Before Jared Polis became the congressional representative for Colorado’s second district (which includes Fort Collins), he became a millionare.
While in college at Princeton University, Polis was working toward a political science degree, but at the same time was in the midst of running his own start-up Internet provider called American Information Systems.
After graduation, Polis sold his company for more $21 million and was eager to find a new way to make a difference.
“I knew I always wanted to be part of a community and give back,” Polis said. “I think part of giving back is the responsibility of all Americans.”
In 2008, Polis got his chance to give back to his home state when voters from Fort Collins, Boulder and others elected him as their congressional representative. His winning the 2008 election also marked the first time an openly gay male was elected to Congress as a freshman.
He is currently running for re-election against Kevin Lundberg.
Of all the bills Polis has helped pass while a U.S. congressman, he said the one he is most proud of came in his last session of Congress.
“I helped to defeat HIPAA, which censored the Internet and threatened to shut down many websites that had user-generated content,” Polis said.
He was able to defeat HIPAA in a bipartisan way. With the help of two Republicans and a fellow Democrat, they were able to slow down HIPAA enough and calm down the public outrage.
“It would have hurt servers overseas and would be very damaging to the entire internet,” Polis said.
HIPAA isn’t his only priority. In fact, his political platform focuses on issues prevalent to CSU students today, namely education.
“In this increasing global economy, it is more important than ever to get an education and then get a job,” Polis said. “It’s also becoming harder to afford, so I want to help families save money on taxes, expand pell grants, keep interest rates low on loans and reduce the increasing tuition rates.”
Polis plans to accomplish all this by encouraging investment in science and research in higher education. He wants to expand Pell grants and make sure they keep up with the rising costs of college.
“I’ve been on the state board of education for six years, and I also started a high school and was superintendent of a charter school,” Polis said.
He hopes that with this investment in the education system, it will boost the economy and create more jobs for future graduates of CSU.
“I encourage investment in science and research,” Polis said. “Much of that research will result in new companies and new jobs that will employ hundreds of people.”
Along with that, he sees a problem with the budget and plans to balance it in a more responsible manner.
“We should show that we have good fiscal policies at the federal level, balance the budget, stabilize taxes, and make sure there is no fluctuation or uncertainty,” Polis said.
The rest of his political platform covers all aspects of major issues going on in America right now. He not only plans to invest in education and boost the economy, he wants to help end the war in Afghanistan and fight for equal rights for all.
“I strongly believe in equality for every American, regardless of race, gender, or gender identification,” Polis said.
Polis sponsors the Student Non-Discrimination Act, which prevents bullying and discrimination against those with various gender identifications.
“There is no federal law that prevents discrimination of those with different gender identities,” Polis said. “I think we should offer the same protection to gays and lesbians, like we already do with different races.”
Along with protecting basic human rights, Polis believes the federal government should play a role in decriminalizing marijuana.
“We should allow states to decide how they want to treat it,” Polis said. “I want to respect states’ decisions about regulating marijuana.”
Polis’ platform covers a wide range of topics and he is eager to get the votes of young people, because he is so focused on issues prevalent to their lives today.
“I encourage everyone to vote on Tuesday,” Polis said. “Then, the results will be tallied and finally, our country can move past this biannual ritual and get back to moving forward.”