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Bill Ritter, Jr. was elected as Colorado's 41st governor in 2006 -- the first Colorado-born governor in more than 35 years. Gov. Ritter led Colorado forward by bringing people together to tackle some of the state's biggest challenges. Among other things, he:

- Established Colorado as a national and international leader in renewable energy by building a New Energy Economy that is creating thousands of new jobs and establishing hundreds of new companies.

- Enacted an aggressive business-development and job-creation agenda that is focused on knowledge-based industries of the future, such as energy, aerospace, biosciences, information technology and tourism.

- Initiated sweeping K-12 education reforms to give Colorado children the skills and knowledge they need to compete and succeed in a 21st century global economy.

- Improved access to quality and affordable health care for many of the 800,000 Coloradans who lack health coverage.

Gov. Ritter also led Colorado forward by modernizing the transportation system, protected Colorado's natural treasures and improved the way state government does business.

The sixth of 12 children, Gov. Ritter was raised on a small farm in Arapahoe County. He was a member of the first graduating class of Gateway High School (1974), and he earned his bachelor's degree in political science from Colorado State University (1978) and his law degree from the University of Colorado (1981).

From 1987 to 1990, Gov. Ritter and his wife, First Lady Jeannie Ritter, operated a food distribution and nutrition center in Zambia, Africa.

Gov. Ritter served as Denver's District Attorney from 1993 to January 2005. He earned a national reputation as one of the country's most effective and innovative prosecutors, and several of his programs continue to serve as state and national models.