Roy R. Romer (born October 31, 1928) was the 39th Governor of Colorado and served as the superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District from 2001 to 2006.
Family and education
Romer was born in Garden City, Kansas. He grew up in the southeastern Colorado town of Holly. Romer received a bachelor's degree in agricultural economics from Colorado State University in 1950, where he served for one year as President of the Associated Students of Colorado State University. He later received a law degree from the University of Colorado School of Law in 1952. He also studied ethics at Yale University, and was a legal officer in the U.S. Air Force. He and his wife, Bea, have seven children and 19 grandchildren and one greatgrandchild. His son Paul Romer is an economist, and his son Chris Romer, was elected to a Colorado State Senate seat from Denver in November 2006.
Early professional activities
In the 1950s and 1960s, Romer was an attorney in Denver. He was also active in the management of his family's agricultural operations throughout Colorado. Romer has continued and is also the owner, with one of his sons, of a chain of John Deere equipment stores in Colorado, Virginia and Florida. He helped develop Colorado's Centennial Airport, ran a flying school and owned and operated a ski area.
Colorado state government
Romer served in the Colorado House of Representatives from 1958 to 1962 and in the Colorado Senate from 1962 to 1966. Romer was Colorado State Treasurer from 1977 to 1987 (winning re-election to full four-year terms in 1978 and 1982), and a member of the governor's cabinet. Romer was first elected as governor in 1986, and re-elected in 1990 and 1994; he was the last Colorado governor to serve three terms. In 1997, Romer, along with Utah Governor Michael O. Leavitt and Wyoming Governor Jim Geringer, led a bipartisan team of 19 state governors in the founding of Western Governors University.
National political positions
Romer chaired the Democratic Governors Association in 1991. In 1992, he was co-chairman of the Democratic National Platform Committee. Romer served as national vice chair of the Democratic Leadership Council, and was a national co-chairman of the Clinton-Gore '96 campaign. In January 1997, Romer was elected to serve as general chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
From 1992 to 1993, Romer served as chair of the National Governors Association. In 1994–1995 he chaired the Education Commission of the States, and in 1995, was part of a bipartisan effort by the nation's governors to reform Medicaid.
Romer v. Evans
In law, his name is associated with the anti-discrimination suit Romer v. Evans that was brought to the Supreme Court during his tenure as Governor of Colorado. Though he was opposed to the amendment to the Constitution of Colorado in question, he defended the law in state and federal court as his position as Governor during litigation. The Supreme Court ultimately ruled against the state's defense of Amendment 2 has "a rational relationship to legitimate state interests". The Court then invalidate Amendment 2 under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Federal Constitution. The state ultimately failed to give a "Rational basis" to the purpose of the law. The case did not go as far to ruling that homosexuals are protected as intermediate or strict scrutiny under the Fourteenth Amendment and left that question to lower federal and state courts to decide.
Romer v. Grant
In October 2004, Roy Romer and the Los Angeles Unified School District filed suit in the United States District Court, Central District of California against David Grant, a former student of the Los Angeles Unified School District. The suit cited false endorsement of the Lanham Act, violation of the Can-Spam Act, California Statutory Cyber Piracy, violation of the right of publicity under California statutory and common law, and California statutory unfair competition.
The lawsuit alleged David Grant attempted to lure the district's 700,000 students to a pornographic website. Roy Romer and the Los Angeles Unified School District subsequently settled the suit by paying Grant $360,000.00 in exchange for the domain name royromer.com.
Recent professional activities
On June 7, 2000, he became Superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, where he served for six years. On October 12, 2006, the Los Angeles Board of Education unanimously named David L. Brewer III as his successor.
A May 8, 2006 Los Angeles Times article suggested naming a school after Romer. LAUSD announced that Roy Romer Middle School would open in 2008 in the eastern San Fernando Valley.
On April 25, 2007, Roy Romer began his service as the chairman and lead spokesman for Strong American Schools, a nonprofit project responsible for running Ed in 08, an information and initiative campaign funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Eli and Edythe Broad foundation, aimed at encouraging 2008 presidential contenders to include education in their campaign policies.