Jeni Arndt for Colorado
State Representative, House District 53 in CO http://jeniarndt.com
1603 West Mulberry Street
Fort Collins, CO
Primary Election Date: 2014-06-24 General Election Date: 2014-11-04
Who am I?
I grew up in the district and attended local public schools. I then attended Colorado College and the University of Colorado for graduate school before heading to the Peace Corps in Morocco where I served as a teacher. Upon returning to the U.S., I decided to pursue a career in education. I started as a high school special education teacher. Subsequently, I earned my Phd in Literacy and Language from Purdue University; served as a principal and International Baccalaureate coordinator; joined higher education as a faculty member; and became department head of special education and literacy graduate teaching programs. I have also served on two school boards. These experiences have led me to be a strong advocate of public education. My involvement in the community and in various leadership positions led several people to ask me to run for the seat vacated by our much respected but term-limited Representative. I have been married for 25 years, and we have three children aged 20, 18 and 16.
Why am I running?
I am running to represent my hometown district because I feel it is a way I can give back to the community. Recently, Democrats were in the minority by one vote in the Colorado state house. It is crucial to keep all the seats we have and to win more. When community leaders approached me to run, I was poised to help the person who was the most electable. When the answer came back that they felt I was the most electable, I soul searched for six months before deciding to run. I am running for this particular office because a) it is my home district b) I have worked with state legislatures in my role as an educator and c) it's where I think I can contribute the most. I quit my job in May of 2013 to devote all my energy to learning the issues, meeting the people and organizing a strong campaign.
My top three policy goals while in office are: 1. Being a strong advocate for public education from pre-school through graduate school. In Colorado, we rank between 46-49 in funding for public schools in the United States. This is unacceptable. Our higher education institutions receive only 3-5% of their budgets from the state. Costs are rising for college students. Teachers are being asked to do more with less and our school infrastructure is deteriorating. 2. Being a strong advocate and defender of our local environment. In Colorado, we are having a resurgence in oil and gas extraction. While that industry brings jobs and revenue to the state, we must be vigilant in ensuring it does not put our environment at risk. 3. We must face the challenges of global climate change with creativity, innovation and vigor. This includes public policy which reduces our carbon footprint and public policy that mitigates against the impact of climate change.
My DFA Values
Our campaign embodies the values of community, security and liberty in the following manner. First, we embody community by being inclusive and collaborative in all our endeavors. Our campaign team is structured to model the collaboration and inclusivity that we espouse. We reach out to all people and invite them to participate and contribute their ideas to the campaign. In terms of security, I will work tirelessly to secure public funding for important public institutions. In addition, in Fort Collins, we are well-known for our efforts in green/renewable energy. We must work to progressively develop a clean energy economy. Liberty, in part, means freedom from discrimination. As a former special education teacher, I am committed to equality for all including people with disabilities. We won't stop advocating for our LGBT community members to have marriage equality.
My Campaign is People Powered!
Over the past year, 20 neighbors have hosted house parties. At these parties, we emphasize listening to people's concerns and answering their questions. The conversations have been rich and informative. We will continue with house parties as a way to engage potential voters. Our campaign is fortunate in that I was able to start early and earn key democratic endorsements from elected officials. I worked hard early to build a strong campaign infrastructure and now we have time to begin our grassroots door to door canvassing campaign. As the candidate, I plan to walk every single precinct of my district. We also have a robust volunteer corps who will also canvass with me.