“Our freedoms are now under attack — and it’s up to us to fight back.”
“As the son of immigrants to this country who were given a shot at the American dream, I’m running because that dream is under assault now as never before. I’ll go to Congress and fight for the values we share – because now is the time.”
- Joe Neguse
Democrat Running to Represent Colorado's 2nd Congressional District
As a 33-year-old son of refugees from Africa, Joe is not your typical candidate for Congress. But his family's story, and deeply held belief that we need people from all walks of life to speak up and engage in our democracy, has motivated him to run for Congress and fight for Colorado values in Washington D.C.
Joe is an attorney, civic leader, and public servant who has spent his career fighting to expand opportunities for families across our state. He has lived in the 2nd Congressional District for the last 15 years, and was honored to represent the people of the district as an elected member of CU’s Board of Regents. He and his wife Andrea (who grew up in Broomfield) consider themselves incredibly lucky to call the beautiful City of Lafayette home, where they enjoy running on Boulder County’s amazing trails with their puppy Teddy (a pug-aussie mix).
Over 35 years ago, Joe’s parents fled Eritrea, a war-torn country in East-Africa, and immigrated to the United States as refugees, eventually settling in Colorado, where he and his sister were raised. As hardworking immigrants and naturalized citizens, Joe’s parents never forgot nor took for granted the freedom and opportunities the United States gave them and their children. Their experience motivated Joe to be an active participant in our democracy at an early age, and to give back through public service.
First, after graduating from the University of Colorado at Boulder summa cum laude and working for the then-Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives, Andrew Romanoff, Joe co-founded New Era Colorado, the state’s largest youth voter registration and mobilization non-profit in Colorado. The organization, which has been featured in the New York Times and Time Magazine, has since registered over 100,000 young people to vote across the state, secured successful passage of progressive legislation at the state level (including online voter registration and 16/17 year-old voter preregistration), and has led the fight locally against climate change.
Later, while still in law school at CU, Joe was elected in 2008 by the voters of the 2nd Congressional District to serve on the CU Board of Regents, becoming only the second African-American to be elected Regent in Colorado’s history. Joe served a six-year term on the Board (which oversees the CU-System, the fourth largest employer in the state with an operating budget of $3.4 billion), including two-years as Chair of the Audit Committee. As a Regent, Joe fought to make higher education more affordable and accessible and to build consensus on tough issues, sponsoring several resolutions that received bi-partisan and unanimous support, including efforts to lower student health insurance costs and make voter registration more accessible to students, as well as working to increase wages for the University’s lowest-paid workers.
Then, following his term as a Regent, Joe was appointed at the age of 31 to lead the state’s consumer protection agency, making him one of the youngest people to serve in a state-Cabinet across the country. He led the department—an agency with roughly 600 employees and a $90 million budget—for two years, leading the fight to expand economic opportunities by protecting the civil rights of every Coloradan and strengthening consumer protections and safeguards. During his tenure the agency achieved key victories, including the recovery of millions of dollars for consumers, investigations culminating in significant financial-fraud cases, the championing of legislation to combat financial fraud against seniors, and launch of the state’s first online filing system for civil rights discrimination complaints.
Joe's public service is rooted in his firm belief that we should be expanding—not restricting—opportunities for all Coloradans, and he has spent his career doing the same. The opportunity to immigrate to our incredible country and pursue the American dream; to attend college, and participate in our economy; and ultimately, to shape our democracy. Joe’s belief that all Coloradans are entitled to these opportunities, shaped by his parent’s journey and experience, has been a guiding principle in his life, and he’s ready to fight for these opportunities every day in the United States Congress.
Joe has earned the endorsement of many folks across the ten counties of the 2nd Congressional District, including mayors, activists, and legislators in Boulder, Ft. Collins, Broomfield, Summit and Eagle Counties, Idaho Springs, and elsewhere — Click here for a preliminary list of Joe's Endorsers.
What Joe's Fighting For
Joe’s parents immigrated to the United States from a war-torn country in East-Africa, drawn here by America’s promise and the opportunity to live the American Dream. But that dream is under assault now as never before. That’s why Joe is running for Congress – to push back against the Trump Administration, fight for real change in Washington D.C., and give everyone the chance to pursue the American Dream. Joe will fight to expand opportunities for all Coloradans and protect our fundamental rights as Americans, including, among many others:
The right to breathe clean air and drink clean water, which means combatting climate change by significantly increasing investments in renewable energy, eliminating subsidies for fossil-fuel companies, repealing the Federal "Halliburton-loophole" for natural gas development, and supporting the incredible Federal research labs throughout our district;
The right to quality health-care, which means opposing efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and fighting for a national Medicare-For-All healthcare system;
The right to participate in our economy, by fighting for fair wage policies such as the Paycheck Fairness Act and Raise the Wage legislation to increase the minimum wage to $15, as well as making public higher education more affordable for all Coloradans;
The right to not be discriminated against because of who you are, where you're from, or whom you love, which means protecting women's reproductive rights, including supporting the EACH Woman Act of 2017 that protects a woman’s right to choose, fighting for immigration reform, and championing legislation to protect all Americans from discrimination (such as the Equality Act);
The right to be safe from violence in our communities, by fighting for sensible gun-control measures, such as closing the Federal "gun show loophole," supporting an assault-weapons ban, and opposing concealed-carry "reciprocity" legislation;
The right to participate in our democracy, which means overturning the disastrous Citizens United decision, reforming the dysfunctional Federal Election Commission, and protecting our sacred right to vote; and
The right to enjoy our treasured public lands, which means fighting against privatization and oil-and-gas development efforts on Federal public lands and continuing Congressman Polis' efforts to protect open space in our district (such as the Continental Divide Wilderness and Recreation Act) and across Colorado, including protecting national monuments like Bears Ears and Browns Canyon;
Put simply, Joe is running for Congress because now, more than ever, we need a new generation of leaders who will push for bold solutions to our most pressing problems, and not accept the status quo. If elected, Joe will be a passionate advocate for protecting our rights and will fight each and every day for the people of the 2nd Congressional District.
I’m endorsing Joe because I know he will fight each and every day for the people of this district on the most pressing issues of our time—income inequality, campaign finance reform, and most importantly, the fight against climate change
Lafayette State Representative
Right now, more than ever, we need bold and truly progressive public servants to protect and fight for our values. As someone who has known and worked with Joe for over fifteen years, I truly believe he will be the fighter we need in Washington D.C.
Boulder State Senator
I’ve known Joe for years. He earned my heartfelt support when he was CU Regent. His hard work, passion, and ability to listen ensured every citizen across the district—from the central mountains to northern Colorado—was heard. He’ll bring the same dedication and commitment as our representative in Washington D.C.
Fort Collins State Representative
I have known Joe since he was a student leader at CU—Joe is a born leader and a perfect fit for the district. He will fight for climate action and economic justice, and just as important, he will be effective, which is why I’m delighted to endorse him.