City of residence: Boulder
Profession: Entrepreneur, member of Congress
Campaign website: polisforcolorado.com
In the realm of politics, past or present, whom do you most admire?
Pat Schroeder, for breaking barriers and her steadfast commitment for equal rights for women. She was a pioneer and fought and won hard fights for women and humanity.
Of your accomplishments in elected office, what are you most proud of?
I was proud to work with Democrats and Republicans to replace No Child Left Behind with a system that serves our kids much better. I was also proud to lead the fight to ban lobbyist gifts to lawmakers in Colorado — because elected leaders should answer to the people, not special interests.
Describe your leadership style.
I've led businesses, started schools and served as an elected official, and in each situation, I've found the most important thing is to respect the people who work for and with you — by building a culture where people feel comfortable bringing up good ideas, and where everyone feels their contributions are valued.
What must be done to improve Colorado's K-12 education system?
It's time for us to stop just talking about investing in our kids and actually start doing it. We need to raise teacher pay, end the teacher shortage and provide our schools with the resources they need to provide every child with a great education. My plan also calls for bringing free, full-day preschool and kindergarten to every family, so that each child in Colorado gets off to a strong start.
What must be done to ensure the state's transportation system can meet the demands of a growing population?
Colorado drivers are being forced to pay an average of nearly $300 per year in car repairs. We need to invest in long-term infrastructure repair and projects that manage our growth smartly. I support using existing and new sources of revenue to fund projects without sacrificing funding for health care or public schools, connecting Fort Collins to Pueblo with high-speed commuter rail that also supports transit-oriented housing development, while making expanding broadband available to every community.
What is the biggest opportunity for economic growth in Colorado?
One of Colorado's greatest strengths is our diverse economy. Our future success will depend on ensuring we create good-paying jobs in many different industries across our state. That's why we need to unlock the power of our renewable-energy sector, creating good-paying Colorado jobs that never be outsourced; protect and grow our outdoor recreation economy; make sure our agriculture industry can thrive in the face of drought; and make sure Colorado remains a great place to start a business.
If elected, what will your top priority be in January?
Once elected, my administration will immediately get to work to bring universal, full-day preschool and kindergarten to every Colorado community. No child should start off at a disadvantage simply because their parents can't afford to spend thousands of dollars on a preschool. I've been working on education throughout my career — I started schools for at-risk youth — and I'm ready to make it a priority as governor.
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