Open main menu

John William Suthers (born October 18, 1951) is the mayor of Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the former Attorney General of Colorado, Executive Director of Colorado Department of Corrections, U.S. Attorney for Colorado and Fourth Judicial District Attorney. He is a member of the Republican Party.

John Suthers
JohnWSuthers crop.jpg
41st Mayor of Colorado Springs
Assumed office
June 3, 2015
Preceded bySteve Bach
37th Attorney General of Colorado
In office
January 4, 2005 – January 13, 2015
GovernorBill Owens
Bill Ritter
John Hickenlooper
Preceded byKen Salazar
Succeeded byCynthia Coffman
United States Attorney for the District of Colorado
In office
August 2001 – January 2005
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
Preceded byTom Strickland
Succeeded byTroy Eid
Personal details
John William Suthers

(1951-10-18) October 18, 1951 (age 67)
Denver, Colorado, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Janet Suthers
EducationUniversity of Notre Dame (BA)
University of Colorado, Boulder (JD)


Suthers was born in Denver [1]and adopted a month later by William and Marguerite Suthers of Colorado Springs. His father died when Suthers was 15, and his mother died when he was 23.

He attended St. Mary's High School in Colorado Springs, and the University of Notre Dame, from which he graduated magna cum laude with a degree in government in 1974. Suthers graduated from the University of Colorado School of Law in 1977. He attended college and law school on academic scholarships.[2]

Professional careerEdit

Suthers as U.S. Attorney

From 1977 to 1981, Suthers served as a deputy and chief deputy district attorney in Colorado Springs. From 1979 to 1981, he headed the Economic Crime Division of the district attorney’s office and co-authored a book on consumer fraud and white-collar crime. During his time as a prosecutor at the local level, he tried cases ranging from drunken driving to first degree murder and from shoplifting to securities fraud.

In 1981, Suthers became a litigation partner in the Colorado Springs law firm of Sparks Dix, P.C. He remained with the firm until 1988, at which time he defeated an incumbent[3] to become the elected district attorney of the Fourth Judicial District. He served as president of the Colorado District Attorneys Council in 1994-1995.[4] At the conclusion of his second term, Suthers returned to Sparks Dix in 1997 as senior counsel in charge of the firm’s litigation section. He then ran for Attorney General in 1998 and lost 47.4% to 50% [5] to Ken Salazar.

In January 1999, Suthers was appointed executive director of the Colorado Department of Corrections by Governor Bill Owens. In that capacity he managed a department of 6,000 employees and an annual budget of more than $500 million.[6]

In August 2001, Suthers was appointed by President George W. Bush as United States Attorney for the District of Colorado. He was unanimously confirmed by the United State Senate and assumed the position the week before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.[7] During his tenure as U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado, he led the state's anti-terrorism efforts and his office prosecuted several high-profile white collar cases, including cases against executives of Qwest.[8]

Following the election of Ken Salazar to the United States Senate, John Suthers was nominated by Governor Owens and confirmed by the State Senate as the 37th Attorney General of Colorado in January 2005. Suthers served the remaining two years of Salazar's term before running for reelection in 2006. In November 2006, Suthers won election to the Attorney General's Office, defeating challenger Fern O'Brien by nine percent. During the same election cycle, the Republican candidate for Governor, Bob Beauprez, lost 56–40.[9]

Despite being courted in 2008 and 2010 to run for the U.S. Senate, Suthers chose to run for re-election. Suthers defeated his Democratic opponent, Stan Garnett, in 2010 election by a 13-point margin[10] – the largest margin of victory in a two-way race in Colorado that year. In both 2006 and 2010, Suthers received the endorsement of virtually every major newspaper in Colorado.[11][12] including The Denver Post, which called him a "tireless public servant".[13]

Suthers served on the executive committee of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) from 2007 to 2013.[14] He chaired the NAAG Criminal Law Committee from 2005 to 2007 and was a member of the U.S. Attorney General’s Executive Working Group on Prosecution from 2005 to 2015.[4] He served as the Chairman of the Conference of Western Attorneys General (CWAG) in 2009-2010.

In December 2008, Suthers personally argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on the case of Kansas vs. Colorado. The issue was decided in favor of Colorado.

In June 2012, Suthers was awarded the Kelley-Wyman Award by the National Association of Attorneys General. It is the highest award given by the Association and is presented annually to the Attorney General who has done the most to advance the interests of the Association. Suthers had been a principal negotiator for the state attorneys general in the National Mortgage Settlement in which the nations five largest mortgage services agreed to pay $25 billion in compensation for loan servicing misconduct.

Suthers was the second longest-serving attorney general in Colorado history. Only Duke Dunbar, who served 22 years from 1951-1973, had a longer tenure as Colorado Attorney General.

Suthers has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Denver School of Law[15] and as a scholar in residence at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs.[16] He also has held several bar association leadership positions, including president of the El Paso County Bar Association and senior vice president of the Colorado Bar Association.[4] He served as Colorado Commissioner on the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws from 1993 to 1997.[4]

Mayor of Colorado SpringsEdit

On May 19, 2015, Suthers was elected Mayor of Colorado Springs, defeating former Mayor Mary Lou Makepeace in a runoff election by a 68% to 32%. Colorado Springs is the 40th largest city in the United States. The city's brand is "Olympic City USA." The city is home to the U.S. Olympic Committee, the U.S. Olympic Training Center, 23 Olympic sport governing bodies and the U.S. Olympic Museum and Hall of Fame will open in 2020.

Suthers stated his priorities as restoring a collaborative relationship with City Council and other governmental entities in the Pikes Peak region, addressing the city's infrastructure issues, particularly roads and stormwater, and aggressively promoting new job creation.

In November 2015, his plan to temporarily increase sales taxes for five years in order to raise $250 million to repair roads in Colorado Springs was approved by the City Council 8 - 1 and by voters by a 65% to 35% margin.

In April 2016, Colorado Springs entered into an intergovernmental agreement with Pueblo County under which the city of Colorado Springs committed to spend at least $460 million over the next 20 years on its stormwater program. The agreement paved the way for a new water delivery project, The Southern Delivery System (SDS), to go online as scheduled. The system is expected to meet the water needs of Colorado Springs for the next 75 years. In November 2017, Colorado Springs voters approved by a 54% to 46% margin a stormwater fee to fund its stormwater program.

In April 2018, Colorado Springs approved an amended annexation agreement for Banning Lewis Ranch, paving the way for development of 24,000 acres that will accommodate the growth of the city for decades to come.

Since 2015, Colorado Springs has added approximately 7,500 jobs per year. The Colorado Springs real estate market is among the best in the country and the Colorado Springs Airport has experienced its first substantial growth in two decades. The city is also experiencing significant increases in tourism.

In December 2015, Suthers was awarded the Colorado Governor's Citizenship Medal, the highest award given to a citizen of Colorado, in recognition of his service as attorney general and for his work as Mayor, to put Colorado Springs on a "very positive trajectory."

In November 2016, Suthers was named Colorado Technology Advocate of the Year for his efforts in establishing a National Cybersecurity Center in Colorado Springs and advancing the city's efforts to become a cybersecurity hub for the nation.

In May of 2017, Suthers was listed among others on a short list of candidates to replace James Comey as the FBI Director after a recommendation to the Trump Administration from Colorado Senator Cory Gardner.[17] While Suthers expressed gratitude for being listed amongst leading law enforcement officials from around the US, he expressed disinterest in moving into any federal position as well as disinterest in any future runs for the office of Governor of Colorado.[18] On April 2, 2019 Suthers was re-elected to a second term as mayor, capturing 74% of the vote in a four way race.

Electoral historyEdit

Colorado Springs Mayoral General election, 2019
Candidate Votes %
Lawrence Martinez 4,160 5%
John Pitchford 8,478 10%
John Suthers 61,830 74%
Juliette Parker 9,512 11%
Colorado Springs Mayoral Runoff election, 2015
Party Candidate Votes %
Non-Partisan John Suthers 65,991 67.58
Non-Partisan Mary Lou Makepeace 31,666 32.43
Colorado Springs Mayoral General election, 2015
Party Candidate Votes %
Non-Partisan John Suthers 40,900 46.37
Non-Partisan Mary Lou Makepeace 20,783 23.56
Non-Partisan Joel Miller 13,794 15.64
Non-Partisan Amy Lathen 10,352 11.74
Non-Partisan Lawrence Martinez 1,125 1.28
Non-Partisan Tony Carpenter 1,048 1.19
Non-Partisan Moses Humes (Write In) 5 0.01
Colorado Attorney General election, 2010
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican John Suthers 960,995 56.3
Democrat Stan Garnett 744,601 43.7
Colorado Attorney General election, 2006
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican John Suthers 789,034 52.4
Democrat Fern O'Brien 652,268 43.4
Libertarian Dwight K. Harding 64,122 4.29


Suthers and his wife Janet have two adult daughters, Alison and Kate. Alison is a Deputy District Attorney in Denver, and Kate is a contract officer at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and a Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserves. Suthers has two grandchildren.

On July 1, 2019, Suther's son-in-law Dr. Mark Karla died following a crash where the Uber in which he was riding was struck by a stolen car fleeing from Denver police.[19] The Uber driver was also killed, and the driver of the stolen vehicle was charged with two counts of vehicular homicide.

Suthers has authored six books, including No Higher Calling, No Greater Responsibility: A Prosecutor Makes His Case (Fulcrum Publishing, 2008).

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "John W. Suthers | Attorney General - State of Colorado". Retrieved April 8, 2019.
  2. ^ "John W. Suthers | Attorney General - State of Colorado". Retrieved April 8, 2019.
  3. ^ "John W. Suthers biography". Archived from the original on April 26, 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d "John W. Suthers CV" (PDF).
  5. ^ "Election results for 1998 Colorado Attorney General race" (PDF).
  6. ^ "Colorado Department of Corrections Statistics Report for the 2000 Fiscal Year" (PDF).
  7. ^ Gorski, Eric; Burnett, Sara. "Bonds between local law enforcement, Muslims strengthening". Denver Post.
  8. ^ "Qwest Under Justice Dept. Microscope". Daily News. New York.
  9. ^ "2006 Election Results". Archived from the original on December 6, 2006.
  10. ^ "Election results for 2010 Attorney General race".
  11. ^ "Will newspaper endorsements prove sage?".
  12. ^ "John Suthers for AG: News". Archived from the original on October 21, 2010.
  13. ^ "Denver Post editorial: A second term for AG Suthers".
  14. ^ "Attorney General appointed to NAAG Executive Committee for fifth year in a row". Archived from the original on August 11, 2011.
  15. ^ "Faculty Profile: Attorney General John Suthers". Archived from the original on December 14, 2012.
  16. ^ "State Attorney General to Teach UCCS Course".
  17. ^ "Gardner Recommends Colorado's Suthers To Head FBI". Denver CBS Local. May 12, 2017. Retrieved September 15, 2019.
  18. ^ "Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, one of the state's top Republicans, on what's ahead for the GOP, his city and his future". The Colorado Sun. December 24, 2018. Retrieved September 15, 2019.
  19. ^ "Colorado Springs mayor's son-in-law dies from injuries in traffic crash last month". The Colorado Springs Gazette. July 10, 2019. Retrieved September 16, 2019.

External linksEdit

Legal offices
Preceded by
Tom Strickland
United States Attorney for the District of Colorado
Succeeded by
Troy Eid
Preceded by
Ken Salazar
Attorney General of Colorado
Succeeded by
Cynthia Coffman
Political offices
Preceded by
Steve Bach
Mayor of Colorado Springs