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Reggie Bicha, Barbara Kelley and John Salazar receive Senate confirmation to lead state agencies

 Friday, Feb. 4, 2011 -- Gov. John Hickenlooper applauded the Colorado Senate for confirming Reggie Bicha as the Executive Director of the Department of Human Services; Barbara Kelley as the Executive Director of the Department of Regulatory Affairs; and John Salazar as the Commissioner of Agriculture, this week.


Reggie Bicha, Executive Director for the Department of Human Services: Bicha was confirmed with a vote of 35-0 on Monday, Jan. 31.


Director Bicha served most recently as Secretary of the Department of Children and Families for the state of Wisconsin. As the inaugural secretary of the department, Mr. Bicha led bold initiatives that restructured, retooled and reprioritized the way that children’s services are done in Wisconsin. He has dedicated his career to protecting and improving the well-being of children and has extensive experience working on child welfare, education and health issues at the county, state and national levels.


Like Colorado, Wisconsin is a state-supervised, county-administered human services system. Mr. Bicha brings a strong focus on outcomes, results, accountability, transparency and a belief in vital local partnerships with him to Colorado.


Before his appointment as Secretary of the Department of Children and Families in Wisconsin, Mr. Bicha served as the Administrator of the Division of Children and Family Services at the Department of Health and Family Services (DHFS) in Wisconsin and also served as DHFS Deputy Secretary. His state service was built upon his experience at the county level as the Pierce County Director of Human Services. Mr. Bicha also served as Chair of the West Central Wisconsin Care Management Collaborative, a group of nine counties and three private organizations working to develop a public/private managed care system to expand Family Care to serve seniors and people with disabilities. He is also a past Vice-President of the Wisconsin County Human Services Association, representing 72 county human service agencies.


Director Bicha earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and a master’s degree in the same subject from the University of Minnesota. In 2009, he received the Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner’s Award for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect.


Barbara Kelley, Executive Director of the Department of Regulatory Affairs: Kelley was confirmed on Thursday, Feb. 3, with a vote of 33-0-1-1.


Kelley has practiced law for more than 35 years and has extensive experience working with municipalities and counties throughout Colorado on matters related to zoning, land use and entitlements, annexation, variances, licensing and eminent domain.


Kelley earlier worked as a partner with the law firm Kamlet Reichert in Denver. While there, she specialized in corporate and financing transactions, commercial banking, commercial real estate, as well as general commercial and business matters. She headed the firm’s secured transactions practice area.


Before joining Kamlet Reichert, Kelley practiced law with Morrison & Foerster, Sherman & Howard, and Tate, Kelley & Tate; Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Colorado; and the Federal Action Agency. She has worked on a number of community projects in Colorado, including the Lowry and Stapleton redevelopment projects, as well as projects in Rwanda and Hong Kong. Honored in 2008 as a Girl Scout “Colorado Woman of Distinction,” she is a former chair of the Denver Planning Board.


Kelley earned bachelor’s and law degrees from Indiana University. She is a member of the American, Colorado, Denver and Sam Cary bar associations, and was honored as one of Law Week Colorado’s “2009 Top Women Lawyers.”


John Salazar, Commissioner of Agriculture: Salazar was confirmed on Friday, Feb. 4, with a vote of 34-0-1.


A sixth-generation farmer and rancher, Salazar served three terms representing Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District and was a member of the House Agriculture Committee. Before his time in Congress, Salazar served in the Colorado General Assembly for two years.


Salazar’s advocacy in Congress earned him recognition for outstanding service by the American Farm Bureau and the Golden Triangle Award from the National Farmers Union. He played a key role in passing the historic farm bill of 2008. With a seat on the powerful House Appropriations Committee in his third term, Salazar worked on national energy issues, jobs creation and the economy.


Salazar was raised on a San Luis Valley farm, where he and his five siblings shared a bedroom and had no electricity or running water. His experience influenced his public career. He served on the Rio Grande Water Conservation District, the Colorado Agricultural Leadership Forum and the Colorado Agricultural Commission before being elected as a state Representative in 2002.


He was one of only a handful of active farmers in Congress after he was first elected in 2004. A veteran, Salazar served on the House Veterans Affairs Committee, and was a proud member of the fiscally conservative Democratic Blue Dog congressional coalition.


Salazar earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Adams State College after serving three years in the U.S. Army.