Jared Polis, Governor 43
Jared Polis, new governor of Colorado, represents a new generation. He brings his experience as a politician, successful entrepreneur, and philanthropist to act as the head of the executive Branch in Colorado.”Together, we’re going to build an economy where Coloradans from all walks of life don’t just get by, but thrive,” said during his inauguration speech. Learn about his background and his plans for Colorado.
Jared Polis is governor 43 of Colorado. He is the second Colorado governor that was born in the state. Polis was born at the Boulder Community Hospital in Boulder in 1975. This 43-year-old politician is the third governor from the Democratic Party to be in charge in the XXI century. Polis brings ample experience in many areas. He has been involved in politics for that past eleven years. He is also a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist.
He graduated from Princeton University in New Jersey, on the East Coast. After graduation he returned ot Colorado and started several businesses. He created and operated the webpages Proflowers.com and Bluemountain.com. “When I started my first company, I did not have much capital. At that time, it was very inexpensive to start a website. This business was my natural environment. It was fun for me. I’ve been a computer fan all my life, ” he said.
Supporting the Latino community
Other two business initiatives he started were geared towards Latinos. Polis was the founder of “Cinema Latino”, a movie theater that still operates on 6th Avenue and Peoria, in Aurora. These were the first theaters that offered movies in Spanish in Colorado. Polis also created the New America School, a charter school that would help immigrant students to learn English.
Polis was the principal of the New American School. He assures he learned many things in the quest for offering a good education. “One of the great joys of my life was starting the New America School and the Academy of Urban Learning — public charter schools for at-risk youth — and seeing how kids who had fallen through the cracks in our education system could take off and go on to achieve amazing things once they were given the opportunity,” he explained.
Opportunities in politics
Polis confesses he enjoyed his activities as an entrepreneur. But he slowly moved into the field of politics. “In 2000, I was elected as a member of the Colorado Board of Education. I spent six nutritious years working to improve public schools. This was an unpaid position that occupied me a couple of days a month, the rest of the time I took care of my business. I was ready to dedicate myself full-time to public service in 2008, when I sold my business”, he explained.
At the age of 33, Polis was elected to represent District 2 from Colorado at the U.S. House of Representatives. He was reelected five consecutive times. During his time as a Congressman, Polis sponsored initiatives in the areas of education, environmental protection, LGBT rights, among other things. He also introduced an individual law that helped immigrant community activist Jeanette Vizguerra.
At this point in his life, Polis could retire and travel the world. However, he took on a new challenge. “I think there is a tremendous opportunity to achieve great goals in the public sector when an innovative approach is used. I will use my experience in the private sector and my years as a public official to make the Colorado government efficient. This is the challenge that I am focused on at this moment,” he explained.
Polis has not waisted any time. A few hours after his inauguration as governor, he presented his government priorities before the Colorado Legislative Assembly. “Together, we’re going to build an economy where Coloradans from all walks of life don’t just get by but thrive. To those Coloradans across our state, I want to say: our administration will work tirelessly to make our state work better for you,” said Polis.
Governor 43 has begun taking actions to implement free universal preschool. His intention is for these programs to start for the 2019-2020 school year. Implementing “the single biggest expansion of early childhood education in Colorado history” would cost 227 million dollars. Polis informed the Colorado Congress that the resources will come from the positive outlook of the property taxes in the state.
If the proposal is approved, parents of young children will be able to send their kids to preschool for a full day, not just half day as it is at the moment. “Kindergarten in Colorado is a picture of inequality, where some students attend free full-day kindergarten, some must pay tuition, and other families get left behind because they cannot afford the cost. In Colorado, families can pay upwards of $500 per month to enroll their kids in full-day kindergarten”, said Polis.
Another two priorities
Healthcare is another priority for the Polis administration. “It is time to build a healthcare system where people don’t have to choose between losing their savings or losing their lives,” said the governor. In order to pursue this goal, the governor created a committee that will study needed actions to reduce the cost of health care. Polis also announced he is evaluating the implementation of a reinsurance program for health insurance companies to have an incentive to continue to offer their policies. The new governor showed his interest to work with the Colorado legislators to pass tax reform in the state. Polis seeks that tributary laws become fairer, with the intention of lowering tax rates for families and small businesses.” The governor mentioned that the current tax laws in the state were approved in the 1930s. “We need a tax code that reflects today’s realities rather than yesterday’s distortions,” he concluded.
Polis’ blue sneakers
Jared Polis wore his blue sneakers throughout his campaign. He would always wear them regardless if he was wearing formal or casual outfits. The blue sneakers became his brand. He wore them to his inauguration, and he greeted all previous governors, also wearing them. He attended all his celebrations wearing blue sneakers and encouraged the partygoers to do the same, even with formal wear.
As a governor, he continues to wear them. Members of his team told us that Polis wears the blue sneakers just for comfort. “Nothing has changed for him. He wakes up early and works almost 19 hours. Nothing better than wearing comfortable shoes to handle the long hours,” said someone who has worked very close to him.
Food and music
We found out that Polis loves breakfast burritos. “For breakfast, his first choice are burritos. If he can’t get to them, he might go for pumpkin bread,” said our source. For lunch or dinner, the new governor loves Pho, the signature Vietnamese soup that is very popular in our state. As far as music, we were told Polis likes pop and folk music. He keeps music by Lady Gaga and Joan Baez on his playlist.
Colorado for all
The inauguration of the 43rd Governor of Colorado was a celebration of diversity and inclusivity. As it is traditional at these ceremonies, there was a blessing by a Christian minister, Reverend James Peters from the New Hope Baptist Church; and from a leader of Native American origin, Terry Knight, from the Ute Mountain Tribe. What was new was the participation of Satinder Singh, leader of the Sikh religion and the Rabi Susan Muller Rheins.
Polis didn’t directly mention the federal government, but he made clear his message of criticism to the Trump administration regarding immigrants. “Here in Colorado, we treat each other with respect. We reject efforts to intimidate immigrant families or tear children away from their parents. We do not tolerate fanaticism or discrimination of any kind. And we do not accept hostage-taking as a form of government”, said Polis.