Gov. Jared Polis named Ken Montera on Monday to represent the 5th Congressional District, which includes Colorado Springs, on the University of Colorado Board of Regents.

Montera, a Republican, ran for an at-large seat on the board unsuccessfully in 2018. He will replace Chance Hill, who resigned his seat last month to "pursue new professional opportunities outside the state," the board and president said in a release announcing his departure. Hill was in the middle of a six-year term that would have expired in 2025; Montera will serve until the Nov. 8, 2022 election, and the winner of that race will serve out the remaining two years of the term.

Polis said he received 19 applications for the unpaid post and interviewed seven finalists before selecting Montera, who had been endorsed by the Republican Party's 5th Congressional District assembly. Polis said he was looking for "someone who would cut costs and waste and would work hard to made higher education affordable," adding that Montera's previous campaign for the board would make him "a more effective regent."

Polis said he wanted to make the appointment quickly to give the district a representative as the search begins for CU's new president. He also said he hoped to have Montera in place for Tuesday's Board of Regents meeting.

Polis said he chose Montera for the job, in part, for his "deep ties in the community" and because as the son and grandson of Pueblo steelworkers, he was the first in his family to attend college. Montera received a Presidents Leadership Class scholarship to attend the University of Colorado Boulder and earned a bachelor's degree in marketing from the Leeds School of Business that "set him (Montera) up for a successful career in business," Polis said.

Montera, 64, said he plans to seek election to the seat in November and his most important task as regent will be to help select the system's president. He said he also learned during his previous campaign that the cost of higher education has become too high for many in the state to afford, making attending one of the system's campuses impossible for some Colorado residents.

"I’m appreciative for the opportunity to give back to the university that set the course for my life," Montera said during a news conference announcing his appointment. "Now I have the chance to deliver the dream (of a college education) to someone like me."

Montera had a long career in marketing in executive roles with health care giants Johnson & Johnson and Baxter International, as well as consumer brands KFC, PepsiCo, Bath & Body Works and L Brands, which later acquired Bath & Body Works. He has been a self-employed retail and management consultant in Colorado Springs since retiring in 2015 and said he plans to continue serving as vice chair of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic Board of Directors.

The appointment, announced on the University of Colorado Colorado Springs campus, and how quickly Polis made the selection won praise from the university's interim president Todd Saliman, Board of Regents Chair John Kroll, Vice Chair Sue Sharkey, retired UCCS Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak and Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers.

Polis on Monday also named Nick Ragain, president of the Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, to the Colorado Tourism Board. The 11-member panel oversees the Colorado Tourism Office, the primary tourism promotion agency for the state with a $19.3 million annual budget.

Ragain spearheaded plans for the team's 8,000-seat downtown stadium, Weidner Field, which opened in May.

Contact Wayne Heilman 636-0234



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