Witwer, John

Written by Linda Kirkpatrick on .



John Witwer

1940 -

Originally from western Pennsylvania. Moved to Evergreen in 1979. He attended Amherst College and Cornell Medical School, and completed his Residency at the University of Vermont and Denver Children's Hospital. In 1968, he served as a flight surgeon in an US Army Aviation unit in Vietnam and was honorably discharged from the Army at the rank of Captain.  Married to Jean.

John practiced medicine for 30 years, including 23 years at Lutheran Medical Center. While at LMC, he was chairman of the Radiology Department, President of the Medical Staff, and on the LMC Board of Directors. He retired from medicine in 1996. At Lutheran, he was known equally for his kindness and dedication to patients.

In 1998, John was elected to the Colorado House of Representatives, where he served until 2005. He served on the Joint Budget Committee, House Appropriations Committee (vice-chair), Finance Committee, Transportation Committee and the Committee for Health, Environment, Welfare and Institutions. While in the legislature, he was known for his hard work, bipartisanship and commitment to constituent service.

His legislative agenda focused on issues of importance to the mountain community, including mitigating wildfire risk, supporting emergency first responders, planning for growth while preserving natural values, minimizing the impact of industrial development in the mountain community (such as the Lookout Mountain towers), and facilitating open space acquisitions.

Specifically, he worked to minimize the impact on surrounding neighborhoods with the formation of Staunton State Park in Pine.  He helped families displaced by the High Meadows Fire, which destroyed a number of homes and forced the evacuation of more than 3,000 people near Bailey in 2000.  He worked with the Mountain Area Land Trust to help secure funding from the US Forest Service for preservation of the 5,500-acre Beaver Brook Watershed in Clear Creek County when threatened by development; that land was a strategic link in the 20-mile wildlife corridor between Mt. Evans and Evergreen.  He also worked closely with the Evergreen Land Community Coalition in its successful effort to acquire a 13-acre parcel of land owned by the LMC Foundation, integral to the formation of what would become Buchanan Park.

His legislative accomplishments include the “Jake Brake Bill" to mitigate road noise, homestead exemption legislation, the state firefighting resource databank, a land swap for development of Golden recreational facilities, the pediatric hospice program in Medicaid, coroner qualifications, Hepatitis C coverage for police, firefighters and emergency responders, a tax checkoff for the Family Resource Center, tuition assistance for Colorado National Guard, members, and legislation establishing state procedures for bioterrorism and epidemic response issues, and legislation improving information about, and access to, childhood immunization.

After stepping down from Legislature, he ran a small state agency until 2006 and currently teaches at Red Rocks Community College in the Physician Assistant Program.

Source: Son Rob Witwer