Former CU Regent for 2nd Congressional District Announces Candidacy for Congress

June 13th, 2017

Son of African refugees, Joe Neguse would become the first African-American
ever elected to Congress in Colorado history

Today, former CU Regent Joe Neguse announced his candidacy to represent Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District in the U.S. Congress. If elected, Neguse, a first-generation American, would become the first African-American ever elected to Congress in Colorado’s 141-year history.

Neguse, 33, has secured the endorsements of over twenty former and current elected officials across the district, including: Summit County Commissioner Dan Gibbs, House Majority Leader KC Becker, Boulder State Senator Steve Fenberg, Boulder Rep. Edie Hooton, Lafayette Rep. Mike Foote, Ft. Collins Rep. Joann Ginal, Ft. Collins Rep. Jeni Arndt, Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett, Broomfield Rep. Matt Gray, Eagle County Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush, Longmont Rep. Jonathan Singer, former Boulder Mayor Will Toor, former Speaker of the House Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, Lafayette Mayor Christine Berg, Former State Reps. Claire Levy, Alice Madden, and Dianne Primavera, Clear Creek Commissioner Tim Mauck, Boulder County Treasurer Paul Weissman, and former Senators Dorothy Rupert and Joan FitzGerald, among many others (preliminary list below).

Over 35 years ago Neguse’s parents fled Eritrea, a small 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. In 2008, at the age of 24, Neguse was elected by the voters of Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District to serve on CU’s Board of Regents, where he served for six years representing the district.

“As refugees and naturalized citizens, my parents never forgot or took for granted the freedom and opportunities the United States gave them and their children. My family’s story embodies the American Dream, but today under President Trump that dream is turning into a nightmare for far too many, and it’s up to us to fight back,” Neguse stated. “For generations America has meant the promise of opportunity, but with every new action coming out of Washington D.C, from the travel ban on Muslims, to the withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, to the rolling back of the student loan forgiveness program, the Trump administration is taking opportunity away when we need to be working harder than ever to expand opportunity for all,” Neguse continued. “I am running for Congress to work every-day to resist Trump’s disastrous agenda, to change the way business is done in Washington D.C and to work hard to expand opportunity for all and to make sure that the next generation has a fair shot at their version of the American Dream.”

As the second-youngest Regent ever elected in state history, Neguse worked to build consensus on tough issues, fighting to make higher education affordable and accessible. Prior to being elected Regent, he served as a Commissioner on the Boulder Housing Authority, and worked at the State Capitol for then-Speaker of the House, Andrew Romanoff. He also co-founded New Era Colorado, the largest youth voter registration and mobilization non-profit organization in Colorado, serving as the inaugural Board Chair. The organization has since registered over 100,000 young people to vote across the state and secured successful passage of progressive legislation at the state level (including online voter registration and 16/17 year-old voter preregistration).

“Right now 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.” stated Boulder State Senator Steve Fenberg. “I’m endorsing Joe because I know he will fight 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,” added Lafayette State Representative Mike Foote.

In 2014, Neguse served as the Democratic nominee for Colorado Secretary of State. Following the campaign, Neguse was appointed to lead Colorado’s consumer protection agency, leading a Department of nearly 600 employees, including overseeing the state’s civil rights division and multiple divisions responsible for combatting financial fraud. Neguse has resigned from his position effective June 26th in order to campaign full-time.

“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.,” stated Fort Collins State Representative Jeni Arndt. “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,” added former Mayor of Boulder & Boulder County Commissioner Will Toor.

“Having had the pleasure of living in the 2nd district for the last fifteen years—and representing the wonderful communities throughout the district while on the Board of Regents—I can say without a doubt that it is the most breathtaking congressional district in the country,” stated Neguse. “If elected, I will work each and every day to protect our environment, including fighting for bold action against climate change, and protecting our treasured public lands by continuing Congressman Polis’ important fight to secure passage of the Continental Divide Wilderness and Recreation Act.”

Neguse lives with his wife, Andrea, in Lafayette with their puppy—a pug-Aussie mix named Teddy. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from the University of Colorado where he graduated summa cum laude and also served as student body president. He received his juris doctorate from the University of Colorado Law School, where he served as class president. He is also an
accomplished attorney who was selected for inclusion in the Colorado Super Lawyers—Rising Stars list from 2012—2015, the Denver Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” in 2016, and most recently as an American Bar Association “Top 40 Young Lawyer” in 2017.

–Former Boulder State Senator Dorothy Rupert (Treasurer for the Neguse campaign)
–State Senator Steve Fenberg (Boulder—Senate District 18)
–State Representative Joann Ginal (Fort Collins—House District 42)
–State Representative Jeni Arndt (Fort Collins—House District 43)
–Former Mayor of Boulder Will Toor
–Summit County Commissioner Dan Gibbs
–Mayor of Lafayette Christine Berg
–Former Speaker of the House Dickey Lee Hullinghorst (Boulder)
–Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett
–House Majority Leader KC Becker (Boulder—House District 12)
–State Representative Jonathan Singer (Longmont—House District 11)
–State Representative Edie Hooton (Boulder—House District 10)
–State Representative Mike Foote (Lafayette—House District 13)
–State Representative Diane Mitch Bush (House District 26—Eagle County)
–Former State Representative Claire Levy (Boulder)
–Former State Representative Dianne Primavera (Broomfield)
–State Representative Matt Gray (Broomfield—House District 33)
–Rich Pelletier (Former Deputy Campaign Manager for U.S Senator Bernie Sanders)
–Former State Senate President Joan Fitzgerald
–Boulder County Treasurer Paul Weissmann (Louisville)
–Clear Creek County Commissioner Tim Mauck (Idaho Springs)
–Former House Majority Leader Alice Madden (Boulder)
–CU Regent for 2nd Congressional District Linda Shoemaker
–Colorado State Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman
–State Senator Rhonda Fields
–State Senator Angela Williams
–State Senator Leroy Garcia
–State Representative Jeff Bridges
–State Representative Leslie Herod
–State Representative Dan Pabon