Sen. Michael Bennet Climate Change & the Environment/Food & Water Insecurity Panel Friday, October 20 – 11:00 am – 12:15 pm
Michael Bennet has represented Colorado in the United States Senate since 2009. Recognized as a pragmatic and independent thinker, he is driven by an obligation to create more opportunity for the next generation. Michael has built a reputation of taking on Washington dysfunction and working with Republicans and Democrats to address our nation’s greatest challenges—including education, climate change, immigration, health care, and national security. Before serving in the Senate, Michael worked to restructure failing businesses and helped create the world’s largest movie theater chain. As superintendent of the Denver Public Schools, he led one of the most extensive reform efforts in the country, resulting in substantial, sustained academic improvement for Denver’s children. He lives in Denver with his
wife and three daughters.
Kristin Deal Social Justice & Prejudice/Health & Education Panel Saturday, October 21 – 4:00 PM – 5:15 PM
Dr. Kristin Deal is the Assistant Vice Chancellor for DEI Partnerships & Operations at the University of Denver, and an adjunct professor of Higher Education at the Morgridge College of Education. Dr. Deal, as a scholar-practitioner, is engaged in the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion, with a specific focus on the intersections of race, gender, emotionality, and inclusive practices. Whether in research or everyday practice, Dr. Deal’s work seeks to create welcoming and affirming learning environments for students, faculty, and staff. Kristin’s work engages all areas of campus including the curricular and co-curricular spaces toward providing an understanding of, scoping for, implementation and evaluation of DEI initiatives, challenges, and practices in support of the DU community.
Kristin holds a doctorate in Higher Education from DU and resides in Denver with her family.
Lucille Echohawk Social Justice & Prejudice/Health & Education Panel Saturday, October 21 – 4:00 PM – 5:15 PM
Lucille Echohawk is a citizen of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma and resides in Arvada, Colorado. She has worked in the Indian child welfare, non-profit and philanthropic fields for more than thirty years. She was employed for twelve years as a Strategic Advisor with Casey Family Programs, a national private operating foundation. She served as Executive Director of the Denver Indian Family Resource Center 2012-2014, and then again in that capacity as a volunteer from 2018 until 2020. Though formally retired she continues to be active in community, state and national endeavors.
She holds a BA degree from Brigham Young University and an MEd from Erikson Institute for Early Education, Loyola University – Chicago.
Lucille served on The Women’s Foundation of Colorado’s Board of Trustees from 1990-96 and has participated as an Honorary Trustees in the years since that service. In 2021 she served as an honorary co-chair of the Foundation’s annual fundraising luncheon.
Julie Gonzales Social Justice & Prejudice/Health & Education Panel Saturday, October 21 – 4:00 PM – 5:15 PM
Colorado Senate Majority Whip Julie Gonzales is a progressive Democrat serving north, west, and downtown Denver as the state Senator for Senate District 34. With roots that stretch back generations in Colorado, Julie has spent her life organizing working people, Latinos, and young people on issues of affordable housing, educational justice, and immigrant rights. In her first term in office, she allocated millions of dollars towards affordable housing, strengthened protections for immigrant communities from ICE, repealed the death penalty, and streamlined Colorado’s marijuana regulations. She serves as Chair of the Judiciary Committee; Chair of the Committee on Legal Services; and as a member of the Local Government & Housing and State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committees. She serves as the Co-Chair of the Colorado Democratic Latino Caucus and the Parliamentarian of the Board of Latino Legislative Leaders.
Tom Gonzales, MPH Social Justice & Prejudice/Health & Education Panel Saturday, October 21 – 4:00 PM – 5:15 PM
Tom Gonzales serves as Public Health Director for Larimer County Department of Health and Environment (LCDHE). Gonzales holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Health from Colorado State University and a Master in Public Health from the University of Northern Colorado. Prior to joining LCDHE, he was Deputy Public Health Director at El Paso County Public Health overseeing Emergency Preparedness and Response, Environmental Health and the Laboratory.
Previously, Gonzales was Program Manager of Environmental Health at Clark County Public Health (WA) addressing on-site wastewater management, water recreation and drinking water. He led the environmental health response and recovery activities after four wildfires and two flood events in El Paso County. Gonzales’ national and local involvement includes a term as regional vice president for the National Environmental Health Association where he pioneered the sustainability committee, charged with proposing the role of sustainability in environmental health. Gonzales also served on the executive committee for the Colorado Association of Local Public Health Officials and was president of the Colorado Environmental Health Association (CEHA).
Gonzales currently serves as the Chair for the Larimer Regional Opioid Council and serves on the board for the Trailhead Institute. In 2013, Gonzales was awarded the Milton M. Miller Award, CEHA’s highest honor for an environmental health professional. In 2018, Gonzales was appointed by the Governor to serve on the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission. In 2022, Gonzales was awarded the Delta Omega Honorary Member for meritorious distinction by the Colorado School of Public Health. Tom and his wife are blessed with two children. Together, they enjoy the Colorado outdoors, including hiking, fishing, and hunting.
Mike Kruger Climate Change & the Environment/Food & Water Insecurity Panel Friday, October 20 – 11:00 am – 12:15 pm
Mike has served as the President and CEO of COSSA since October 2018. Previously, he was the Director of Communications for the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) in Washington, DC. He oversaw all public communications for the organization, including public speaking engagements, research reports and the annual SEPA Power Players Awards program.
Prior to joining SEPA, Kruger was the Deputy Director of Communications for the U.S. Department of Commerce under the Obama Administration. He also served on the communications staff for the U.S. House of Representatives Education and Labor Committee. Kruger earned a Master of Arts in Education and Social Justice from the University of London and a Bachelor of Arts in History from Western Washington University. When he’s not explaining the wonders of the electric grid, you can find him watching baseball.
Erin Pulling Climate Change & the Environment/Food & Water Insecurity Panel Friday, October 20 – 11:00 am – 12:15 pm
Erin has served as CEO of Food Bank of the Rockies since January 2019. Food Bank of the Rockies ignites the power of community to nourish people facing hunger – distributing enough food every day for 180,000 meals. With a staff of 250, volunteer base of 15,000, and four distribution facilities, Food Bank of the Rockies serves 32 Colorado counties and all of Wyoming.
Prior to Food Bank of the Rockies, Erin spent 24 years at Project Angel Heart, the last fourteen of which as CEO.
Clinton D. White Climate Change & the Environment/Food & Water Insecurity Panel Friday, October 20 – 11:00 am – 12:15 pm
Mr. Clinton D. White serves as the Counselor for the United States Agency for International Development. He has more than 20 years of experience in the public sector and is a member of the Senior Foreign Service.
Prior to this assignment, Mr. White joined the Barbados-based USAID Mission in the Eastern and Southern Caribbean (ESC) in September 2019 as the Regional Representative, assuming leadership of the Mission’s portfolios in the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and Barbados, Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Bahamas. USAID’s work in the ESC region directly supports U.S. foreign policy priorities, fortifying efforts to stem crime and violence, promoting sustainable development growth programs, addressing food security, and building resilience to natural disasters and climate change.