DENVER (AP) – Colorado’s lieutenant governor breezed through a Senate confirmation hearing allowing him to also lead the state Department of Higher Education.

The Senate Education Committee voted 8-0 Thursday to confirm Joe Garcia as the first lieutenant governor to also lead a state agency. Garcia was president of Colorado State-Pueblo before his election and has been acting as department head while the Legislature passed a bill specifically allowing the dual role.

Gov. John Hickenlooper made a rare appearance before the committee to endorse his second-in-command. Hickenlooper has pitched the dual role as a cost-savings for the state.

Garcia joked that the lieutenant governor job requires more work than he imagined, but he assured senators he can fill both roles. The full Senate will consider the confirmation next.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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