Former Colorado Assistant House Minority Leader Cole Wist has rejoined the firm of Squire Patton Boggs in Denver.
The law firm announced Monday that Wist was returning to handle workplace safety, health, and industrial crisis management; labor and employment; and complex litigation.
"I have known Cole for the better part of 20 years and can attest that his background and expertise are exactly the right fit to broaden our capabilities across a number of disciplines," said Peter S. Gould, managing partner for the Denver office, in a statement.
"... Through his legal and political work, Cole has cultivated a reputation of high character, integrity, and bipartisanship, resulting in many relationships in the business community and across the political spectrum. We are thrilled to welcome Cole back to our firm.”
Wist served two terms in the Colorado House, from 2016 to 2019, losing his seat last November to Democrat Tom Sullivan, both of Centennial. Wist had co-sponsored a "red flag" bill in the 2018 session that drew the ire of his minority leader, Rep. Patrick Neville of Castle Rock, as well opposition campaigning by Rocky Mountain Gun Owners.
Sullivan, a gun control advocate whose son, Alex, was murdered in the Aurora theater shooting in 2012, went on in the 2019 session to see the red flag bill passed and signed into law.
When Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO) and state GOP vice-chair Kristi Burton Brown announced in May they would seek to recall Sullivan, Wist split with his party to denounce the effort.
At that time, Wist tweeted, "I was in denial. Until yesterday. Last year, state GOP leadership failed to speak up to defend me when RMGO carpet bombed my house district with negative flyers. Now, these same leaders pledge to work with RMGO to take out my successor in a recall. I do not support this effort."
In another tweet, Wist added: "It is unfortunate but crystal clear. RMGO owns the Colorado Republican Party."
Brown pulled the petition to recall Sullivan a month later. The recall drew opposition money, to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars, from gun control groups.
During his time in the General Assembly, Wist and then-Assistant House Majority Leader Alec Garnett teamed up on several major legislative projects, including passing a construction defects law in the 2017 session that attempted to resolve years of fighting between developers and homeowners over condo defects. He also championed measures like establishing a civil rape shield law, consumer data privacy and mediation tied to the state's open records law.
Wist was seen as a possible candidate for attorney general in 2018, but chose to run for re-election to the state House instead.
Wist told Colorado Politics Monday that he spent 11 years of his career at Squire Patton Boggs prior to his days in the legislature. "I'm very focused and excited about my return to the private sector and my work or my clients," Wist said Monday. "I was looking for an opportunity to work in a firm that had a broad platform that included policy work, which will allow me to utilize my skills and experience as an elected official in working on the issues I cared about in the legislature. It's the right fit for me. I'll have an opportunity to do more public policy work and I'm thrilled about that."
As to his political future, Wist said he is not thinking about what comes down the road. "I'm focused on my career and what I'm doing at the firm. We'll leave those other questions to another day. I'm planning to continue working on the issues I care about."
Wist added that the most important title folks have is citizen and being actively engaged as a citizen is extremely important. I'll take that seriously."