US Rep. Jared Polis, who’s been an outspoken supporter of legal cannabis during his recent years in Congress, announced this week that he will join Colorado’s congested race for governor. The progressive Democrat out of Boulder will test just how far left the state has shifted politically in the last decade.
In an interview with the Denver Post, Polis said his platform will focus on three main initiatives: getting Colorado to use 100% renewable energy by 2040, ensuring parents can access full-day preschool or kindergarten for children age 3 and older for free, and finally, encouraging companies in the Rocky Mountain state to provide stock options to employees.
“This is a campaign of big, bold ideas, and I’m trying to make them happen,” Polis said. “We want a Colorado that works for everybody.”
At the federal level, Polis has long been a proponent of the big, bold idea of cannabis legalization. During his time in Washington, DC, he’s championed numerous measures to protect state-legal cannabis. Back at the end of March, Polis introduced a bill called the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, that would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act and regulate it like alcohol.
In February, he and other federal lawmakers launched the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, a bipartisan group dedicated to promoting and protecting the legal cannabis industry.
Polis joins the race to become governor after taking a fairly unusual path to Congress. In college, he co-founded and sold the tech firm American Information Systems. He then co-founded an electronic greeting card website, Bluemountain.com, which he sold for more than $350 million.
Polis is reported to have a net worth of over $90 million dollars, making him one of the richest members of Congress. That will be important as he attempts to make his way through a stacked and competitive gubernatorial race. Among those who’ve their hats in the ring so far are fellow Congressman Ed Perlmutter, former state Sen. Mike Johnson, Mitt Romney nephew Doug Robinson, and an assortment of others.
When Polis officially launches his governor’s bid, he’s expected to use some of his own funds to foot the campaign. He’s expected to face a fight in Colorado’s powerful oil and gas sector, which employs tens of thousands.
If Polis were to win, he’d make history as Colorado’s first openly gay governor. He’s currently the first openly gay parent to serve in Congress.