Colorado Agriculture Commissioner John Salazar retiring

Associated Press

Colorado Agriculture Commissioner John Salazar is retiring after four years leading the agency through restructuring and a listeria outbreak that threatened the cantaloupe industry.

Salazar announced his retirement Friday. Several members of Gov. John Hickenlooper's Cabinet are stepping down, a typical occurrence before any administration's second term.

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Salazar represented Colorado's 3rd District in the U.S. House for six years, working on the 2008 Farm Bill and other agricultural measures. Salazar went to work for Hickenlooper in 2011 after his loss to Republican Rep. Scott Tipton.

While Agriculture Commissioner, Salazar helped the Rocky Ford Growers Association recover from a nationwide listeria outbreak tied to cantaloupe. He also oversaw a boom in Colorado agriculture exports and an agency restructuring.

John Salazar is the older brother of former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.