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Scrivner Institute Community Profiles: Adam Burg (MPP '17)

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Scrivner Institute of Public Policy

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Adam Burg (MPP '17), Director of Federal & State Affairs, City and County of Denver  


  1. When did you attend DU? What made you choose the MPP program? 

I attended DU from 2015-2017. I chose the MPP program at DU after spending a few years working on political campaigns and deciding to go back to school. I knew I wanted to continue to work in politics, and after some time working at the Colorado General Assembly, I decided that public policy was of more interest to me than electoral politics. Having grown up in Denver, I knew that DU offered both a great education and the opportunity to continue to work in Colorado Politics while I went to graduate school.  

While considering whether to stay in Colorado and attend DU or go to school on the east coast, I was fortunate enough to have two meetings that altered the course of my life: One with former Colorado Governor Dick Lamm, and one with former US Senator Alan Simpson. Both men spoke to me about what it means to be a proud Westerner – and how there is something said about trying to make the place I call home just a little bit better. That convinced me even further that DU was the right place for me. 

  1. What has been your career path since earning your MPP?  How did the program help prepare you for what you’re doing now? 

Upon exiting the campaign world in 2015, I decided to pursue other endeavors in the world of politics, including two years at the Colorado General Assembly working for former Senate Majority Leader Dominick Moreno (Assistant House Majority Leader at the time) and earning a Master of Public Policy from the University of Denver in 2017.  

In 2015, I launched a Denver-based political consulting firm, L&B Strategies LLC. My business partner and I built a successful firm and represented a broad base of clientele from both the private and public sector, conducting in-depth research on technical issues and coordinating successful candidate/issue campaigns across Colorado. 

Upon graduating from DU, I spent four and a half years working for Adams County as the senior advisor of government affairs in the county managers office, working with state legislators and congressional members to advocate for critical policy issues. I was able to help with numerous important projects that moved the region forward, such as helping the county gain the 11th commercial spaceport license awarded by the FAA for Colorado Air and Space Port.  

Immediately prior to joining the [Denver Mayor Mike] Johnston Administration, I oversaw the government affairs activities and strategies for the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce and the Metro Denver EDC as the vice president of government affairs. I managed the government affairs department, overseeing all political activities of the Chamber/EDC at the local, state, and federal level. 

The MPP program taught me the skills and knowledge to apply critical thinking and necessary analytical skills to matters of public policy. Public policy is rarely black and white, and policy choices impact different levels of government in unique ways - leading to ripple-effects on the public. Being able to see the "whole picture" is vital to changing outcomes. 

  1. What class(es) was/were particularly impactful? Do you remember some that changed the way you think about the world and/or helped you to improve your practical skills?  

Two of my favorite classes were Analytical and Critical Analysis with Professor Salucci, as well as Cost Benefit Analysis with Professor Sherbo. Learning the skills and tools needed to fully consider a piece of legislation or policy was critical to my professional development and future career. There are always costs to public policy – whether measurable or more abstract. Being able to understand both cost-benefit considerations and the logic behind policy choices help you understand why policymakers make the decision they do. In an ideal world – policy choices would be driven wholly by the heart. In reality – they are largely driven by the head (and cost).  

  1. Were you involved in any clubs, organizations, or graduate assistantships outside of your program? Can you tell us more about them and how they impacted your experience?  

I was working multiple jobs during my time at DU. I graduated from CU Boulder in 2013 and spent a couple years working on campaigns. But I really enjoyed my cohort of students and the outside programming the Korbel School offered.  

  1. What advice would you give to current MPP students? 

Find your passion and learn your “why.” Politics can be a grueling industry that is prone to a lot of cynicism. I would encourage you to spend time really thinking about why this work is important to you.  

I firmly believe that public policy is the best way to improve the lives of those most in need. And while my career has ebbed and flowed around private and public policy work, it is truly an honor to be back in the public sector working for the city I was born and raised in and continue to call home.  

  1. Any fun facts or other information you would like to share? 

It is always important to remind ourselves that work is not life. Or as they say, “Work to live, not live to work.”  

On a personal level, I got sober in 2022 and it has been the greatest reminder that it is important to live our lives and take care of ourselves. Sobriety has allowed me to connect in a more authentic way – as a partner, friend, son, employee, and human. Part of my work in life is to openly talk about addiction, recovery, and mental health. The only way we can overcome the stigma around these issues is if we talk about and normalize these conversations.  

Work will always be there – but life happens really fast. As you think about working in politics, or any work for that matter, remember to be kind. There is a lot of cruelness in the world – and we could use more kind people working on public policy that benefits the greater good. I believe you can make the world a better place.