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Jane Ellen Norton (born Jane Ellen Bergman, October 12, 1954) was the 46th Lieutenant Governor of the State of Colorado and an unsuccessful candidate for the Republican nomination[1] to challenge U.S. Senator Michael Bennet in the 2010 election. She lost the nomination to current Weld County District Attorney and Tea Party favorite Ken Buck. Norton became the first executive director for the Denver Police Foundation on February 1, 2007,[2] an organization created to enhance public safety and law enforcement in the Denver community. In 2013, Norton filed a lawsuit against the state of Colorado alleging tax payer money being used to provide abortions. The Colorado Supreme Court ruled against Norton in January 2018.[3]

Jane Norton
Jane E. Norton.jpg
46th Lieutenant Governor of Colorado
In office
January 13, 2003 – January 9, 2007
GovernorBill Owens
Preceded byJoe Rogers
Succeeded byBarbara O'Brien
Member of the Colorado House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born (1954-10-12) October 12, 1954 (age 65)
Grand Junction, Colorado, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Mike Norton
Alma materColorado State University, Fort Collins
Regis University

Early life and educationEdit

Norton is the daughter of Elinor Pitman Bergman, a retired Grand Junction teacher and native of Pueblo, and Walter F. "Bus" Bergman, a native of Denver and retired Mesa State College coach. Born and raised in Grand Junction, Norton began teaching middle school in Fort Lupton after graduating from Colorado State University in 1976 with a Bachelor of Science with distinction in health sciences. She also has a Master's of Science in Management degree from Regis University, Denver.

Political careerEdit

Before joining the Owens Administration, Norton worked as a regional director in the US Department of Health and Human Services during the Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations. She has also served in the Colorado House of Representatives, filling the remainder of an unexpired term from mid-1986 to January 1987.

Prior to her election as Colorado's Lieutenant Governor, Norton was appointed Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) by Governor Bill Owens, serving in that capacity from 1999–2002. As such, she had regulatory and programmatic responsibilities including bioterrorism preparedness; disease prevention and epidemiology; health facilities; family and community health services; emergency medical services; air and water quality protection; hazardous waste and solid waste management; and consumer protection. She also created the Office of Suicide Prevention, with an emphasis on teen suicide prevention.[4]

Additionally, Norton served in an array of ancillary capacities: Secretary, State Board of Health; Chair, Governor's Expert Emergency Epidemic Response Committee; Commissioned Officer, Food and Drug Administration; Board of Directors, Regional Air Quality Council; Leadership Council of the Multi-Agency Wildfire Restoration and Rehabilitation Team; Colorado Natural Resource Damages Trustee; Colorado Strategic Planning Group on Health Care Coverage; member of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officers; National Governors' Association's Oral Health Policy Academy Colorado Team; and on the Governor's Disaster Emergency Council.[citation needed]

Colorado Lieutenant GovernorEdit

Norton was sworn in as Colorado's 46th Lieutenant Governor on January 13, 2003, and served in that position throughout Governor Owens' second term, until 2007. She was the third woman and first Republican woman to serve as Lieutenant Governor of Colorado. She served as chair of the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs; liaison for the Owens Administration on health insurance reform; oversaw the state's volunteerism, mentoring, and adoption initiatives; and served as Colorado's delegate to the Aerospace States Association.[5]

In November, 2003, Norton launched and chaired the Lieutenant Governor's Committee to Promote Adoption. She was the honorary chair of the Colorado March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign, Western Region chair for the National Lieutenant Governors Association, served on the Board of Directors of the American Council of Young Political Leaders, and was a member of the Women's Forum of Colorado.[citation needed]

In October 2003, Persons Living with HIV Action Network of Colorado honored her with the Legislator of the Year award for her leadership on legislative issues affecting the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS. Norton was also chosen by Colorado State University to serve as a Monfort Professor in Residence. In 1999, she received Regis University's David M. Clarke, S.J. Innovative Leadership Award and was the 2001 recipient of Colorado State University's College of Applied Human Sciences Honor Alumna Award. Norton has received the US Public Health Service Assistant Secretary's Award for Outstanding Accomplishment for increasing childhood immunization rates. She also received the US Administration on Aging's Outstanding Service to Seniors Award.[citation needed]

Norton lead the successful a 2006 campaign to outlaw gay marriage in Colorado.[6] She co-authored Colorado Amendment 43 together with her husband, Michael J. Norton.[7] This amendment made same-sex marriage unconstitutional in Colorado. She also opposed legal domestic partnerships via her opposition to Colorado Referendum I. She stated that "If we lose the uniqueness of marriage, we lose a fundamental building block of society."[6]

She has also served on the Children's Basic Health Plan Policy Board; Governor's Task Force on Victim Support for the Columbine High School Tragedy; Co-Chair of the Colorado Commission on Children's Dental Health; Task Force on Small Group and Rural Access Issues; the Governor's Task Force for Persons with Disabilities; and the Governor's Blue Ribbon Panel on Workforce Issues in Long Term Care.[citation needed]

In October, 2006, she was invited to speak at the White House Conference on School Safety, where she shared lessons learned from the Columbine High School massacre, citing the importance of interoperable communications, emergency planning, inter-agency training, community participation, and moral literacy.[8]

2010 U.S. Senate campaignEdit

On September 15, 2009, Norton held town-hall meetings in Denver, Colorado Springs, and Grand Junction to announce her bid for the Republican nomination to oppose incumbent U.S. Senator Michael Bennet in 2010. She joined a broad field of Republican primary candidates, including Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, former State Senator Tom Wiens, and businessman Cleve Tidwell.

In the March 16, 2010 Colorado Caucus preference poll, Norton finished a close second (37.51%) to Ken Buck (38.15%), with Tom Wiens in third place (16.48%).[9]

Rather than going to the convention to seek the nomination, Norton got on the ballot by petition. Buck won the convention to get on the ballot, and Wiens subsequently dropped out and endorsed Buck. On August 10, primary election day, Buck defeated Norton by a narrow 51% to 49% margin. Buck faced Michael Bennet, who had defeated Andrew Romanoff in the Democratic primary. Buck was narrowly defeated by Senator Bennet in the November general election.

Personal lifeEdit

Norton's husband Mike is a former U.S. Attorney for Colorado, who currently works in private practice. She has two grown children, and is an avid hiker and skier.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "The Big Line 2010". Archived from the original on November 2, 2009. Retrieved December 3, 2009.
  2. ^ "Executive Director Biography, Jane Norton". Denver Police Foundation. Archived from the original on January 6, 2009. Retrieved September 11, 2009.
  3. ^ "Colorado Supreme Court backs dismissal of abortion lawsuit".
  4. ^ "Biographies of Panelists in a Conference on School Safety". The White House. Retrieved September 11, 2009.
  5. ^ "Jane Bergman Norton, Lieutenant Governor, Colorado". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on May 13, 2004. Retrieved September 11, 2009.
  6. ^ a b Slevin, Colleen (October 27, 2006). "Norton joins gay marriage fight". The Coloradoan. Fort Collins, Colorado. Associated Press. Retrieved September 4, 2019.
  7. ^ Laugesen, Wayne (December 20, 2017). "Beacon of Hope gala to honor Mike and Jane Norton". Denver Catholic. Archdiocese of Denver. Retrieved September 4, 2019.
  8. ^ "Meet Jane Norton". School Safety Partners. Retrieved September 11, 2009.
  9. ^ "Colorado Republican Preference Poll Results". CO GOP. Retrieved March 17, 2010.

External linksEdit