Rick Palacio (born November 3, 1974) is the current Chairman of the Colorado Democratic Party. He was born in Pueblo, Colorado and is a sixth-generation Coloradan. Rick attended Pueblo County High School, and later Regis University in Denver.
Before serving in his current role, Palacio worked in a variety of roles in Colorado and national politics. He was the Assistant to Colorado House Majority Leader Alice Madden from 2004 to 2006. He served as the Regional Director of Victory 2006, for the Colorado Democratic Party. In 2006 he sought the Democratic nomination for Clerk and Recorder in Pueblo, Colorado where he earned 49.9% of the Democratic vote - only two votes shy of becoming the party's nominee for the general election. Palacio then held multiple roles with U.S. Rep. John Salazar of Colorado's third Congressional District, including Legislative Assistant and later Deputy Communications Director.
In 2008 he was hired as Deputy Director of Member Service in the office of the House Majority Leader, Congressman Steny H. Hoyer, the second highest-ranking member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Palacio was one of the primary Congressional staffers responsible for the repeal of Don't ask, don't tell.
Palacio was elected Chairman of the Colorado Democratic Party on March 5, 2011. Palacio is the first Latino in Colorado's history to hold the office of chair of a major political party, and when elected was only the second in the nation. He is also openly gay.2008: 5280 Magazine's list of Colorado's Most Influential Latinos
2011: Advocate Magazine's List of 40 Under Forty
2011: Out Front Colorado's "Power" list of most Influential GLBT Coloradans
2011: Southern Colorado Equality Alliance "Pride of Pueblo" award
2015: 40 Under 40: Latinos in American Politics