White is a businessman from Winter Park who served eight years in the Colorado House of Representatives before he was elected to the Colorado Senate two years ago. He has a long history of promoting tourism in Colorado, creating jobs as a small-business owner and working collaboratively with all levels of government.


“Tourism can be a catalyst for economic development throughout Colorado,” White said. “Our beautiful state has the perfect climate for family and business. We want people to visit every corner of Colorado and decide to stay for a lifetime.”


Henneberry is now executive director of the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing and responsible for managing public health insurance programs including Medicaid and CHP+. She will stay in her current role until a replacement is named.


“Colorado is well positioned to implement federal health care reform that meets the needs of families throughout the state,” Henneberry said. “We are committed to working with consumers and businesses to effectively and efficiently provide health care services that are both affordable and accountable.”


In her new role, Henneberry will be responsible for continuing the planning phase for a health insurance exchange in Colorado as called for in the Affordable Care Act. This will involve setting up work groups and committees; working with the health reform director and implementation board; working to assess through economic modeling and analysis if Colorado can sustain a state exchange; and continuing to engage stakeholders, especially consumers and small businesses, to ensure that the Colorado exchange enables them to purchase valuable, affordable health insurance.


Henneberry joined Gov. Bill Ritter’s cabinet as executive director of the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing in 2007. She previously worked in the private sector after spending seven years at the National Governors Association, providing consultation to states on health care services and financing, cost containment and emerging policy issues. She spent 13 years at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, chairs the board of the Colorado Regional Health Information Organization, and serves on the Executive Committee for the National Academy for State Health Policy.


Henneberry earned a master’s degree in management and completed the Senior Executives in State and Local Government program at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government in 2008. She is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives.


White was first elected in 2000 as State Representative for House District 57, representing Garfield, Grand, Jackson, Moffat, Rio Blanco and Routt counties. He served four terms and during his tenure served as Assistant Majority Leader and Vice Chair of the Business Affairs and Labor committee. He was a member of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, the Education Committee, the Water Resources Review Committee and the Legislative Audit committee. White was the House appointee to the Colorado Tourism Office board for 10 years and was instrumental in securing funding for tourism promotion in Colorado.


White was elected to the Colorado Senate in 2008, representing District 8 (Eagle, Garfield, Jackson, Moffat, Rio Blanco and Routt counties). He currently serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee and he served on the Joint Budget Committee for four years.


White was honorably discharged from the Army and relocated 35 years ago to Colorado, where he attended the University of Colorado. He then moved to Winter Park and began a career as an entrepreneur in the ski business. Through hard work, and the community’s support, Al and his wife, Jean, spent 25 years as owners and operators of several full-service ski shops, a bike shop and a mountain lodge.


As an active member of the business community, White served on several bank boards, was the Chairman of the Fraser Valley Metropolitan Recreation District, Secretary of the Grand County Water and Sanitation board, and Vice Chair of the Winter Park Fraser Valley Chamber of Commerce.


White will resign his Senate seat in the coming weeks; a date has not been set. A vacancy committee will name his replacement.




About the Colorado Tourism Office
The Colorado Tourism Office was created by the legislature July 1, 2000, to promote Colorado as a tourism and travel destination. The CTO replaced the Colorado Tourism Board and the Colorado Travel and Tourism Authority. The office is governed by a board of directors consisting of 15 members, including four legislators and 11 members appointed by the Governor and representing various tourism and travel industry segments. Administrative oversight is provided by the Office of Economic Development and International Trade.


About Health Care Reform
Under the Federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, states have critical responsibilities for implementation of new federal policies. One critical area for planning is the development of exchanges, or virtual marketplaces, where thousands of currently uninsured Coloradans will seek information to select and purchase health insurance. Many of these individuals and families will be eligible for federal subsidies to help them pay their insurance premiums. Click here for more information.