Democrat Joe Neguse on Tuesday made official his bid for Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District, telling The Denver Post that his concerns about climate change and the policies of President Donald Trump spurred him to run for the heavily Democratic seat.
In preparation for the campaign, Neguse is resigning from his job as executive director of the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies — effective June 26 — and he shored up support from a long list of elected officials, notably former state House Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst and current state Senate Minority Leader Lucía Guzmán.
The slate of endorsements, coupled with a liberal platform that conforms to a district with a big Democratic base, likely will give Neguse an early boost in the race to replace U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Boulder, who this week announced a run for governor.
In an interview, Neguse said a large part of his motivation to run for the U.S. House is to combat the policies of the Trump administration and the Republican-controlled Congress — notably Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, his push to bar travel from several predominantly Muslim countries and GOP plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Foremost among those concerns, he said, is global warming, and he wants to see Congress put more of an emphasis on encouraging renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power. “There is no more important and transformative issue facing us than climate change,” Neguse said. “It’s the future of our planet.”“If there were ever a time to join the fight … now is the time,” Neguse said.
Another policy fight Neguse said is important — as well as personal — is Trump’s ongoing efforts to implement what the president has described as a “travel ban” on refugees and other immigrants from six predominantly Muslim countries. Neguse said his parents came to the U.S. in 1980 as refugees from the African country of Eritrea and that the current administration’s drive to close the door to other immigrants is “an attack on the freedoms that we hold dear, and that includes a freedom to emigrate to this country.”
If elected, Neguse would become the first black lawmaker in Colorado’s congressional delegation.
In the coming weeks, Neguse said he plans to roll out a broader policy platform but his broad goals include fighting for public schools, implementing a ban on assault rifles and, on health care, moving toward “Medicare for all.”
This isn’t Neguse’s first foray into politics.
He lost a 2014 race for secretary of state to Republican Wayne Williams and previously served on the University of Colorado Board of Regents for Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District.
Neguse, 33, also co-founded the left-leaning group New Era Colorado, which encourages young people to become active in politics and voting.