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Dozens of Latino leaders endorse Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis

Author: Ernest Luning - February 3, 2018 - Updated: February 6, 2018

U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, a Democratic candidate for governor of Colorado, talks with an audience member after a gubernatorial forum sponsored by Democratcy Enter Colorado on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018, at the Wheat Ridge Grange in Wheat Ridge. (Photo by Ernest Luning/Colorado Politics)

U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, a leading Democratic candidate for governor of Colorado, announced Friday he’s been endorsed by more than 40 Latino current and former elected officials and civic leaders.

“I’m so honored to have earned the support of so many hardworking community leaders, and I look forward to partnering with them to build a bright and inclusive future for Colorado,” Polis said in a statement.

While Colorado’s Latino communities are “essential to Colorado’s history and Colorado’s future,” Polis said, “too often Latino voices go unheard in our government. Latino voices deserve to be heard on all issues — whether that’s how to improve our public schools, expanding access to affordable health care, bringing down the cost of housing, or modernizing our transportation system.”

Polis, a five-term congressman and former member of the State Board of Education, founded the New America School, a network of charter schools that enrolls young immigrants. He also founded Aurora’s Cinema Latino, which presents movies in Spanish.

His guest at President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address this week was an immigrant known as a Dreamer, a Colorado State University student brought illegally to the United States as a young child. Polis is a member of the bipartisan House Problem Solvers Caucus, which is working on proposals to resolve an impasse over immigration policy.

“Whether it’s in the classroom, the workplace, or at home in our neighborhoods, the people of Colorado need a governor focused on creating opportunities for all of us, no matter the county or zip code,” said Denver City Councilman Paul Lopez in a statement. “Jared Polis has been and will continue to be that leader.”

Polis is among 10 Democrats who have filed to run for the office held by term-limited Gov. John Hickenlooper. Other major candidates include Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne, former State Treasurer Cary Kennedy, former state Sen. Mike Johnston and business owner and civic leader Noel Ginsburg.

Colorado’s primary is June 26.


Below are the endorsements Polis released this week:

Current elected officials:
Dan Pabon, state representative
Adrienne Benavidez, state representative
Paul Lopez, Denver city council member
Maria De Cambra, Westminster mayor pro tem
Gustavo Reyna, Lafayette Mayor pro tem
Yolanda Avila, Colorado Springs city council member
Garrison Ortiz, Pueblo County Commissioner
Larry Atencio, Pueblo city council member

Former elected officials:
Abel Tapia, former state senator
Polly Baca, former state senator
Rob Hernandez, former state senator
Val Vigil, former state representative
Cecil Gutierrez, former Loveland mayor
Ramona Martinez, former Denver city council member
Rosemary Rodriguez, former Denver city council member and former Denver Public Schools board member
Jorge Amaya, former Alamosa county commissioner

Former Democratic Party officials:
Beverly Benavidez Ryken, former vice chair of the Colorado Democratic Party
Blanca O’Leary, former Pitkin County Democratic Party chair and Democratic National Committee member
Rick Palacio, former Colorado Democratic Party chairman and and Democratic National Committee member

Civic leaders and business owners:
Marlene De La Rosa, community leader
Rhonda Solis, community leader
Nita Gonzales, community leader
Rudy Gonzales, community leader
Zee Ferrufino, owner, KBNO Radio
Leonard Martinez, business wwner
Cynthia Martinez, Denver teacher
Barbara DesMarteau, leadership development consultant
Estevan Flores, owner, Flores Consulting, LLC
Miguel Baca Barragan, radio talk show host
Christine Alonzo, commissioner, United States Civil Rights Commission
Irene Vilar, founder Americas for Conservation
Fabian Ortega, community leader
Angela Alfaro, community leader
William Neidig, owner, La Familia Broadcasting
Dusti Gurule, community leader
Jose Beteta, executive director, Latino Chamber of Commerce
Tamil Maldonado Vega, founder, Barrio E’
Joan Padilla, community leader
Olivia Mendoza, community leader
Grace Lopez Ramirez, community leader
Miriam Peña, community leader

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning is a political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has covered politics and government for newspapers and online news sites in Colorado for more than 25 years, including at the Highlands Ranch Herald, the Jefferson Sentinels chain of community newspapers and the Aurora Sentinel, where he was the city hall and cops reporter. After editing the Aurora Daily Sun, he was a political reporter and blogger for The Colorado Independent site. For nearly a decade, he was a senior political reporter and occasional editor at The Colorado Statesman before the 119-year-old publication merged with Colorado Politics in 2017.