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Office of Policy, Research and Legislative Affairs

The Governor’s Office of Policy and Research gathers information and provides analysis on a wide range of federal, state and local issues that come to the attention of the Governor. The staff assists the Governor in developing and monitoring public policies, as well as analyzing all legislation that is considered each session. The office also proactively assists in implementing the Governor’s policy agenda, in collaboration with the Governor’s cabinet. The office also staffs the Governor for his participation in:


• The National Governors Association (Governor Hickenlooper is the Chair)

• The Western Governors’ Association (Governor Hickenlooper is the Chair)

• The Education Commission of the States (Governor Hickenlooper is the Chair)

• Western Governor’s University (Governor Hickenlooper is on the Board)


Alan Salazar manages the Office of Policy, Research and Legislative Affairs for the Governor and Lisa Carpenter is the Deputy Director and policy staff manager.  Tracee Bentley is Legislative Director and Kurtis Morrison is Deputy Legislative Director.


Policy Staff

Simon Tafoya - Senior Policy Director

M.E. Smith - Senior Policy Director

Adrienne Russman - Senior Policy Advisor: Criminal Justice, Public Safety, and Military & Veteran Affairs

Aaron Serna - Natural Resources, Environment, and Transportation

Matt Hastings - Agriculture, Local Affairs, and Personnel & Administration

Zach Pierce - Human Services

Kyle M. Brown - Health 

Evy Valencia - Education 


To contact the Office of Policy and Research, please call 303-866-2471  


Alan Salazar
Chief Strategy Officer
Director of Policy and Research, Legislative Affairs and Communications


Alan Salazar serves as the Chief Strategy Officer and Director of the Office of Policy and Research, the Office of Legislative Affairs and the Office of Communications for Governor Hickenlooper. He is responsible for formulating and implementing the policy and legislative agenda for the administration and is the Governor’s senior advisor for all strategic decisions and initiatives. Alan has served in various policy roles for former U.S. Senators Gary Hart and Tim Wirth and later as the Policy Director and Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Roy Romer. Returning to the federal government in 1999, Alan was Chief of Staff to U.S. Rep. Mark Udall for 10 years. In 2008, he was Chairman of the successful Udall for Colorado campaign and was the Senator’s Chief Policy and Political Advisor until 2011. In 2010, Alan served as the Chairman of the Hickenlooper for Colorado Campaign.


Tracee Bentley
Legislative Director 


Kurtis T. Morrison
Deputy Legislative Director


Adam Zarrin
Legislative Assistant


To contact the Office of Legislative Affairs, please call 303-866-2471