“Colorado’s newest challenges can be met with our oldest values. We need leadership that can bridge divides and build opportunity for all.”
My family came to Colorado in the 1960s for a fresh start. For them, Colorado was a place where it didn’t matter who you were or where you came from, all that mattered was the opportunity to build a new life and community. These are the values that shaped my career and my passion for public service.
I grew up in Eagle County, where my family ran a small hotel and I learned firsthand the challenges and rewards of operating a small business. After graduating from college and law school, I became a public school teacher in one of Mississippi’s most impoverished counties and then a public school principal in a juvenile detention center and a high-needs district north of Denver. In each stop, I worked to strengthen classrooms and schools by empowering teachers, parents and students to dream big and then make those dreams reality.
After joining the Colorado state senate, we prioritized the community over the Capitol, turning my district office into a community center where people came together to address challenges facing them and their neighbors. The relationships I built during that time led me to sponsor more than 120 pieces of legislation generated through discussions in that community center. During the two terms I served in the Senate, I helped pass major progressive legislation, like the Dream Act, so undocumented students who had spent most of their lives in Colorado could get a fair shot at college, the CLEAR Act fighting to stop racial discrimination in the criminal justice system, and JUMP START to help grow new businesses in rural counties with unlimited potential but limited resources.
I fought for these bills as a proud Democrat. I got them done by building bridges to secure Republican support. I believe in Colorado’s sense of frontier fairness. I believe that hard work will lead to opportunity, and that it is our shared responsibility to ensure opportunity is open to all. It’s these values that have seen us through the challenges of the last 150 years. New policies alone won’t do it, and the magnitude of these challenges requires a new politics.
I’m running for governor because, with your help, we can bridge the divide between rural and urban, between the new economy and the old, between first-generation Coloradans and those whose families have been here for decades. Join me in working together to build a Colorado ready for the challenges of the next century.