DENVER – U.S. Rep. Jared Polis is joining a crowded field in the race for Colorado governor.
The Democrat from Boulder said Sunday that he wants to see the state use 100 percent renewable energy by 2040 and provide free, full-day preschool or kindergarten for children age 3 and older.
“My focus has always been where can I have the biggest positive impact on the state and the country, particularly in light of President Trump pulling out of Paris and all of the movement in the wrong direction on oil and gas and renewable energy and coal,” Polis told Colorado Public Radio, referring to President Donald Trump withdrawing the U.S. from the global climate agreement.
“Any progress will need to be made at the state level,” Polis said.
In an interview Monday he added that his renewable energy goals should not be seen as an attack on the oil and gas extraction industry but an elevation of the state’s goal of reaching 30 percent renewable energy by 2020.
“It’s about cleaner air, it’s about pricing stability on our energy. It doesn’t directly affect the extraction industry, this is about where we get the electricity that powers our grid,” he said.
Additionally Polis said he hopes to bring equity to the state’s economy and create a “Colorado that works for everybody.”
“It means rural broadband, it means universal preschool and kindergarten, it means 100 percent renewable energy for the state and clean energy jobs that can never be outsourced,” he said.
Another area of interest is ensuring stability for the Colorado cannabis industry.
Polis said he supported Amendment 64 and fought for legalization and regulation on the national stage using alcohol regulations as a framework.
“In Colorado I want to help make sure we continue to be a leader in growing good jobs in the cannabis economy and reducing drug abuse,” he said.
Almost two dozen people are seeking the seat being vacated by Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, who cannot seek re-election because of term limits.
Other Democrats include U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, former state treasurer Carry Kennedy and former state Sen. Mike Johnston. Republicans include Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler, former state legislator Victor Mitchell and Doug Robinson, a nephew of Mitt Romney.
Polis, one of the top five wealthiest congressmen, spent about $6 million of his personal fortunate to win his House seat in 2008. He said he plans to do the same as he seeks the nomination for governor.
“I wouldn’t ask other people to invest in my race if I wasn’t willing to invest in it myself,” Polis told The Denver Post.
Polis is beginning his campaign with a tour of several front range cities Monday but hopes to expand into the Western Slope and rural areas of the state in the future.
“We’re touting are 100 percent renewable energy for the entire state by 2040, and I’m looking forward to taking that message to La Plata County voters,” he said.
Herald Staff Writer Luke Perkins contributed to this story.