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CHI’s Vote for President

Here at the Colorado Health Institute, we took a short break from our focus on health policy and turned our attention to the White House as we head into President’s Day Weekend.

Each staffer picked a favorite president – and provided the reason. We’ll add these to the staff bios in the “About CHI” section of our website, where you can already find such tidbits as our hometowns, favorite Colorado spots and beloved novels. But we wanted to give you a sneak peak. And we’d love to hear about your favorite presidents. Just write a short note at the bottom of this blog. No sign-up or password required.

  • Jeff Bontrager, Director of Research on Coverage and Access: John Adams. To summarize George Washington, the greatest test of our new democracy was not the election of the first president but the peaceful transfer of power to the second. Plus, any president that Paul Giamatti chooses to portray is noteworthy in my book.
  • Brian Clark, Manager of Creative Services: Leaving politics totally out of it, President Obama just seems like a good guy. He invites people to discuss tough topics over beers at the White House. His daughters think he's dorky. He slow jammed the news with Jimmy Fallon and the Roots. He's not afraid to pose for goofy photos. I can relate to him, especially as a father.
  • Tim Dunbar, Director of Finance and Administration: I’m going with Rutherford B. Hayes – the last president to rock a truly powerful beard. 
  • Deb Goeken, Senior Director of Operations and Communications: LBJ – almost entirely because of Robert Caro’s books. Johnson was fascinating: complicated, manipulative, driven, charming. He needed all of those character traits to accomplish difficult work, including the civil rights bill and Medicare. But he left a tragic legacy in the Vietnam War. Points removed for his favorite foods – green peas and tapioca.
  • Kathy Helm, Senior Administrative Assistant: Dwight D. Eisenhower. I was born on his birthday.  When I was young, my mother had me send him a birthday card when he was president.  He sent me one back.  I still have that card.
  • Emily King, Research Analyst: JFK, for his legacy of public service and work creating the Peace Corps.
  • Megan Lane, Director of Legislative Services: Mine is Lincoln, because of his courage, his resolve and, most of all, his humility.
  • Michele Lueck, President and CEO: I am going with FDR. We have much to learn from New Deal politics and the domestic policies around relief, recovery and reform.   He managed to stay with his extraordinary wife (and she actually managed to stay with him) and his greatest demonstration of loyalty was to his dog, Fala (loyalty not being necessarily a strong suit).  Plus, he's a Harvard guy.
  • Tasia Sinn, Research Analyst: Thomas Jefferson. For negotiating the Louisiana Purchase and putting eastern Colorado on the map.   
  • Sara Schmitt, Director of Community Health Policy: My favorite president is a fellow Chicagoan and a fellow Maroon. (Extra points to anyone who knows what that means). President Obama.
  • Natalie Triedman, Colorado College Public Interest Fellow:  I’ll say Thomas Jefferson. In addition to being the primary author of the Declaration of Independence and the voice behind religious freedom, he kept two pet bears in a cage on the White House lawn, which he sometimes walked. Pretty cool. Other noteworthy presidential pets: John Quincy Adams had an alligator, James Buchanan had an elephant and Teddy Roosevelt had a zebra.
  • Anna Vigran, Senior Analyst and Communications Specialist: George Washington, because you have to admire a guy who will pioneer a job like that.
  • And, because there’s one in every crowd, we’ll leave you with this offering from West Mori, a research analyst. “My favorite president is Harrison Ford from the movie Air Force One.”