Polis names Meeker native and Durango woman to new cabinet

Listen to this post
Meeker native Stan Hilkey
WHAT: Continuing role as Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Public Safety

RBC | In his first round of picks, Governor-Elect Jared Polis named some 12 members to his cabinet this past week. Among these are Meeker native Stan Hilkey and Durango resident Kate Greenberg—so far his only two selections from western Colorado. At least seven additional major cabinet choices have yet to be named.

A 1982 graduate of Meeker High School, Hilkey has been chosen by Polis to continue in his role as the executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Safety. He was first named to the job by Governor John Hickenlooper in 2014 after being elected three times as the Mesa County sheriff. He is the son of former Rio Blanco County sheriff Ron Hilkey. The post includes supervising the work of more than 1,600 employees of the Colorado State Patrol, Bureau of Investigation, Divisions of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Criminal Justice, and Fire Prevention and Control, as well as the Colorado School Safety Resources Center. The overall department is one of the largest in the state. Hilkey is one of only three carry-overs from the Hickenlooper administration.

Kathryn “Kate” Greenberg, 31, of Durango, was named by Polis to be the incoming Commissioner of Agriculture. She lives in Durango and is the Western Program Director for the National Young Farmers Coalition, organizing young farmers and ranchers in the Colorado River Basin, advocating for supportive policy while promoting land, water and climate stewardship. The organization, which supports independent family farms, sustainable farming practices, affordable land and positive circumstances for beginning farmers and ranchers, has four chapters in Colorado.

Greenberg grew up in Minnesota and graduated from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash., with a degree in environmental studies

Durango resident
Kate Greenberg
WHAT: Incoming role as Commissioner of

and humanities. She is the board president of the Santa Fe-based Quivira Coalition, a conservation-ranching organization fostering resilience on western working landscapes.

Hilkey graduated from the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va., in 2004, and from the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command in 2001. He served in the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office for 28 years. He was the keynote at the April 2017 Meeker High School National Honor Society induction ceremonies, speaking on “Living with Honor.” Hilkey tweeted this week, “I am so thankful and grateful to the [Polis Transition Team] that I get to continue doing what I love to do, working for the administration!”

Meeker native Kathleen Sullivan Kelley, a former wheat, barley and cattle producer in Rio Blanco County, State House legislator, and current high school language arts teacher, was interviewed by the Polis team earlier this month as a finalist for the ag commissioner slot. She tells the HT that while it was an honor to be considered, “The Governor-Elect’s pick of Greenberg is an exciting and regenerative choice for Colorado agriculture, reflecting youth and positive forward thinking. I wish her, and him, the very best.”

Polis himself, it’s reported, has said, “I am looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting to work with outstanding and inspiring Cabinet appointees. I know together we will lead our state in a positive direction for all Coloradans.” His transition team, made up of seven subcommittees, each with two co-chairs, has been reviewing and assessing more than 700 possible candidates.

By REED KELLEY | reed@ht1885.com