Jared Polis is the current Governor of Colorado. However, he has been involved in state politics since 2000, meaning that he is by no means a political newcomer. In recent times, Polis has been receiving more mention in the news because of the COVID-19 crisis, with an excellent example being his response to a Republican comparison of his stay-at-home order to Nazism.
1. Son of Stephen Schutz and Susan Polis Schutz
Polis is the son of Stephen Schutz and Susan Polis Schutz, who are best-known for being the co-founders of the publisher Blue Mountain Arts. In 2000, Polis changed his legal surname from Schutz to Polis for the purpose of raising awareness for a fundraiser of some kind, which was apparently helped by the fact that he liked his mother’s surname more than his father’s surname.
2. Studied Politics
It seems safe to say that Polis was interested in politics even when he was still in school. After all, he went to Princeton University to study politics, with the result that he graduated from said school with a Bachelor of Arts in said subject. However, Polis didn’t go into politics but rather business upon his graduation.
3. Successful Entrepreneur
To be exact, Polis was a very successful entrepreneur. First, he co-founded an Internet access provider called American Information Systems when he was still in school. Later, Polis co-founded a free electronic greeting card website called bluemountain.com, which he managed to sell for $350 million in cash plus another $430 million in stocks. Later still, he founded an online florist called ProFlowers that went public under the new name of Provide Commerce. As such, Polis was one of the wealthiest members of the U.S. Congress when he sat in said body.
4, Has an Interest in Education
Polis’s philanthropic efforts make his interest in education very clear. For example, his Jared Polis Foundation put an emphasis on supporting the efforts of educators. Likewise, he has founded more than one charter school aimed at certain segments of the population in need of such services. On top of this, it should be mentioned that the first time that Polis ran for office, he ran for the position of a member of the Colorado State Board of Education, with the result that he went on to serve as both the board’s chairman and the board’s vice chairman.
5. Co-Chair of Coloradans For Clean Government
In 2006, Polis served as the co-chair of a group called Coloradans For Clean Government, which existed for the purpose of supporting a citizen-initiated ballot measure called Amendment 41. In short, Amendment 41 included four changes. First, it banned gift-giving from lobbyists to government officials. Second, it put a $50 annual limit on gift-giving from non-lobbyists to government officials. Third, it established a cooling-off period of two years during which former legislators as well as other former elected officials couldn’t begin working as lobbyists. Fourth, it set up an ethics commission with the independence needed to do its job right. In November of 2006, a majority of Coloradans voted in support of Amendment 41, thus enabling its changes to come into effect in the state of Colorado.
6. Opposed the Iraq War
It is interesting to note that Polis opposed the Iraq War from the very start, with the result that he has criticized not just President George W. Bush’s Republican administration but also the Democrats who supported said conflict while caught up in what the Republicans were claiming. Having said that, Polis didn’t ignore Iraq altogether, as shown by his support for the so-called “Sons of Iraq” policy that paid former police officials as well as military officials under Saddam Hussein to stop fighting the Americans and their allies in preference for patrolling their neighborhoods as well as fighting other Sunni insurgents. Polis did regret that the policy wasn’t introduced earlier, which makes sense because the disbanding of the Iraqi military provided considerable fuel to the Sunni insurgents.
7. More Supportive of the War in Afghanistan
In contrast, Polis was more supportive of the War in Afghanistan. To be exact, he was supportive of the initial ouster of the Taliban. However, Polis wasn’t fond of the occupation because he believed that it would be better to focus on diplomacy, intelligence, and special operations for the purpose of combating a stateless enemy that operated out of not one but two countries. Besides that, he was also interested in issues related to education as well as issues related to political corruption, which is perhaps unsurprising considering his previously demonstrated fields of interest.
8. Supporter of Civil Liberties
On the whole, Polis has been an outspoken supporter of civil liberties. In particular, it is worth mentioning his consistent opposition to the PATRIOT ACT, as shown by his statement that it has been “plagued with abuse” ever since its passage. On top of this, Polis is a supporter of an open and free Internet as well.
9. Supporter of LGBT Rights
It is interesting to note that Polis’s rise to the position of the Governor of Colorado made history in two ways. One, he is the first Jewish person to win said office. Second, he is the first openly gay person to win said office. Naturally, Polis is a supporter of LGBT rights, which has been demonstrated through numerous actions on his part. For example, he was the leading sponsor of the Student Non-Discrimination Act. Likewise, he voted for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell that prevented openly gay and openly lesbian people from serving in the U.S. military.
10. Enjoys Video Games
Amusingly, Polis enjoys video games. In particular, it has been mentioned that he enjoys League of Legends, which is one of the most successful examples of the multiplayer online battle arena genre that grew out of the real time strategy genre. Besides that, Polis also enjoys sports, seeing as how he is a fan of both the Colorado Rockies and the Denver Broncos.