Ritter hires Rifle High grad to schedule appearances | PostIndependent.com

Ritter hires Rifle High grad to schedule appearances

Dennis WebbGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. A Rifle High School graduate says he has landed a “dream job” on the staff of Colorado’s next governor, Democrat Bill Ritter.And he has some Republicans to thank for helping him get where he is today.Scott Hutchings, 32, will serve as director of operations and advance for Ritter. He’ll be involved with scheduling Ritter’s appearances around the state, and often traveling with the governor.Hutchings played a similar role during Ritter’s campaign, coordinating a bus tour in October and a fly-around of the state in the last days before the November election.Hutchings is a 1993 graduate of Rifle High. His family goes back several generations in western Colorado. He lived in Rifle for five years, and also spent summers at a family ranch near Rifle when he lived in Littleton and Dallas. He knew he wanted to go into politics since he was a kid, and has favored Democrats from early on.”In 1992 I wore a Clinton-Gore button all around high school … just to get the goat of all the government teachers,” he said.He said a lot of staff members at the school were Republicans.”They all gave me a hard time, which was fun, I appreciated it,” he said.One of Hutchings’ antagonists was Todd Ellis. The two got to know each other when Ellis coached the football team and Hutchings was the team manager.”He and I would trade political views all the time. We had a good time with it,” said Ellis, now the school’s principal.The two have continued to remain in touch. Despite their partisan differences, Ellis encouraged Hutchings to become involved in the Colorado Young Democrats.”I said, ‘Even though you’d be on the Democratic side you’d be good,'” Ellis recalled.Hutchings eventually became national vice chairman of Young Democrats of America, and then secretary of the Colorado Democratic Party, as one of the youngest people to hold a leadership post at the state party level.”It’s so great to see a kid of his quality get to where he’s at,” said Ellis. “Obviously we’re better off as a society with Scott helping in the political realm.”I think it’s a good indication of Ritter. When he chooses a guy like Scott to be a point man on something like this, that’s a good commentary on Ritter.”Another Rifle Republican who helped Hutchings along the way was Russell George, currently director of the state Department of Natural Resources. Both were willing to set party politics aside when Hutchings served as an intern for George when George served in the state House of Representatives.Hutchings also went to Metro State and majored in political science.He met Ritter while serving as an aide to a Denver City Council member, and got to know him well and respect him during the October bus campaign.”He really seems to have this message that resonated with everyone here in Colorado, and he means it,” Hutchings said. “He’s a very sincere person; what you see is what you get.”Hutchings would love to run for office himself someday. But now’s not the time, with a 6-year-old son and 5-month-old daughter at home and his wife seeking a doctorate degree in political science. For now, Hutchings is just excited about his new job with Ritter.”It’s a great opportunity to see the state and help Bill Ritter fulfill his agenda,” Hutchings said.Before starting his new job, Hutchings is helping arrange Ritter’s swearing-in ceremony, and train and plane trips around Colorado that will follow.Ritter spokesman Evan Dreyer called Hutchings “a great guy.””He’s funny and he’s energetic and he really has an innate ability to pull off what are the most complicated events,” Dreyer said.Contact Dennis Webb: 384-9119dwebb@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

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