John Andrews is a conservative activist and Republican politician in Colorado, United States, having served as state senator from 1998 to 2005 and Senate President in 2003-2005. Andrews has also served at the national level as a presidential speechwriter for Richard Nixon, making the only public protest resignation from the White House staff during Watergate; as an education appointee by President Ronald Reagan; and on a foreign scholarships commission for President George W. Bush. He was the Republican nominee for Governor of Colorado in 1990, founder and president of the Independence Institute, chairman of the State Policy Network, the director of TCI Cable News, and the original host of Backbone Radio.
From 2009 until his retirement in 2015, Andrews was director of Centennial Institute, a public policy think tank based at Colorado Christian University, and chairman of its annual Western Conservative Summit. He currently heads up Americans for America, a nonpartisan citizens group; chairs two counter-jihad advisory boards; and blogs at BackboneAmerica.net and Ananias.org.
A familiar voice in Colorado TV, radio, and newspaper commentary since the 1980s, he is also the author of Responsibility Reborn: A Citizen’s Guide to the Next American Century (Denali Press, 2011) and Backbone Colorado USA: Dispatches from the Divide (CreateSpace, 2015). He previously served as editor of Imprimis at Hillsdale College, was a senior executive with two Christian ministries, and participated as a member of the adjunct faculty in public policy at the Colorado School of Mines for 18 years.
Andrews was born in Michigan and grew up in the Colorado mountains, taking most of his K-12 schooling in St. Louis, Missouri. He served as a US Navy submarine officer after graduating from Principia College in 1966. His wife of almost 50 years is Donna D’Evelyn of Bakersfield, California. They have three grown children and a grandson, all living in the Denver area. "I'm committed to defending the permanent things," Andrews states. "We must reassert the timeless political principles of the American founding, together with the moral and spiritual truths of our Judeo-Christian heritage."
As a state senator from 1998 to 2005, Andrews served as minority leader 2001-2003. After leading the GOP back to majority control, he was elected as Senate President for 2003-2005. During his tenure, he helped pass bills establishing education vouchers, expanding charter schools, extending tort reform, cutting the capital gains tax, reducing union control of state employees, requiring parental notification when a minor seeks an abortion, and restoring the Pledge of Allegiance in classrooms.
He was honored as National Legislator of the Year by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and as Family Legislator of the Year by the Rocky Mountain Family Council. The Colorado Union of Taxpayers saluted him as a defender of TABOR, the state's tax limit.
Andrews’ legislative achievements also included bills cutting the capital gains tax, curbing the matricula ID card for illegal immigrants, providing toll lanes to reduce traffic congestion, outlining a statewide water policy, and drawing permanent congressional districts. He put into law the School Sunshine Act to keep teacher unions accountable, the Read to Achieve program for school improvement, and Colorado’s Defense of Marriage Act.
From 2009 until his retirement in 2015, Andrews was director of Centennial Institute, which sponsors events, publications, and research in public policy areas. In proclaiming “liberty throughout the land,” its aim is to help Colorado Christian University (CCU) teach citizenship and to help Americans renew the spirit of 1776. The Institute was founded in 2009 by Andrews and former US Senator William Armstrong, late president of CCU. Through the Centennial Institute, Andrews help establish the Western Conservative Summit, which has been held every year since 2010 in Denver.