State of Colorado: Lt. Governor Barbara O'Brien


Lieutenant Governor Barbara O'Brien In January 2007, Barbara O’Brien was sworn in as Colorado's 47th Lieutenant Governor, becoming only the 4th woman to hold the position in Colorado’s history. Her constitutional duties include assuming full powers and responsibilities of Governor Bill Ritter when he is absent from the state or is unable to perform the duties of the office, and her statutory duties include serving as chair of the Colorado Commission on Indian Affairs, which the Colorado General Assembly created in 1976 (See C.R.S. §§ 24-44-101 to 24-44-108) within the Office of the Lieutenant Governor.

Lt. Governor O’Brien’s portfolio in Governor Ritter’s administration includes: serving as co-chair of the newly created P-20 Education Council, co-chairing the Colorado Space Coalition, chairing the Metro Denver Health and Wellness Commission, serving as spokesperson for the Colorado CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program), overseeing the Head Start State Collaboration Office, chairing the advisory committee for the development of a comprehensive early childhood system, overseeing the Governor's Commission on Community Service, and promoting the arts and art education.

Prior to becoming Lt. Governor, O'Brien spent the last 16 years as president of the Colorado Children’s Campaign, a statewide public policy and advocacy nonprofit organization. She led major policy initiatives that increased funding for schools, created charter schools, expanded early childhood education, increased access to health care for uninsured children, reduced teen smoking, and expanded after school programs. O’Brien credits her strong passion and commitment to children’s issues to her education and health policy work for former Gov. Richard Lamm.

Lt. Gov. O’Brien is married to Richard O'Brien, M.D., a doctor specializing in pulmonary medicine and sleep disorders. They moved to Colorado in 1982, have two sons—Jared, 25 and Connor, 21, and two dogs—Tas, 11 and Tika, 4. The O’Briens currently reside in the Congress Park neighborhood in Denver.


Colorado’s 47th Lieutenant Governor 2007 - present
President, Colorado Children’s Campaign 1990 - 2006
Executive Director, Institute for International Business, CU-Denver 1988 - 1990
Director of Campus Affairs, University of Colorado at Denver 1985 - 1988
Head Speechwriter and Deputy Director for Policy for the Office of the Governor, Gov. Richard Lamm 1983 - 1985
Project Assistant, Institute for Urban and Minority Education, Columbia University 1977 - 1979

University of California at Los Angeles, Bachelor of Arts 1972
Columbia University, New York PhD 1981