Colorado Firm for Lobbying, Government Relations, Association

About CLS

Advocacy. Prowess. Innovation. 

History

At Colorado Legislative Services, we go above and beyond the immediate. With our unique expertise and lobbying savvy, we offer insights and perspectives that other firms cannot. As one of Colorado’s most-experienced lobbying groups, we have established ourselves as trusted partners with legislators and clients alike. We have formed strategic alliances with government officials at all levels, legislators and industry leaders within the state. Our collaborative approach means that we are able to represent our clients’ best interests with both legislative and executive branches of government. And as a result, we are consistently noted as one of the top firms in Colorado.

 

Get in touch

We at Colorado Legislative Services know that finding the right team to represent you is a choice not to be taken lightly. That’s why we encourage you to consult with us. We can help define the scope of  your needs, your goals, and your budget.

Meet with us ▸

 
 

Lobbyists

 
 

Partner/Owner, Lobbyist

Jim Cole

Jim is a highly accomplished senior executive, consultant, lobbyist and strategist with over 30 years of success in public policy, politics, government, energy, healthcare, financial services, transportation, state budget, local government, education and the nonprofit sector. Over the course of his career he has spearheaded legislation that has resulted in robust energy development, broader access to public k-12 education, enriched opportunities for higher education, higher air and water quality standards, major investments in transportation, and a healthy balance of power between the state and local governments.

Jim immerses himself in learning about his clients’ needs and can put complex issues into relatable terms. He moves people to understand issues first and then support the policies he is advancing. It is because of this strategy and his leadership on oil and gas issues that he was presented with the Denver Business Journal’s “Who’s Who in Energy” award in 2017. 

Some of Jim’s highest accomplishments include creating the Arkansas River State Park, passing the Clean Air Clean Jobs Act and passing the Colorado School of Mines (CSM) Exemplary Institution Act, which enabled CSM to provide one of the highest quality and rigorous research experiences in the nation.

Jim has a Bachelor’s of Science degree from Oregon State University. He has been married 38 years and he and his wife, Mary, have two adult children. Jim is an avid cyclist and has completed nine years of Ride the Rockies and Iowa’s RAGBRAI. He also loves to fly fish and play guitar. His joy is seeing the humor that presents itself in everyday situations and sharing it whenever possible.

 
 
 

 
 
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PARTNER/OWNER, LOBBYIST

Melanie Layton

Melanie joined CLS in 2000 and has nearly 25 years of expertise in public policy, lobbying, business, banking, bioscience and renewable energy. She enjoys working on complex economic development and tax policy, and has one of highest success rates passing incentives for varied industry sectors. She also has experience effectively lobbying k-12 education, capital development and healthcare. Melanie’s strong network of relationships with legislators, as well as influencers in the government and public policy arena, ensures CLS’ clients have unparalleled access to policy leaders.

Before beginning her lobbying career, Melanie was the Public Relations Director for the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, then moved into lobbying as the Legislative Director at Colorado Farm Bureau, while obtaining a Master’s from University of Colorado Denver’s Graduate School of Public Affairs. Prior to that, she received her Bachelor’s from Colorado Christian University. Melanie is a state board member of Girls on the Run and has served as an assistant instructor at the Colorado Mountain Club’s High Altitude Mountaineering School.

Melanie is a married mother to three children and an extreme athlete. Her noteworthy accomplishments include finishing the Leadville 100 Ultra-Marathon, climbing all 58 of Colorado’s mountains over 14,000’, along with numerous high-altitude mountains around the world. Her current athletic focus is Pack Burro Racing, Colorado’s official heritage sport, with her two rescued burros.  Her dedication to these endeavors translates to the vision, planning and execution it takes to succeed in politics and advocacy.

 
 
 

 
 
 
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Partner, Lobbyist

Garin Vorthmann 

Garin began her political career in Washington D.C. working for Senator Wayne Allard and ran the government affairs department at Colorado Farm Bureau before joining Colorado Legislative Services in 2007. She became partner in 2012 and steadfastly through her career, Garin has honed her policy knowledge on issues related to agriculture, including water and property rights. She also is highly skilled as a strategist for higher education, business, liquor, and state licensure issues.

Growing up on a ranch in southwest Colorado gave Garin a strong work ethic and her dedication to understanding an issue completely shows up when representing CLS clients.  Her adeptness in many policy areas and direct manner of speaking means that she is a trusted resource for legislators on both sides of the aisle. She is regarded as a top water policy expert in Colorado and has been recognized for her work bolstering the Colorado business climate by working to align agriculture and energy-- two of the top five drivers of the Colorado economy--on a variety of issues. Garin was recognized as one of Colorado’s “Top Women in Energy” by the Denver Business Journal in 2017. 

She is a proud graduate of Colorado State University where she earned an Agricultural Business degree. Garin has completed Colorado Farm Bureau’s Elite Leaders Academy, is a member of the Women’s Energy Network of Colorado and has served on the Colorado Agricultural Leadership Program board and Butterfly Pavilion’s Fund Development Committee.

In her free time, Garin cherishes time with her husband and two daughters, especially during trips to the mountains. She is an avid reader, sous-chef for her husband and wine connoisseur who frequents the Napa Valley.

 
 
 

 
 
 
 
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Partner, Lobbyist

Zoey DeWolf

Before joining the CLS team in 2012, Zoey managed a successful campaign for a Colorado State Representative. Within the Colorado political arena, she is highly regarded as a strategic operative and lobbyist on advanced industries, human services, arts and culture, economic and workforce development issues; but lobbying the state's powerful Joint Budget Committee is one of her favorite things to do under the golden dome. Her commitment to winning on the complex issues her clients care about and her quick study drove her promotion to partner in 2019.

Prior to her work in Colorado, she was a fellow with the non-profit organization Running Start. In addition to learning how to run strategic campaigns, she spent time working on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. in the office of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, of Arizona. She later worked in the press shop of US Senator Tim Johnson from South Dakota, putting her Communication Studies Bachelor’s degree from Northern Arizona University to work.

Beyond her love for hiking and her obsession with her rescued greyhound, Aldo, Zoey is passionate helping others learn, grow and develop. Deeply invested in the Denver community, she is the Assistant Debate Coach at West High School and is the Chairwoman of the governing board for the college access mentoring nonprofit Minds Matter of Denver. Through MMD she also mentors two high achieving young women from low income backgrounds. Additionally, she serves on an advisory team for the Denver Museum of Nature and Science’s “Institute for Science and Policy,” is a member of the Denver Health Young Professionals Board “Next Generation Giving,” and is a volunteer for the Denver Scholarship Foundation.

 
 

 
 

Office manager

Connie Grider

Since 1999, Connie has been contributing her extensive organizational talents and keen attention to detail to the CLS lobby team and clients, by handling all business operations including information production, research, legislative tracking, bookkeeping, human resources, vendor management, supply management, client interface and event planning.

Connie expertly handles one of the most important functions of the firm: compliance required by the State of Colorado which includes campaign finance disclosures, lobbyist registration and monthly reporting of all client positions on bills to the Secretary of State’s Office. She also stays current with all the reporting requirements and communicates updates and changes to clients. Connie’s accuracy and precision ensures CLS is 100 percent compliant and meets all deadlines. Her tremendous experience, resourcefulness and organization are an asset to the firm and the clients alike.

Over the course of her years with CLS, Connie has pursued her passion for art and has established herself as a professional, gallery-represented and award winning abstract painter. Her work has been featured in Acrylic Artist Magazine, on the DIY Network show “Bargain Mansions” and is in corporate and private collections throughout the country.