Nancy Jackson, Candidate for Arapahoe County Commissioner


InvestHER recently sat down with Nancy Jackson to talk about what it is like to be a candidate for the Arapahoe County Commissioner. 

Which office are you running for and where?
Arapahoe County Commissioner, district #4

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 decided to run for office because I have always been a volunteer and politically active, and I was about ready to retire from teaching, and was looking for a new way to make a difference.

My earliest inspiration came from my grandmother, who as an adult, escaped Nazi Poland, came here without speaking English, married my grandfather when they were both in their 60’s.  She was a woman who loved life, and who encouraged me to have courage, compassion, and be a constant learner.

What did you do before you decided to run? Where did you go to school? Tell us a little about your resume.
I was a teacher department chair and consultant before running.   I have a BA, MA and PhD all from the University of Colorado.  I was a professor in local Community colleges, and 5 years as Associate Professor at Clemson University. I have been a Board member of  Aurora Mental Health for off and on over 30 years, as well as serving on a variety of community, state and national  Boards and committees. For example, I currently chair the Board for Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners, the state-wide 24/7 hotline for crises, and I serve on the Colorado Workforce Development Council. I was also recently appointed to the Colorado Criminal and Juvenile Justice Commission.  I serve and lead several other committees and boards.

What are your top 3 key initiatives/policies?
Homelessness - working across the county with cities and districts to agree on best practices and humane common policies for folks living on trails and in parks. We are also working towards supportive and transitional housing for justice-involved folks.

De-Criminalizing Mental Health and substance disorders - working with a variety of constituencies to find resources and policies to divert people with Behavioral Health issues so that they receive treatment rather than punishment.

Helping people with barriers to employment or working people who are receiving less than a sustainable wages to get training/internships/apprenticeships, and other needed services so that they can work and sustain themselves and their families.

Tell us about a day in the life of your campaign or tell us your favorite story from the campaign trail.
There is no such thing as a “typical day” in the life of a commissioner.  I attend a lot of community meetings, I am on a variety of boards, committees and task forces, mostly focused on my primary areas of interest as stated above, or in community meetings or with constituent work. I spend so much time doing my job that I can only walk on the weekends.  I try to walk and knock on doors in my district with volunteers every Saturday and Sunday.  I also attend meetings where I usually speak on my most popular topic, “What does a County Commissioner Do?”  Very few people that I meet actually understand the importance of the role. 

What is the biggest challenge you face as a candidate? Are there challenges you face that are unique to you as a woman candidate?My biggest challenge is not having enough time to walk as much as I’d like.  I favor face-to-face meetings, and don’t usually make phone calls.  We run a very lean campaign, and I don’t accept money from developers, oil and gas, or other lobbyists. So my other challenge is to contact enough small donors to fund the campaign. 

In terms of challenges facing women candidates, we all struggle with having to work twice as hard to be credible.

What can women do to help you?
As individuals, donate, volunteer, or host a coffee/gathering of friends in my district.  In addition, any “GOTV” efforts which emphasize voting all the way down the ballot is also helpful.

Share a fun fact or two with us! 
I love popcorn and opera. I have three kids and three grandkids.

Any additional thoughts?
I love the idea of women helping women, and I hope that the word of this group is spread throughout the metro area!