Republican Cole Wist, an attorney at the Denver offices of global law firm Squire Patton Boggs and a former assistant minority leader of the Colorado House of Representatives, will serve on the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission after the Senate voted 34-1 to approve his appointment.
Wist is set to replace fellow Republican Bill Leone on the panel after his four-year term expires in July. Leone has sat on the commission since he was appointed by former Gov. John Hickenlooper in 2013. He subsequently was reappointed to a second, four-year term by the Senate in 2017.
Senate President Leroy Garcia noted in a statement that even though they come from different parties, he believed Wist was “an honest, principled man with integrity.”
“I have no doubt that Cole Wist’s exemplary character and experience will make him an extremely valuable member of the Independent Ethics Commission,” the Pueblo Democrat said.
Wist also drew praise from Greenwood Village Democratic Sen. Jeff Bridges, the only Senate lawmaker to speak on the appointment before the vote.
“Having worked with Cole for years, I’m excited to see him in this position,” Bridges said.
Sen. Larry Liston, R-Colorado Springs, was the sole “no” vote on Wist’s confirmation.
Wist was first appointed to the House in 2016 to replace fellow Republican Jack Tate, who was himself appointed to fill a vacancy in the Senate.
Wist went on to win an election for that seat later that year and served as assistant House minority leader in the 2017 and 2018 sessions before facing opposition from within his own caucus over support for the 2018 red flag bill. He subsequently lost the seat to Democratic challenger Tom Sullivan, who carried that legislation across the finish line and saw it signed into law during the 2019 session.
Wist was also among a group of more than 100 prominent anti-Trump Republicans calling on the GOP to fix itself in a national letter released earlier this month.
The letter, titled "A Call for American Renewal," calls on the Republican Party to embrace a set of core principles or face the prospects of losing members, possibly to a breakaway third party.