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Biography Bill Ritter

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Bill Ritter Bill Ritter
Bill Ritter
Was the 41st Governor of the state of Colorado, from 2007 to 2011.


Bill Ritter Biography

ENG: August William "Bill" Ritter (born September 6, 1956) is an American politician of the Democratic Party, and was the 41st Governor of the state of Colorado, from 2007 to 2011. Before his election in 2006, he served as the district attorney for Denver. He is the first native-born governor of Colorado since 1975, as well as being the first Democratic governor to serve with a Democratic majority in the Colorado General Assembly in 50 years. Ritter did not run for a second term as Governor in 2010.


Career in law and jurisprudence

In 1990, Ritter took on a position in the US Attorney's office, and returned to the Deputy DA's office two years later. In 1993, Ritter was appointed as Denver's District Attorney. As DA, he created one of the nation's first drug courts, as well as taking on white collar crime in metropolitan Denver. He worked extensively on the prosecution of sexual abuse and domestic violence, as well as criminals offending senior citizens.

Ritter is responsible for creating the first Victims Services Network in the United States. He advised United States Attorney General John Ashcroft on affairs after September 11, 2001 and during his time as the Denver DA, he served as Vice President of the National District Attorneys Association, Chairman of the American Prosecutors Research Institute, member for the National Association of Drug Court Professionals.


Charity work

Ritter served as Chairman of the Board of Project PAVE (Promoting Alternatives to Violence through Education), as well as on the Denver Foundation's Human Services Committee, the Mile High United Way Board, and the Denver Public Schools' Commission on Secondary School Reform.


Missionary work

In 1987, Ritter and his wife Jeannie moved to Zambia as missionaries for the Catholic Church, where they would open a food distribution and education center. Upon their return to the Denver area in 1989, Governor Roy Romer appointed Ritter to the DA's office, citing his missionary work as an "important factor" in the decision. During the 2006 campaign, Ritter's work in Zambia was often emphasized by his campaign and the press.



Ritter is relatively popular with rural Coloradans, who in the past have tended to vote for Republican candidates (particularly Front Range voters). This may stem from Ritter's perceived rural roots. His popularity also extends to the Democratic strongholds in Colorado; the continental divide ski resorts such as Aspen and Vail, as well as the Denver-Aurora metropolitan area. Ritter's chief rival for office, Bob Beauprez, shared a similar background, but may have suffered from the lack of a widely recognized in-state political history, having only chaired the state Republican Party, and having served most visibly in the U.S. Congress. Denver's bid for the 2008 Democratic National Convention may also have played a role in the election. An August 2007 poll conducted by Rasmussen Reports showed Ritter's approval rating at 60%, while 36% were disapproving and 4% remained undecided.In July 2008, Rasmussen reported his approval rating 15 points lower, at 45%.

In September 2010, Ritter was one of seven governors to receive a grade of F in the Cato Institute's fiscal-policy report card.



Bill and Jeannie Ritter married in 1983. They have four children: August, Abe, Sam, and Tally. Jeannie is a substitute teacher in the Denver Public Schools District. The majority of Ritter's extended family lives in Colorado. His mother Ethel (b. 1925) is a resident of Strasburg, Colorado.




Updated: 3.5.2011 (former governor)

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