This is the community that has made me who I am.
I was born in Colorado and have lived in Jefferson County nearly my entire life. I came from a working-class family — my dad was a construction contractor and my mom was a hairdresser. We were a regular middle-class family, but all of that changed when my mom injured her back when I was just 6 years old. Like far too many Americans, she was prescribed a dangerous amount of opioids – leading to an addiction to prescription pills, alcohol, and, ultimately, heroin.
Even though I faced significant challenges at home, I was one of the lucky ones. I had access to great public schools and teachers that believed in me. Because of the investments this community made in me, I was given a chance to earn a good life. I became the first in my family to graduate from both high school and college, and I went on to serve in the Colorado legislature for 10 years — fighting for families like mine.
As a Colorado legislator, I passed the nation’s strongest Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, Colorado’s Red Flag law, and the Secure Savings Act. As Chair of the House Education Committee, I shepherded historic investments in our public schools and worked across the aisle to get things done for Colorado’s working families. I also took my experience fighting to save my mom’s life in a broken behavioral health system to ensure others who are struggling with a substance use disorder or a mental health issue have access to the care they need here in Colorado, but my work isn’t done.
I’m running for Congress because there is far too much at stake in this election. The same opportunities I had growing up have been put further and further out of reach for far too many Coloradans – and the pandemic dramatically worsened the income inequality and opportunity gaps in this country. The climate crisis is devastating Colorado communities, and dangerous conspiracy theorists are threatening the very fabric of our democracy.
But that is not who we are.
Colorado is a place of hope, optimism and opportunity. A place where the American Dream is still possible if we work together to give everyone a level playing field. A new chapter in America can start today, right here in our beautiful state.
Let’s win this, together.