Jared Polis portratU.S. Rep. Jared Polis, a Democrat from Boulder, hopes to bring big ideas and effective leadership to Colorado if he wins the wide-open race for governor in 2018.

Polis announced his campaign Sunday and kicked off his candidacy Monday with a four-stop tour that began in Pueblo, included Colorado Springs and Denver, and ended in Boulder.

He spoke with the Business Journal Wednesday from Washington, D.C.

“I think the people of Colorado want a governor who has experience in business and in government, a proven political leader who knows how to get things done,” Polis said.

Polis said he will push for improvement in renewable energy, education and jobs.

Polis has represented Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District, a Democratic stronghold, since 2009. Last year, Polis beat Republican challenger Nicholas Morse by more than 18 percentage points.

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“I’m honored to represent Colorado in Congress but frankly, I think there’s a better opportunity at the state level to make more of a difference,” he said. “I want to develop an economy that works for everybody, I want to increase our use of renewable energy, and I want to expand the opportunity for education.”

Polis says he has a plan to achieve 100 percent renewable energy by 2040, and another plan to provide free full-day kindergarten and preschool in every community in Colorado.

“This campaign will be about a vision of what we can accomplish for Colorado’s future,” he said. “It’ll be about big ideas.”

According to his website, Polis is a member of the House Education and Workforce Committee, founder of two charter school networks and former Chairman of the Colorado State Board of Education.

Gov. John Hickenlooper, also a Democrat, is term-limited and the race to succeed him is shaping up to be one of Colorado’s wildest elections in years. Another Democrat who has served alongside Polis in the U.S. House of Representatives, Ed Perlmutter, is also a candidate for governor.

Polis made his campaign stop in Colorado Springs at Save-A-Lot, an employee-owned grocery store at 3333 N. Academy Blvd.

“I wanted the people of Colorado Springs to know I support employee-owned businesses, and that it’ll work not just for technology companies and breweries but also a grocery store,” he said.

Colorado House Bill 1214, passed recently by the state Legislature, encourages employee ownership of existing small businesses.

“It’s important to help workers share in the success of small businesses,” he said.

 

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