Representative to the 113th United States Congress
Since his election in 2008, Rep. Jared Polis (D-Boulder) has emphasized building bipartisan legislation and a sense of collaboration that are going to be key for Congress to get out of the gridlock and move forward with passing laws to give Americans easier access to education, jobs and health care.
“This Congress has been difficult because they’ve had an attitude of saying no to everything rather than working together,” Polis says. “So I’m hopeful, with the next Congress, people are elected with a mandate to work across the aisle and to get things done, not just to say ‘No’ to everything like the tea party has done this Congress. I think the country is hungry for collaboration and tired of ideology above results.”
Both parties got the country into the mess it’s in, he says, and both parties should have to work together to get it out. He’s setting an example for that will bills like one he recently co-sponsored with neighboring congressional district Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Greeley), that would increase the amount of money parents can save before taxes for college education from $2,000 to $10,000 a year.
Polis is keyed in to issues that matter to Boulder County residents, like GMOs and fracking. He’s sponsoring a bill to require GMO labeling, and is pushing for municipalities and state governments to be able to regulate fracking as they see fit for their area.
Above all, the congressman emphasizes that he’s committed to seeing that his agenda for the federal government matches what his constituents want.
In a year when jobs are on everyone’s mind, the founder of several successful start-ups looks to easing access to capital as a way to spark growth in the job market, and says immigration reform that makes it easier for immigrants with start-up ideas to stay in the country will also help in rebounding from the recession.
And, as a former elected officer, including chairman and vice chairman on the Colorado State Board of Education, Polis has continued to keep education at the forefront of the issues he’s considering, and is working on a number of bills to replace the now pastdue-to-retire No Child Left Behind Act, a 10-year-old bill that’s now been around 12 years.
His Republican opponent, Kevin Lundberg, a former state legislator, has a tighter focus for what matters this election season.
“The real focus I see for this campaign is the economy,” Lundberg says.
“It’s jobs. It’s ensuring that the government is ensuring a good, healthy business climate so that citizens in Colorado and across the country can live their lives in a free and prosperous environment.”
Lundberg served in the Colorado Senate for four years, as well as in the House before that, and was responsible for passing a law that allowed people with reward cards at grocery stores to accrue points that could be redeemed as $.10 off a gallon of gas.
The experience of building his own entirely solar-powered home has convinced him that these alternative energy options can’t be the sole solution for creating energy independence for America, he says.
“It’s extremely expensive today, and the only way people can afford it is with heavy government subsidies, and the utilities provide subsidies as well,” Lundberg says. Those subsidies — which he says he has never taken — have propped up technology ill-prepared for a competitive marketplace.
His county was drawn with the redistricting into District 2, and he says he decided to run for U.S. Congress out of dissatisfaction with incumbent Polis’ voting record.
“The 2nd Congressional is significantly different than it was,” Lundberg says. He estimated that 55 percent of active registered voters in the 2nd Congressional District are new to the district this election.
“This is a very competitive district,” he says.
Polis agrees that the district has become competitive.
“Competitive districts are very important for democracy,” he says. “Part of the problem with the current Congress is too many members were elected exclusively in primaries from districts where the general electorate never even had a say in who their member of Congress was. I think that for members of both parties to put forward good nominees that are willing to work together, it’s healthy to have more competitive districts.”
Though redistricting has made District 2 more competitive, balancing out the number of active, registered Democrats with Republicans and independents, Polis is likely to keep a tight hold on his seat, and we endorse him for that spot as a legislator who will be willing to cross the aisle to bring movement and change to government.