John Suthers

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John Suthers
JohnWSuthers crop.jpg
41st Mayor of Colorado Springs
Assumed office
June 2, 2015
Preceded by Steve Bach
37th Attorney General of Colorado
In office
January 4, 2005 – January 11, 2015
Governor Bill Owens
Bill Ritter
John Hickenlooper
Preceded by Ken Salazar
Succeeded by Cynthia Coffman
Personal details
Born John William Suthers
(1951-10-18) October 18, 1951 (age 69)
Denver, Colorado, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Janet Suthers
Alma mater University of Notre Dame
University of Colorado, Boulder
Religion Roman Catholicism

John William Suthers (born October 18, 1951) is the current Mayor of Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the former Attorney General of Colorado, U.S. Attorney for Colorado and Fourth Judicial District Attorney. He is a member of the Republican Party.


Suthers was born in Denver, Colorado and adopted a month later by William and Marguerite Suthers, a Colorado Springs couple. His father died when Suthers was 15, and his mother died when he was 23.

He attended St. Mary's High School in Colorado Springs, and the University of Notre Dame, from which he graduated magna cum laude with a degree in government in 1974. Suthers graduated from the University of Colorado School of Law in 1977. He attended college and law school on academic scholarships.

Professional career

From 1977 to 1981, Suthers served as a deputy and chief deputy district attorney in Colorado Springs. From 1979 to 1981, he headed the Economic Crime Division of the district attorney’s office and co-authored a book on consumer fraud and white-collar crime. During his time as a prosecutor at the local level, he tried cases ranging from drunken driving to first degree murder and from shoplifting to securities fraud.

In 1981, Suthers became a litigation partner in the Colorado Springs law firm of Sparks Dix, P.C. He remained with the firm until 1988, at which time he defeated an incumbent[1] to become the elected district attorney of the Fourth Judicial District. He served as president of the Colorado District Attorneys Council in 1994-1995.[2] At the conclusion of his second term, Suthers returned to Sparks Dix in 1997 as senior counsel in charge of the firm’s litigation section. He then ran for Attorney General in 1998 and lost 47.4% to 50% [3] to Ken Salazar.

In 1999, Suthers was appointed executive director of the Colorado Department of Corrections by Governor Bill Owens. In that capacity he managed a department of 6,000 employees and an annual budget of more than $500 million.[4]

In August 2001, Suthers was appointed by President George W. Bush as United States Attorney for the District of Colorado. He was unanimously confirmed by the United State Senate and assumed the position the week before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.[5] During his tenure as U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado, he led the state's anti-terrorism efforts and his office prosecuted several high-profile white collar cases, including cases against executives of Qwest.[6]

Following the election of Ken Salazar to the United States Senate, John Suthers was nominated by Governor Owens and confirmed by the State Senate as the 37th Attorney General of Colorado in January 2005. Suthers served the remaining two years of Salazar's term before running for reelection in 2006. In November 2006, Suthers won election to the Attorney General's Office, defeating challenger Fern O'Brien by nine percent. During the same election cycle, the Republican candidate for Governor, Bob Beauprez, lost 56–40.[7]

Despite being courted in 2008 and 2010 to run for the U.S. Senate, Suthers chose to run for re-election. Suthers defeated his Democratic opponent, Stan Garnett, in 2010 election by a 14-point margin[8] – the largest margin of victory in a two-way race in Colorado that year. In both 2006 and 2010, Suthers received the endorsement of virtually every major newspaper in Colorado.[9][10] including The Denver Post, which called him a “tireless public servant.”[11]

Suthers served on the executive committee of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) from 2007 to 2013.[12] He chaired the NAAG Criminal Law Committee from 2005 to 2007 and was a member of the U.S. Attorney General’s Executive Working Group on Prosecution from 2005 to 2015. [2] He served as the Chairman of the Conference of Western Attorneys General (CWAG) in 2009-2010.

In December 2008, Suthers personally argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on the case of Kansas vs. Colorado. The issue was decided in favor of Colorado.

In June 2012, Suthers was awarded the Kelley-Wyman Award by the National Association of Attorneys General. It is the highest award given by the Association and is presented annually to the Attorney General who has done the most to advance the interests of the Association.

Suthers was the second longest-serving attorney general in Colorado history. Only Duke Dunbar, who served 22 years from 1951-1973, had a longer tenure as Colorado Attorney General.

Suthers has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Denver School of Law[13] and as a scholar in residence at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs.[14] He also has held several bar association leadership positions, including president of the El Paso County Bar Association and senior vice president of the Colorado Bar Association.[2] He served as Colorado Commissioner on the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws from 1993 to 1997.[2]

Mayor of Colorado Springs

On May 19, 2015 Suthers was elected Mayor of Colorado Springs, defeating former Mayor Mary Lou Makepeace in a runoff election by a 68% to 32%. Colorado Springs is the 41st largest city in the United States.

Suthers stated his priorities as restoring a collaborative relationship with City Council and other governmental entities in the Pikes Peak region, addressing the city's infrastructure issues, particularly roads and stormwater, and aggressively promoting new job creation.

In November 2015 his plan to temporarily increase sales taxes for five years in order to raise $250 million to repair roads in Colorado Springs was approved by the City Council 8 - 1 and by voters by a 65% to 35% margin.

In December 2015, Suthers was awarded the Colorado Governor's Citizenship Medal, the highest award given to a citizen of Colorado, in recognition of his service as attorney general and for his work as Mayor, to put Colorado Springs on a "very positive trajectory."


Suthers and his wife Janet have two adult daughters. Alison is a Deputy District Attorney in Denver. Kate is a business analyst for the Defense Department in Pearl Harbor and a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserves.

He has authored six books, including No Higher Calling, No Greater Responsibility: A Prosecutor Makes His Case (Fulcrum Publishing, 2008).


  1. "John W. Suthers biography".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "John W. Suthers CV" (PDF).<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Election results for 1998 Colorado Attorney General race" (PDF).<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Colorado Department of Corrections Statistics Report for the 2000 Fiscal Year" (PDF).<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Gorski, Eric; Burnett, Sara. "Bonds between local law enforcement, Muslims strengthening". Denver Post.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Qwest Under Justice Dept. Microscope". Daily News. New York.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "2006 Election Results".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Election results for 2010 Attorney General race".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Will newspaper endorsements prove sage?".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "John Suthers for AG: News".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Denver Post editorial: A second term for AG Suthers".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Attorney General appointed to NAAG Executive Committee for fifth year in a row".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Faculty Profile: Attorney General John Suthers".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "State Attorney General to Teach UCCS Course".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Legal offices
Preceded by
Ken Salazar
Attorney General of Colorado