In Jared Schutz Polis ’96’s first year in Congress, CNN cameras followed the Colorado Democrat for an online series called “Freshman Year.” (Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz also was profiled.) In the series, viewers saw behind-the-scenes moments, like Polis checking in with constituents via Facebook, filming the introductory video for his Web site, and winning a “Congressional Jeopardy” game against fellow representatives.
Now, early in his second year, Polis has been keeping his name in the news with his work in Washington and at home in Colorado. One of the few openly-gay members of Congress, he has been a leading voice in the push to end the military’s don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy, and late last month he introduced the Student Non-Discrimination Act, a bill that Polis said “puts [lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender] students on an equal footing with their peers, so they can attend school and get a quality education, free from fear.” He compared the bill to Title VI, which provided the same sort of protection for minority students in the 1960s, and Title IX, which helped put women on equal footing in the ’70s.
Polis also has proven his skills as a fundraiser: The Denver Post reported that in 2009, his political action committee gave more than $400,000 to Democratic members of Congress in swing districts and national political campaign groups, “writing checks for fellow freshmen representatives at a rate that rivals the fundraising clout of even Speaker Nancy Pelosi.”
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