After serving as chief of staff for the Colorado Senate Republicans for five sessions, Jesse Mallory takes over as state director of Americans for Prosperity-Colorado, the influential conservative organization announced Monday.

AFP-Colorado’s previous state director, Michael Fields, was named senior director of issue education for the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, a related organization, he announced in a series of tweets on the last day of the legislative session earlier this month.

“I look forward to fighting for policies that promote economic freedom for the citizens of Colorado,” Mallory said in a statement. “As chief of staff in the Senate majority office for the last three years, I’m acquainted with the importance of reaching across the aisle.”

The veteran political operative brings strong connections with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to the nonpartisan organization, the group said in a release.

“AFP is a nonpartisan organization driven by a policy agenda that strives to keep taxes low and hold government accountable for spending, informing citizens and working with like-minded elected officials to get the job done,” Mallory said. “The bottom line — Coloradans deserve more of their hard-earned money in their own bank accounts, not the state account.”

The state organization claims the support of more than 125,000 Coloradans and is part of a nation-wide network funded by billionaires Charles and David Koch and their ideological cohorts.

Senate President Kevin Grantham had high praise for Mallory.

“Naturally, we’re saddened by his departure but also pleased that he’ll be working for an organization we have a lot of respect for, even when we differ at times on policy details,” Grantham said in a statement.

“Jesse brought a lot of passion, experience and street smarts to his work; he deserves a good measure of credit, in my opinion, for the fact that Republicans regained control of the Colorado State Senate,” the Cañon City Republican added. “So we’re extremely grateful for his contributions here and wish him similar success in this next endeavor.”

Last year during the legislative session, Grantham’s predecessor, former Senate President Bill Cadman, R-Colorado Springs, credited AFP-Colorado with helping win the GOP’s 18-17 majority in the Senate after the 2014 election, handing Republicans the gavel for the first time in a decade. The party kept the majority by the same margin after the 2016 election.

Grantham also said that Ariana Busby, previously the policy director for the Senate GOP, will be chief of staff going forward. She started work for the Senate Republicans four years ago as an intern, he noted.

Fields, who was promoted two years ago to run the state organization from deputy state director, said AFP-Colorado had notched some big wins but still had plenty on its plate.

“I’m proud of the work that our volunteers and staff have done over the last few years,” he told The Colorado Statesman. “Some of the big highlights include: opposing Amendment 69, helping defeat a $700 million tax hike this session and helping educate Coloradans about the importance of equal funding for charter schools.” He noted that legislation equalizing charter-school funding passed this session.

The state organization also ran an extensive door-to-door advocacy campaign against Democratic congressional nominee Morgan Carroll, a former Senate president, in last year’s election. The incumbent Republican, U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, defeated Carroll by a wide margin.

“But there is certainly more to be done,” Fields continued. “TABOR is constantly under attack, our pension system is a wreck, and legislators refuse to prioritize the state budget. AFP-CO will continue to promote economic freedom across the state — and I’m excited to stay involved while in my new position.”

As senior director of issue education of the national organization, Fields said he’ll be working on policy issues for the states where AFP operates — it has chapters and affiliates in 35 states across the country — such as school choice, right-to-work policies and free speech concerns. He added that he’ll be concerned more with long-term views than on specific legislation or ballot measures. He’ll continue to live in Colorado with his family.

ernest@coloradostatesman.com

CORRECTION: Mallory served as chief of staff for Senate Republicans for five sessions, starting in the 2012 regular session and continuing through the just-concluded 2017 regular session. He was chief of staff for the Senate majority for three sessions.

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