Vail Mountain School's Michael Johnston named to state Senate seat in Denver
May 12, 2009 —
Michael Johnston, a Vail Mountain School graduate and the son of former Vail Mayor Paul Johnston, has reportedly been named to fill the state Senate seat of former Senate President Peter Groff in Denver.
Johnston, 34, principal of Mapleton Expeditionary School for the Arts in Thornton, which last year famously graduated all of its seniors and sent them to four-year colleges, was one of President Barack Obama's top education advisers during the 2008 campaign. And Obama visited MESA twice during the campaign.
Johnston was reportedly selected by more than half of the 126 Democrats who comprise the party's selection committee. Groff left his seat in the sprawling Northeast Denver district to take an Obama administration position dealing with faith-based education.
Johnston told RealVail.com he wants to focus on education issues at the state level, but also on the environment, energy and transportation. The most recent legislative session wrapped up last week.
To read more about Johnston's remarkable career since leaving VMS, check out our story in Real News.
On the topic of the environment (and Obama), details of the administration’s $3.4 trillion federal budget released last week revealed a big bump for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden.
The research facility, which received a $110 million stimulus bill infusion from Energy Secretary Steven Chu last month, will see its 2010 budget go up 8 percent to $311 million — an increase of $22 million — if Congress approves Obama’s budget.
The facility is a world leader in researching methods of harnessing renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, geothermal and ethanol. Sen. Mark Udall, a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, was quick to praise the budget increase:
“I’m very glad that President Obama is recognizing what we in Colorado have known for years — that the scientists at NREL can help lead our country’s efforts to become energy independent.”
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