About The Speaker
Bill, 49, was born in Colorado and raised on a farm east of Aurora, the sixth of 12 children of Bill and Ethel Ritter. Bill’s dad was a heavy equipment operator, while his mom stayed home until tight economic circumstances forced her to find work as a bookkeeper when Bill was in his early teens.

Bill started working full time in construction at age 14 to help support the family. As a member of the local laborer’s union, he continued working construction to pay his way through Colorado State University and the University of Colorado Law School. He earned his law degree in 1981 and was hired as a Denver deputy district attorney.

In 1987, Bill and his wife, Jeannie, began a three-year commitment to manage and expand a nutrition center in Zambia, Africa, where thousands of children suffered from malnutrition. Returning home in 1990, Bill worked as a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. In May 1992, Bill returned to the DA’s Office.

Bill was appointed as Denver’s district attorney in 1993. He was elected to the position in 1994 and re-elected in 1996 and 2000.

As district attorney, Bill established one of the nation’s first drug courts, focused on white-collar crime and crime against seniors, and expanded domestic and sexual abuse prosecution,created the nation’s first Victim Service’s Network and, advised the U.S. attorney general on community security following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

These accomplishments earned Bill a national reputation for effective prosecution, innovation and the ability to manage public dollars wisely and efficiently.

Widely respected by his peers, Bill served as a vice president of the National Association of District Attorneys, Chairman of the American Prosecutors Research Institute, and on the board for the National Association of Drug Court Professionals.

Bill and Jeannie have been married for 21 years. They have three sons and a daughter: August, 19; Abe, 16; Sam, 14; and Tally, 12. Jeannie is a substitute teacher with Denver Public Schools. Most of Bill’s extended family, including his 28 nieces and nephews, live in Colorado.
Bill has served his community as chairman of the board of Promoting Alternatives to Violence through Education (Project PAVE), the Mile High United Way board, the Denver Foundation’s Human Services Committee, and the Denver Public Schools Commission on Secondary School Reform.