In November, Colorado elected a new governor, Jared Polis. Polis won the election to succeed Governor John Hickenlooper. Democrat Hickenlooper has held office since 2011, while Polis will be sworn in on Jan. 8, 2019 as the 43rd governor of Colorado.
Although Polis ran on the democratic ticket for the seat, he plans to institute new changes that may differ from the Hickenlooper era of Colorado.
After this highly anticipated election, many are wondering what will happen next. Hickenlooper still holds office for the rest of the year, but the question remains about changes will Polis bring to Colorado in 2019.
“I have little to no idea of Polis’ ideals and aspirations,” UNC student Haley Hulse said.
UNC student Katherine Bateman finds herself in the same situation.
“I do not know much of what is going on politically right now,” Bateman said.
Hulse and Bateman represent a larger population of students who are not actively following today’s politics. There is a population on campus that needs to be introduced to Polis.
According to polisforcolorado.com, Polis is a Colorado native from Boulder. He graduated from Princeton University in New Jersey and is a self-made multi-millionaire. Today he lives with his partner, Marlon Reis, raising their two sons in Colorado.
He began his journey as an entrepreneur, launching various startups such as American Information Systems as well as ProFlowers. With his accumulation of wealth, Polis later ran for both state and federal office. Polis served on the Colorado Board of Education as well as the U.S Representative of Northern Colorado. He had been busy serving in congress since 2009 before deciding to run for Colorado governor.
As U.S Representative for Northern Colorado, according to ballotpedia.org, he served on the following committees: the Committee on Education and the Workforce, the Committee on Ethics and the Committee on Rules. Polis was also a notable figure in the efforts to impeach Trump in December of 2017.
Polis ran on a progressive platform, which involves improving of society by reform. According to The Coloradoan, Polis backs stronger gun laws, investment in renewable energy and repeal of the death penalty.
“Together we can take action to protect our Colorado way of life, with good-paying jobs in every community, lower health care costs, and provide an affordable high-quality education for every child in our state,” Polis said.
Polis clearly hopes to bring change across Colorado, and that includes the University of Northern Colorado. UNC freshman Ivan De La Garza Perez has high hopes for the new governor-elect.
“I think and believe he is going to inspire some change for good not only here but across the country,” Perez said.
UNC students have their own issues they are invested in, and Polis has his solution. In fact, Perez mentioned some issues that matter the most to him.
“Education funding, climate change and immigration are key topics that need a bit more attention in our state,” Perez said.
UNC senior Holly Herson also has some similar concerns over issues.
“A political issue that is extremely important to me is financial access to education. Being able to afford higher education without help from parents or from any kind of savings is incredibly difficult,” Herson said.
Polis evidently agrees with this. Polis has many roots in education; he successfully ran for the State Board on Education and has personally founded a few charter schools such as the New America Schools and the Academy of Urban Learning, according to the Jared Polis Foundation.
The Jared Polis Foundation supports education, technology and community throughout Colorado by providing technological and monetary support to the before mentioned charter schools.
According to polisforcolorado.com, Polis plans to “implement proven means to decrease every family’s financial burden, resulting in direct savings.”
Polis’s action plan as governor includes appointing commissioners to Colorado Commission on Higher Education who will work to challenge colleges and universities to lower prices, attack the prices of textbooks, work to implement three-year degrees and increase transparency within student loans.
“For me the most important issues are related to my major, being elementary education,” Hulse, an aspiring teacher, said.
Fortunately for those at UNC seeking a major in education — which is roughly 10 percent of the university’s population according to College Board — Polis has some big plans for elementary education. Polis based a majority of his campaign on the promise to deliver free preschool and kindergarten education. Polis also promises to give higher funding towards public schooling without a real road map on how to accomplish that, according to his campaign website.
“I believe that access to full-day preschool and kindergarten are essential to America remaining competitive in our globalized economy,” Herson said.
Another key issue Polis seems to have a plan for is climate change.
“Climate change is real, and the consequences are becoming a reality. I’m running on a plan to bring Colorado to 100% renewable energy by 2040, we can’t afford to wait,” Polis told The Coloradoan.
According to Polis’ campaign site, his action plan to combat climate change is to increase incentives for energy efficiency, invest in new and local renewable energy projects and support and utilize the energy workforce.
To drive incentives for energy efficiency, Polis plans increase regulatory incentives as well as continue Governor Hickenlooper’s work of establishing policies that account for the costs of carbon in our economy, public health and environment.
As a student, Perez has also voiced concerns about immigration.
As U.S Representative, Polis released a statement to the press which said he believes that the current immigration system is broken. According to ballotpedia.org, as a Colorado representative, Polis said that increasing number of border patrol agents along with high tech security will allow for America to slow unlawful immigration. Within his efforts to stop illegal immigration, Polis supports the initiatives to create more pathways to legal immigration.
As of now, Governor-elect Polis does not have a plan or notable response to immigration within Colorado.
While Perez is interested in the change Polis may bring, UNC students Bateman and Herson admire that Colorado elected the first gay governor in the United States.
“I think that it is a great accomplishment for our country to finally have elected a homosexual individual,” Bateman said. “ I think that this is great step toward hopefully encouraging everyone to be more accepting of others.”
Herson also commented in regard to the first openly gay governor.
“A generation ago, being a young, gay, woman of Jewish heritage would have made the dream of being an aspiring politician seem unattainable, but Jared has permanently broken down the barriers,” Herson said.