Serving the Community Where I Was Raised
Serving the Community Where I Was Raised
I grew up right here and went to Littleton Public Schools K-12, graduating from Arapahoe High School. Today, my parents still live here, and so do my aunt, uncle, cousins, grandma, in-laws, and many friends old and new. This is the place that made me the person I am today and taught me my Colorado values of opportunity, independence, and responsibility.
I understand the concerns of our community because I grew up here. I know the High Line Canal because I played there as a kid. And I know our public schools because I was student there. But I’ve also worked with people from across the entire state, from the San Luis Valley, the Western Slope, the Eastern Plains, and all along the Front Range. That’s why I’ll be able to build diverse coalitions with folks from all around the state in order to pass legislation that benefits our community.
I also have a Master's of Divinity degree from Harvard. It's one of the most religiously diverse schools in the country with people of all faiths and none, which means I know how to bring diverse groups of people together around shared values—whatever the source of those values. I believe absolutely in the separation of church and state, and also in the impossibility of separating values and public policy. Values are what motivate us. Values are why people care about political issues. We have so much in common as Coloradans, that when we take specific policy proposals and figure out what fundamental values are at stake, we can often find common ground to come together and move our state forward.
While earning my master's degree I met my wife, AnnMarie. She noticed my cowboy boots from across the room, came over and said, “Nice boots.” Feeling out of place so far from home and thinking she had just insulted me, I shot back, “Look, I’m from Colorado, so I can wear cowboy boots.” Without missing a beat, AnnMarie replied, “Yeah, I’m from Colorado, too, and I like your boots.”
So far on this campaign I've walked hundreds of miles to have personal, one-on-one conversations with thousands of people at their doors. For me, this is the best part of running for office. It's when I get to hear stories from people about what they care about and what they value.
The folks I meet on the doors see a dysfunctional political system driving our country apart. They’re tired of an economy that doesn’t work for them, and a government that hardly works at all.
Throughout my career, the best things I’ve done have been by bringing people together, across parties, across ideologies, and even across faiths.
That’s the same approach we’re taking on our campaign.
When we take the time to listen to people, we reconnect them to their government. We need that now more than ever. That's why I'm running.
We need a major change in our politics and a fresh perspective in our government. I have a values-centered approach to finding common ground and the experience to effectively make a government that works. With your support, I look forward to taking your stories with me into the State House.
"JEFF IS LIKE FAMILY TO ME, AND I KNOW HE WILL BRING HIS DEEP COLORADO VALUES WITH HIM INTO THE STATE LEGISLATURE."
—SECRETARY KEN SALAZAR
"I first met Jeff more than a decade ago, before I ever ran for office, through my small business in Denver. Jeff understands the importance of helping Colorado's small businesses grow and prosper. His public policy background, tenacity, and proven ability to bring people together makes him uniquely qualified to represent the community where he grew up. He'll keep our local economy growing and make sure that the jobs of the future come here and stay here. I'm supporting Jeff because he'll help me create good-paying jobs for all Coloradans and invest in our future by supporting our public schools."
"A lifetime resident of House District 3, Jeff has been a champion for his hometown community and Coloradans around the state. Whether it's expanding our renewable energy industry, working to improve our education system, or fighting for equal pay for equal work, Jeff knows how to work across the aisle and get things done for the families he serves."
Ken Salazar, Former Secretary of the Interior and US Senator
Dottie & Dick Lamm, Former Colorado Governor
Maggie Fox & Mark Udall, Former US Senato
Diana DeGette, US Congresswoman
Ed Perlmutter, US Congressman
Bernie Buescher, Former Colorado Secretary of State
Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, Speaker of the Colorado House
Stan Matsunaka, Former Colorado Senate President
Linda Newell, Colorado State Senator
Jeni Arndt, Colorado Representative
Joe Miklosi, Former Colorado Representative
Doug Tisdale, Former Mayor of Cherry Hills
Randy Penn, Former Mayor of Englewood
John Hickenlooper, Colorado Governor
Jeannie & Bill Ritter, Former Colorado Governor
Barbara O'Brien, Former Lieutenant Governor
Jared Polis, US Congressman
John Salazar, Former US Congressman
Crisanta Duran, Colorado House Majority Leader
Alice Madden, Former Colorado House Majority Leader
Sal Pace, Former Colorado House Minority Leader
Daniel Kagan, Colorado Representative
Joe Rice, Former Colorado Representative
Angie Paccione, Former Colorado Representative
Jim Woodward, Former Mayor of Englewood
Susan Loy, Former Greenwood Village City Councilwoman
Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter
Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association
American Federation of Teachers
SEIU Local 105
Colorado State Conference of Electrical Workers
Colorado Dental Association
Colorado Medical Society
Colorado Association of Realtors
Colorado Contractors Association
Colorado Contractors Coalition
(Endorsements from affiliated Colorado-based political action committee or (c)4 organization.)
Partisan gridlock has long paralyzed our representatives in Washington. Here in Colorado, the Denver Post reported that this last legislative session was the most partisan and least productive in our state's history. Colorado can do better. Throughout my career, the best things I’ve done have been by bringing people together—across parties, across ideologies, and even across faiths.
When I worked for Ken Salazar in the US Senate, we received a letter from a Coloradan serving in Iraq whose friend was killed by an IED. I brought together Democrats and Republicans for a program that's still saving military lives. In the legislature, I will continue to fight to protect our Colorado families. To hear the full story directly from Ken, click here.
As part of the Colorado Conservation Voters board of directors, I helped elect a bipartisan, pro-conservation majority that increased our state's renewable energy standards, expanding our renewable energy economy. In the legislature, I will continue to fight for good-paying jobs for Colorado families.
A few years ago, President Obama signed an executive order banning LGBT discrimination by federal contractors and employers. He faced significant pressure to include a Hobby Lobby-style religious exemption, which would have made the whole thing toothless. As Associate Vice President at Union Theological Seminary, I connected people from across faiths—including Protestants, Catholics, Muslims and Jews—who were opposed to the exemption. By bringing people together, we protected the rights of our LGBT brothers and sisters. In the legislature, I will continue to fight for equality for all people regardless of race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.
I'm the only one in this race who has legislative experience. I'm also the only one who grew up here. I've worked with Coloradans from the Eastern Plains, the Western Slope, the San Luis Valley, and all along the Front Range. I have deep local roots and a unique perspective on the challenges faced by those from across all of Colorado. I also have a master’s degree in divinity so I know how to bring people together around our shared values. In the legislature, I will build the diverse coalitions we need to pass legislation that will move our local community forward.
We need an economy here in Colorado that works for everyone. Where people who work hard and play by the rules can get ahead. Where someone willing to work full-time can afford to take care of their family. While we need to prevent people from taking advantage of the system, it's important to Colorado's long-term economic security that we come together to help those still struggling from the recession to get back on their feet. We need to make sure that the rising tide of economic prosperity here in Colorado lifts all boats.
Small businesses are the engine of our economy. Having handled small business policy for Ken Salazar in the United States Senate, I know there's more we can do to support them here in Colorado. We need to simplify the tax code for small businesses and crack down on predatory credit card and loan companies that overcharge them. We can create a fast track process for new business startups and do more to encourage companies that start in Colorado to grow here and stay here.
We also need to make it easier for people to save for retirement with a universal, optional retirement plan. Nearly one million Coloradans don't participate in their workplace retirement plans, and 765,000 Coloradans don't even have access to a retirement program at work—meaning that even if they wanted to participate they couldn't. Saving makes it far more likely that someone will be independent and self-sufficient in retirement. Those who don't save are more likely to live in poverty, depending on family or public assistance to make ends meet.
In order to create a 21st Century economy that works for everyone, all Colorado students need access to a high-quality public education. Everyone benefits when more people have the tools they need to get good-paying jobs to support themselves and their families.
I’m a product of our Colorado public schools, and I'm also surrounded by teachers. My mom was a teacher, and so was my mother-in-law and my grandma. My wife is getting her PhD to become a teacher, and my aunt currently teaches in Cherry Creek Public Schools. Making sure that all of our kids have the opportunity to succeed with a public education that's one of the best in the nation is a core value I’ll fight for in the State House.
Getting Colorado’s teachers and students the tools they need to succeed starts with better funding for our public schools. It’s a testament to our teachers that the quality of education we have here is so high despite per-pupil spending on par with Alabama. We have got to find a way to better support our public schools—including higher education. College graduates shouldn't have to start their careers under mountains of debt. We also need testing in our schools that doesn't detract from a good education, but actually helps students and teachers improve.
More than ever, the jobs of tomorrow will demand a well-educated workforce. We must ensure that all of our students have the tools they need to do those jobs and build a better life for themselves and their families.
We can do a much better job providing women's health care. Contraception should be fully covered. Planned Parenthood employees shouldn't have to risk their lives simply by showing up to work. And elected officials shouldn't contribute to the vitriol.
In Colorado we had a program that's nationally recognized for dramatically reducing unplanned teen pregnancies—with a corresponding 35% drop in abortions. The program worked by providing the option of long acting reversible contraception (like IUDs and implants) to low-income women in family planning clinics across Colorado. Sadly, last year some legislators who claim to oppose abortion blocked funding for the program. It's been continued through private funding for one additional year, but the program's future remains in jeopardy. Refusing to support a program that expands birth control choices and prevents unplanned pregnancies and abortions is hypocritical, and it's wrong for Colorado.
Growing up here in Colorado, I spent most of my time outdoors. From the swim team to skiing to Scout trips to the High Line Canal, I've always loved being outside and enjoying the absolute best weather in the world. I also served on the board of Colorado Conservation Voters and elected a pro-conservation majority in both the State House and the State Senate. But I grew up with the Brown Cloud and watering our lawn only on triangle days. I also remember that one time when a previous governor said the whole state looked like it was on fire. (It wasn't.) Given climate scientists' long-term predictions of drought in the West, if we don't act responsibly now we could end up in an even worse predicament.
Having worked in rural Colorado and for both John and Ken Salazar, I have a deep understanding of Colorado's limited water resources. Counties and major municipalities need to have regularly updated water plans that work alongside Governor John Hickenlooper's bipartisan Colorado Water Plan. We should also encourage counties and municipalities to include open space and parks so our families can enjoy the outdoors near their homes. And every State Representative and Senator should take an active role supporting their local governments in these processes.
Colorado's renewable energy sector is poised for takeoff. We already have major wind and solar companies with operations in the state and numerous renewable research labs. The cost of energy from renewable sources is fast becoming cheaper than from fossil fuels, and nationally we have more people working in clean and green energy than in oil and gas.
Making the changeover to clean energy will also have tremendous public health benefits. The impact of cutting our CO2 emissions by about 25%—something the United States has already pledged to do in international agreements—could prevent 15 million lost adult work days a year and keep 29,000 kids with asthma out of the emergency room. This would have an estimated economic savings of $250 billion a year, which is far greater than the estimated cost of implementing these emissions cuts.
We've worked hard in Colorado to expand health care access and affordability. As someone with lifelong asthma, I'm especially thankful that the Affordable Care Act ended denials of coverage for those of us with preexisting conditions. That doesn't mean the system works perfectly and that there aren't improvements we can make. For example, one of the women I met while knocking on doors told me about a clerical error she fought for almost a year to finally get affordable health insurance. We can and we must do better.