Terence P. Fagan
President & CEO, Colorado Nonprofit Association since March 2009
JD, Northwestern University BA, University of Chicago
I served in the Colorado House of Representatives from 1987-1992, representing a district in El Paso County as a Democrat. My public service also includes Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Revenue for Governor Roy Romer (1992-1999), Deputy Attorney General for State Services for Ken Salazar and John Suthers (1999-2006) and State Director for U.S. Ken Salazar from December 2006 to January 2009. Of these roles, State Representative and working for Sen. Salazar were inherently political. In the other positions, I worked for a Democratic official (except two years with John Suthers) who won re-election during my service. During all of this period, I was actively involved in the state and local Democratic party. While partisan, the politics of that era were practical and required compromise and working across the aisle. After becoming CEO of the Colorado Nonprofit Association in March 2009, I was not involved in the party except to make a nominating speech at the Jefferson County Democratic Assembly for Dave Ruchman, a long-time friend, when he ran for state Senate (2010.) My campaign contributions until the 2018 election cycle were mostly to friends with whom I shared public service. In 2018 and 2020 election, I made contributions to candidates to support change in our country. State McCann for Colorado People for Matt Jones Chris Kennedy for Colorado Neville for Colorado Jessie Danielson for Colorado Phil Weiser for Colorado Colorado Democratic Party Brianna for Colorado Federal Perlmutter for Colorado Jason Crow for Colorado Bennet for Colorado Hickenlooper for Colorado Act Blue
Mile High United Way, Board of Trustees, 2010-present Metro Denver Leadership Foundation, Board, 2014-2020 National Council of Nonprofits, Board member and Chair for 2 years (2013-2019) Colorado Commission on Higher Education, 2015-2019 (Vice-Chair during final year) Colorado CPA Society, Board, 2016-present Colorado Education Initiative, Board, 2019-present
I devoted my life for the last 35 years to making Colorado a better place to live through advocacy and considering interest groups. I have come to know all regions of the state extensively and to appreciate the different regional economies and cultures. As the lone Democrat in the House from El Paso County, I advocated for change in air quality, mined land reclamation, school finance and tax policy (before TABOR) in ways that differentiated me. At the same time, I listened to and represented other views (e.g. home schooling, support for death penalty). I worked with state and local agencies to solve every-day constituent problems with government. I was re-elected twice and did not run in 1992. Gov. Romer and Ken Salazar (both as AG and Senator) actively traveled to and involved all regions of the state. Both believed that governing was the art of the possible, while making decisions based on principle and rarely for politics. One good example was fashioning the refund mechanism for the first TABOR surplus in 1997. As the Revenue Director, I played a key role in presenting options. The Governor favored a per capita refund and the Republicans (who controlled both houses) favored an income tax reduction (which benefitted upper incomes.) During a special session, all eventually agreed on the sales tax refund based on tiered income levels, which required a compromise by all and a lot of negotiation, in which I played a role for the Governor. Sen. Salazar had a specific set of goals to achieve for each region of the state which involved federal policy (e.g. water, agriculture, job creation, public land use.) In my role as State Director, I worked with the Senator and our state staff to listen to local citizens and elected officials, turn these needs into a plan and track progress. Colorado Nonprofit Association is a statewide organization with 1,500 nonprofit members. We advocate for public policies and public awareness that support a strong nonprofit community, such as charitable giving. My knowledge of and relationships across the state have helped for the Association to advocate for the essential community work of nonprofits. The Association has spearheaded several legislative policy initiatives to grow charitable giving, most recently Donate to a Colorado Nonprofit that enables a taxpayer to donate their state income tax refund to an eligible nonprofit of their choice. In 2018, we also merged with a similar organization in Colorado Springs which required balancing the interests of two organizations and their members and merging two organizational cultures to better serve the Pikes Peak Region and nonprofits statewide. In sum, I believe that representing, advocating for and considering the interests of groups in Colorado is what I have done and do every day.
Our democracy depends on citizen participation and the belief that individuals can influence government by voting for representatives. Legislative districts should fairly represent communities of interest and be balanced sufficiently to allow the votes of all community members to be influential in the election outcome. Based on my experience representing a legislative district where the voting performance favored the other party, I believe that competitive districts make for responsive representation and accountability to the most people. I also recognize that given the concentration of partisan affiliations in certain areas, drawing competitive districts is difficult, and in those cases, retaining communities of interest should be paramount. I also want to serve because I would like to use my decades of experience and knowledge to continue giving back to Colorado through the important process of legislative redistricting. It would be an honor to serve on the Commission.
Consensus begins with agreement on a shared set of values and guiding principles. In this case, the laws setting forth redistricting criteria provide most of the guiding principles. These principles establish the framework for fairness and impartiality. As a group, we should always refer back to the law when considering options. The commissioners should also establish a set of ground rules that allow for all views to be heard and respected. When disagreements arise, we should work for compromise as a group and be willing to compromise individually in accordance with the law and guiding principles. My experience as a legislator, attorney, board chair and CEO negotiating agreements has all involved establishing guiding principles and then listening, negotiating, and suggesting language acceptable to all.
I practiced law for 14 years (six in private practice and eight at the Attorney General’s Office.) Applying rules to a set of facts, through analytical skills, logic and reason is what lawyers do. As director of the Revenue Department, we faced several dynamic problems requiring solution, including a new vehicle emission testing system, modernizing legacy computer systems, revising tribal Indian gaming compacts to name a few. As CEO of the Colorado Nonprofit Association, I negotiated agreements to form a collaborative shared space, sell a wholly-owned insurance agency and merge with another nonprofit, each of which involved problem solving within a framework of logic and law.