Colorado Representatives Jared Polis (D) and Ken Buck (R) lectured at Colorado State University Wednesday about the importance of bipartisanship in the House of Representatives and in the current election cycle.
Polis represents Larimer County and District 2 while Buck represents the neighboring District 3, which includes Boulder.
Hosted in the Political Parties and Elections class, regarding material covered in the class. Keeping the mood humorous and light, and both Polis and Buck answered students questions very honestly.
“It means so much to put a face to representatives and see them in action, and be able to be candidly talking about what they do everyday,” political science professor Kyle Saunders said.
Both men are very influential in the House. Polis sits on the Rules Committee, Education and Workforce Committee and is an agenda setter for House Democrats. Buck said his head of communication has been called by every major news outlet in the past 24 hours to know if he is voting for Trump since Ted Cruz and John Kasich announced they are ending their run for president.
Although both Colorado representative are part of separate parties, they work together quite often and both support many of the same bills.
Polis touched on conflict within the House, and said the the most conflict does not come from between party lines, but within a party. Intraparty conflict was more personal and time consuming according to Polis.
“Even though we differ ideologically, I think it was very beneficial for him to come in and talk to us, and my perception of him definitely improved,” said student Max Dillon, who grew up in one of Buck’s districts.
A topic covered very often in the class is congressional fundraising. During Q&A, a student asked about congressional fundraising and specifically how accurate John Oliver’s episode of Last Week Tonight about fundraising was compared to their experience. In response, Polis said it was “spot on” except for the fact that he does much more fundraising in Colorado than in Washington DC.
Students seemed to value getting the chance to interact and listen to their representative and get the chance to hear about what he and Bucks are doing and how it relates to the material they are learning. Civic engagement such as this allowed students to interact with their representative and allowed elected leaders to interact with their constiutants.
Erin Krigger can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @littleekrig