Jena Griswold, Candidate for Colorado Secretary of State
Which office are you running for and where?
I am running for Colorado Secretary of State. The Secretary of State is a statewide elected office that oversees all of our elections.
When is your election day?
November 6, 2018
Why did you decide to run for public office? Did someone encourage or inspire you? If so, who?
I am running for office because I love Colorado and believe in our future. I grew up in Estes Park in a working-class family. I started working the summer after 7th grade and saw how many Colorado families struggle to make ends meet. This inspired me to attend college and then law school to help even the playing field for Coloradans. After law school, I left my law firm job to protect Coloradans’ voting rights as an attorney on President Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign. That is when I first saw how the Secretary of State can affect our right to vote.
We are at a crossroads with our democracy. We are seeing attacks against civil rights and our democratic institutions and have a real opportunity to strengthen our democracy. President Donald Trump recently formed an Election Commission and started to collect information on voters. Nearly every Secretary of State in the country immediately condemned this commission, realizing that it was the first step toward attacks on our voting rights. However, CO Republican Secretary of State Wayne Williams said he was glad the Commission was collecting information and sent Coloradans’ voter information to Trump in DC. This has led to thousands of Coloradans cancelling their voter registration. I announced my candidacy for Colorado Secretary State as a Democrat to safeguard our voting rights and voting information from Trump’s federal overreach, to bolster the cybersecurity in our elections, and to fight to get big money out of our politics.
What did you do before you decided to run? Where did you go to school? Tell us a little about your resume.
I grew up in Estes Park, Colorado and went to Whitman College where I graduated with a double Bachelor’s degree in Politics and Spanish Literature. I received a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. I previously practiced international anti-corruption law and then served as Director of Governor Hickenlooper’s D.C. Office. I have a legal practice and live in Louisville.
What are your top 3 key initiatives/policies?
As Colorado Secretary of State, I will expand automatic voter registration to get more eligible Coloradans voting in our democracy, safeguard our elections from cyberattacks, and increase campaign finance transparency.
Tell us about a day in the life of your campaign or tell us your favorite story from the campaign trail.
One of the great things about running for Colorado Secretary of State is traveling around our beautiful state and meeting so many amazing people. I am continually inspired by Coloradans and our commitment to building a fair and happy future. People care about our shared future and are showing up and getting involved. It inspired me every day to work even harder on my campaign.
What is the biggest challenge you face as a candidate? Are there challenges you face that are unique to you as a woman candidate?
I’m not the type of person who usually runs for office. I grew up working-class in Estes Park and am the first person in my family to attend a 4-year college. This creates a challenge. Running for a statewide office requires fundraising quite a bit of money to communicate by media to Coloradans all over the state. And we have a big state! I’ve always believed in putting in extra time and effort, and that’s exactly what we are doing to overcome this challenge.
What can women do to help you?
Women are going to make a huge difference in 2018! And it’s more crucial than ever that we win this Colorado Secretary of State’s office to protect our right to vote and our democracy. I’d love help on the campaign! You can sign up to volunteer with the campaign or contribute. You can sign up at jenaforcolorado.com, like our Facebook page, and follow the campaign on Twitter.
Share a fun fact or two with us!
I speak fluent Spanish, tell very corny jokes, and am an avid salsa dancer. I actually won a fellowship to study (dance!) salsa for an entire year.
Any additional thoughts?
We have a real opportunity in 2018 to strengthen our democracy. That’s exactly what I will fight for every single day as Colorado Secretary of State!