Denver Post

The head of one of the state’s leading business lobbying groups is stepping down to pursue business interests and to teach. Sam Cassidy, president and chief executive of the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry, said Monday he will leave the organization by June 1. He has been its director for a little more than two years. Cassidy, a former state senator and lieutenant governor under Gov. Roy Romer, said he succeeded in focusing the group’s energy on doing a few things well, including raising the business community’s profile in the Legislature. “Sam really has been an extremely effective advocate for Colorado’s businesses, and we wish him well,” said Jeff Johnson, chairman of the association’s board of directors. Cassidy, 50, shepherded business’ interests through a fruitful legislative session last year, a session that included a $ 100 million annual tax refund for business personal property taxpayers. “We’ve been effective at the Legislature,” he said. “The Legislature is the (group’s) core product.” When Cassidy came to the job, the association’s membership was stagnant. “It wasn’t on anyone’s radar screen,” he said. During his tenure, the organization’s membership grew from about 1,300 to about 1,700 members. “Making the economy relevant to every citizen in the state” was among Cassidy’s goals for the organization. “Sam has done a great job,” said Tom Clark, president of the Jefferson County Economic Council, a job Cassidy held previously. “He’s brought that organization back to a position of prestige within the state.” Cassidy said he made the decision to leave in September but agreed to stay through one more legislative session, which ends in May. His departure will leave two top posts in the organization unfilled. Rob Schwartz, who had been executive vice president, left in November. His position remains vacant. An allegation of sexual harassment has been lodged aga…

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