Rep. Polis announces run for governor
Next year’s election season is shaping up to be one of the most contested in Colorado State history as a crowded field of candidates vies to replace Colorado’s long serving Governor, John Hickenlooper.
The field of candidates already includes two US Representatives, a former State Senator, a former State Treasurer and a manufacturing entrepreneur; just to list the Democrats. Also elbowing their way into the pack is a collection of three Republicans, so far, who have announced their plans to seek the office as well.
While several of the names may be familiar to State residents who follow politics one of the candidates, Jared Polis, should be familiar to citizens of Grand County. Polis is a Congressman from Boulder and represents Grand County, and all of Colorado House District 2, in the US House of Representatives. Polis announced his plans to seek the office last week.
“For the past eight years, I have had the honor to represent this majestic district and Grand County residents,” Polis stated. “Colorado, as a state, is deeply tied to our mountain towns, and public lands. As your next Governor, I continue to pledge to protect our public lands and advocate for our national parks. I understand it is vital for both jobs and our quality of life.”
As Polis begins his campaign for the highest office in the state the fifth term congressman is distinguished from his competitors are one of the most liberal candidates in the field. Colorado politics often hews to a strange philosophical mix, with varying parts Evangelical Christians, rural libertarians, environmentalists, and progressives.
As such Colorado acts as a sort of microcosm of the national political stage, with politicians running for statewide office sometimes saying drastically different things on the eastern plains than they do along the Front Range. So far though Polis’s campaign appears to be focusing on left-wing priorities such as clean energy and expanded kindergarten and preschool offerings.
Polis’s campaign lists three central planks and pledges. First and foremost Polis says he wants to focus on environmental issues and renewable energy production, hoping to ensure 100 percent of Colorado’s energy is produced by renewable sources by 2040.
Second, Polis says he plans to build a legislative coalition within two years to establish free, taxpayer funded, full day kindergarten and preschool to every community in the State.
Finally Polis says he plans to focus on the economy. “As a progressive of course I support raising the minimum wage, family medical leave and ensuring that employers follow our laws,” stated Polis. “My goal is to make Colorado first in the nation for companies that share their profits and success with their workers, just as I did with the companies I started.”
Polis enters the field after spending the last eight years as a US Representative. He was first elected in 2008, and won reelection in 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016. Prior to his election to the US House Polis served on the Colorado State Board of Education from 2001 to 2007.
Polis’s background before entering politics was as an online entrepreneur. While still attending college Polis co-founded an internet access provider business that he later sold. In the mid-1990s he co-founded the online greeting card website Bluemountain.com, which he later sold, and an online florist business called ProFlowers.
Polis is typically considered one of the wealthiest members of the US House. According to OpenSecrets.org, part of the political funding research group Center for Responsive Politics, Polis was the second wealthiest member of Congress with a net worth $387 million in 2014.
Polis’s deep pockets will come in handy as the seasoned legislator looks to initiate a statewide campaign, with all the added advertising and spending requirements that naturally entails. If Polis is elected he will be the first openly gay governor elected to a state.
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