By Dan Whipple
Colorado Democratic Rep. Diana DeGette has endorsed Sen. Hillary Clinton in the Democratic race for the presidential nomination. DeGette has been named Clinton's national co-chair of the campaign's Health Care Policy Task Force.
DeGette will also be an adviser on stem cell research. She sponsored legislation increasing federal support for embryonic stem cell research that sailed through the U.S. House this past January, but which was vetoed by President Bush.
In announcing the endorsement, Clinton said:
"I admire Diana's tireless commitment to unlocking the potential of stem cell research and expanding health care access for all Americans," Clinton said. "I'm honored to have her support and delighted she'll help lead our efforts in Colorado."
Clinton Colorado state campaign director Tyler Chaffee said of DeGette:
"I think she is a national leader on stem cells, on corporate accountability, on all sorts of really key issues. We're honored to have the support of the dean of the Colorado congressional delegation.
"If anyone can really speak to the importance of experience in creating real change, it's Congresswoman DeGette. I'm tickled."
Officials at Barack Obama's Colorado campaign office declined to comment on the endorsement.
DeGette is currently the House Chief Deputy Whip. In addition to her leading role on stem cell research, she was instrumental in the reauthorization of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).
Clinton is well traveled in the health care field, serving as the point person for the failed health care reform package proposed by the Bill Clinton administration in the early 1990s.
DeGette said in a release announcing the endorsement:
"Hillary Clinton has the strength and experience we need in the next president of the United States. Under her leadership, we will finally provide quality, affordable health care for every American. These challenging times call for a leader with Hillary Clinton's ability to hit the ground running on her first day in the White House."