[dehai-news] (Rocky Mountain News) 'Rock star' Neguse joins regents

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From: Biniam Tekle (biniamt@dehai.org)
Date: Mon Nov 10 2008 - 09:36:54 EST

   Both sides of aisle have high praise for CU law student By Berny Morson,
Rocky Mountain News (Contact) Published November 10, 2008 at 12:05 a.m.
 [image: Neguse, 23, is in his third year of law school at

Neguse, 23, is in his third year of law school at CU.

Coloradans will be seeing a lot of Joe Neguse in coming months.

Neguse, a Democrat, was elected last week to represent the 2nd Congressional
District on the University of Colorado Board of Regents. He vows to visit
every high school in the district to emphasize the importance of higher
education, a sector of state government that has seen heavy budget cuts in
recent years.

"The idea is that I would go out and engage in the community, because I
think it's not only positive for the students who are going to be thinking
about going to college - whether it's CU or another state institution - but
it's also great for parents and just for members of our community in general
. . . to get a sense of what they want from the university," said Neguse, a
third-year law student at CU.

Three years ago, Neguse was one of three student-government "tri-executives"
at the Boulder campus.

Now, many Democratic leaders say that at 23, the gregarious Neguse is ready
to deliver CU's message as one of nine regents who govern the four-campus
institution. He could be headed for a much higher office, they say.

"There are many of us who see the same talents in Joe Neguse as others see
in a certain junior senator from Illinois," Regent Michael Carrigan, of
Denver, a Democrat, said, referring to Barack Obama.

Carrigan recalls seeing Neguse speak on the west steps of the Capitol three
years ago during a student rally to increase higher education funding. "My
guess is, it won't be his last speech on the Capitol steps," Carrigan said.

House Speaker Andrew Romanoff called Neguse "a rock star."

"We're all going to be working for him some day," he said.

Neguse worked in the speaker's office for one year between graduation and
law school.

Republicans are almost as effusive about Neguse. "Intelligent, articulate,
well-spoken" are the adjectives Regent Tom Lucero offered to describe him.

Neguse is able to find compromises among people who disagree, said Garrett
Stanton, a Republican who served with Neguse as a student tri-executive.

"Joe is the type of guy that doesn't see things as good vs. bad, or my team
vs. your team," Stanton said.

In the regent race, Neguse defeated Republican Jerry Reed, of Granby. Reed
raised no money and did not campaign.

Neguse's parents emigrated separately from Eritrea in East Africa in 1980
and settled in California. Working several jobs and with the help of student
loans, his father graduated from California State University at Bakersfield
as an accountant. After raising two children, his mother graduated from the
University of Colorado at Denver and works in finance.

"It's something that's important to me - I'm cognizant of how much higher
education can do for individuals," Neguse said. "It's why I wanted to run
for regent and why now I'm excited to serve as regent."

Neguse graduated from Thunder Ridge High School in Douglas County. He
graduated from CU with a double major in political science and economics. He
graduates from law school in May. He said he maintained a respectable 3.3
grade point average despite campaigning in the sprawling 2nd District. He
wants to be a litigator.

Neguse is not sure whether the regent seat is a stepping stone to a
political career.

"I'm committed to doing public service for my life. . . . I don't think
running for office is the only way you can serve the public," he said.
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