In the Arena with Stanton Dodge
Stanton Dodge is the Chief Legal Officer for DraftKings LLC. DraftKings is the official fantasy partner of the NFL, MLB and PGA TOUR as well as an authorized gaming operator of the NBA and MLB and an official betting operator of the PGA TOUR. Among other accolades, Stanton has been recognized as one of America’s 50 Outstanding General Counsel by the National Law Journal.
What brought you to Colorado?
In a word — skiing, which is one of my true passions. When I was in college in Vermont, a friend of mine got an internship at Purgatory in Durango. I ended up following him, taking a semester off, and living the life of a ski bum in the four corners region of our State in the late 80s. I loved it and kept looking for ways to get back out West. Between college and law school I spent a year in Breckenridge, and that is when I truly fell in love with Colorado. The people were friendly, the skiing was great and there were 300 days of sunshine a year. What’s not to like? I knew that when I finished law school, there was only one place that I wanted to practice.
As the Chief Legal Officer of DraftKings you are responsible for all legal and government affairs. What suggestions do you have for your fellow business leaders on building and maintaining positive relationships with legislators?
Do it. It’s incredibly important. I frequently hear from CEOs that government affairs doesn’t have a direct impact on their business, and they ask why they should be involved. At a minimum, I recommend that every CEO, or at least someone on their executive team, develops a relationship with the members of their federal delegation. There are only two Senators and seven Representatives, so you can have a relationship with all of them but at least start with your region. Because when something important comes up, you will be glad you invested the time. Get to know these people and develop relationships over the long term before it’s too late. We’re fortunate to be in a great state like Colorado where our delegation genuinely cares about local businesses and the state of the economy.
The same applies at the state level. Get to know the Governor and your local elected officials. Get to know people on committees that may impact your business. One of the really great benefits of Colorado Concern is that you can meet these people and our federal delegation. We host the Governor, our U.S. Senators and other elected officials throughout the year. Please come to the lunches and start building those relationships. You’ll be glad that you did.
You have had tremendous success at the ballot in recent years. What has your success with Raise the Bar, Proposition DD, and Amendment B taught you about changing policy at the ballot in Colorado?
I have learned that in order to get things passed on the ballot in this state you need to have broad, tri-partisan support. For each of these campaigns we have engaged democrats, republicans, and independents from all across the state. It was all about building a coalition that could resonate with people across the board. You’re not going to win a ballot referendum, especially not a tax increase, unless you have board-based support; it can’t be partisan. That was the key to winning it.
As you prepare to Chair the Colorado Concern Board of Directors, what is your vision for the organization?
It is a tremendous honor to be the incoming Chair of Colorado Concern. When Steve Farber introduced me to Colorado Concern, I knew immediately that Colorado Concern’s laser focus on representing the interests of the business community in Colorado was a perfect fit for my desire to be more civically involved. It has been a privilege to be a member, to join the board, and now to be the incoming Chair. I look forward to continuing the great work of the board, its members, and all of the past chairs in representing the interests of the business community. My top priorities will be to find a solution to our transportation and infrastructure problems and drive member engagement, but also to find places of common ground with the legislature and the Governor in order to advance our policy goals.
Rapid Fire Round:
Who inspires you? My father
What is your favorite place in Colorado? My home with my family
What are you reading? Do You Feel Like I Do? A Memoir by Peter Frampton
What’s your favorite restaurant? Shanahan’s Steakhouse in Denver