About Gail

Originally from Chicago, Senator Gail Schwartz fell in love with Colorado’s majesty at the age of 13 on the top of Longs Peak. She earned a Bachelors of Science in Marketing from the University of Colorado School of Business in 1971. Upon locating to the Western Colorado,  she started a family, was a corporate officer of an industry-leading firm designing resort areas in the US and Canada, developed policies and a significant inventory of affordable housing in the Roaring Fork Valley, and was engaged in community service, including the Aspen Public Schools and Hospice.

Dedication of the North Fork methane energy facility with Senator Michael Bennet and developer Tom Vessels.

Dedication of the North Fork methane energy facility with Senator Michael Bennet and developer Tom Vessels.

In 1995, Governor Roy Romer appointed Gail to the Colorado Commission on Higher Education representing Western Colorado. In 2000, Gail ran for public office and was elected to the University of Colorado Board of Regents from the 36 counties of the 3rd Congressional District. As Regent, she served for six years and two years as Vice Chair during an expansive time for CU which included the development of the Anschutz Medical Campus.  In 2006, Gail ran for the Colorado State Senate from District 5, representing 11 counties of Western and Southern Colorado. Senator Schwartz was then re-elected to a second four-year term in 2010 and served as Majority Whip for two years. She was appointed Chair of the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee, Chair of the Capital Development Committee, Chair of the Water Resources Review Committee, and Chair of the Senate Local Government Committee, as well as a member of the Business, Labor and Technology Committee and others during her tenure in the Senate.

Gail with Governor Hickenlooper at a bill signing in 2013.

Gail and fellow legislators with Governor Hickenlooper at a bill signing in 2013.

Senator Schwartz has a distinguished legislative record in education, water, natural resources and energy. Her legislation helped build Colorado’s New Energy Economy to diversify and expand Colorado’s “all the above” energy portfolio which continues to create jobs and investment.

Gail is widely known as a champion for social justice and for tirelessly promoting the quality of life and economic interests of rural Colorado. One of her key legislative achievements is the “BEST Bill” — Building Excellent Schools Today — which has built over $1.25 Billion of new K-12 schools, revived civic pride, and jump-started the economies of rural communities throughout Colorado.

Gail with her husband Alan, children and grandchildren

Gail with her husband Alan, three daughters, sons-in-laws, and two grandchildren

As a resident of the Western Slope for over forty years, Gail continues to dedicate herself to making Western and Southern Colorado the best possible place to live, work, raise a family, and educate our children. Gail’s integrity and record bespeak of a lifetime committed to preserving Colorado’s majestic environment, and protecting its water, natural resources, agricultural economy and building strong rural communities. Gail and her husband Alan of 35 years reside in Crested Butte, Colorado.  She currently serves Colorado through numerous nonprofit boards, consulting, and holds a judicial appointment to the Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District.

  • University of Colorado, BS Business 1971
  • Harvard University Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program (Gates Fellow)
  • Horizons Energy Policy Legislative Institute – University of Idaho
  • Council of State Governments Legislative Academy
  • Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee, Chair
  • Local Government Committee, Chair and Member
  • Capital Development Committee, Chair and member
  • Water Resources Review Interim Committee, Chair and Vice Chair
  • Colorado Tourism Board, Agritourism and Heritage Tourism Board Member
  • Colorado Foundation for Water Education, Board Member
  • InterBasin Compact Committee (IBCC), Legislative Representative
  • Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action Oversight Committee, Chair
  • Joint Select Committee Appointments: Redistricting, Severance Tax, Economic Development, Renewable Energy and Health Care
  • National Council of State Legislatures (NCSL) Energy Supply Taskforce, Member
  • National Council of State Legislatures (NCSL) Environment Committee, Vice Chair
  • Council of State Governments (CSG) WestTrends Board, Member
  • Council of State Governments (CSG) West – Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Chair
  • Council of State Governments (CSG) Executive Committee
  • Joint Select Committee on the Implementation of Amendment 64 legalizing Marijuana
  • Green Jobs Advisory Council, Member
  • Energy Council Executive Committee, Member
  • CollegeInvest, Member
  • Colorado Early Learning Opportunities Commission, Member
  • Council of State Governments (CSG) West, Energy and Public Lands Committee, Member
  • Veterans Green Jobs, former board member
  • Aspen Education Foundation, past president and member
  • Rotary Club of Aspen
  • Aspen Community Foundation, Board Member
  • El Pomar San Juan, Regional Council Member
  • Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District
  • Alliance for Sustainable Colorado
  • Colorado Open Lands, Board Member
  • Roaring Fork Pre Collegiate Program, Board Member
  • 2006 Distinguished Service Award– University of Colorado Community
  • 2007 Legislator of the Year- Independent Bankers of Colorado
  • 2007 Resolution of Appreciation – University of Colorado Board of Regents
  • 2009 Legislator of the Year – Rocky Mountain Farmers Union
  • 2010 Legislator of the Year – Rocky Mountain Farmers Union
  • 2011 Colorado Petroleum Association Legislator of the Year
  • 2012 Legislator of the Year Award- Colorado Association of Conservation Districts
  • 2012 Acequia Advocate Award- Sangre de Cristo Acequia Association
  • 2012 Veterans Green Jobs Award
  • 2013 Choice Award- Choose Outdoors
  • Rotary Paul Harris Fellow
  • 2013 Randy Udall Award – Colorado Renewable Energy Society
  • 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award – Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association
  • 2014 Johnson-Theos Bridge Builder Award – Club 20
  • 2014 Friend of Colorado Agricultural Council
  • 2014 Geological Heritage Award for Legislators-
  • American Institute of Professional Geologists
  • 2015 Legislator Recognition Award Community Health Centers
  • 2017 CEA COLORADAN AWARD