Resume: Clinical psychologist and environmental activist; former clinical supervisor and adjunct professor at the University of Denver; former director for the Graduate Clinical Extern Training Program at American University
Give me your 30-second elevator pitch: Why are you running?
Diana Bray: I’m a clinical psychologist, mom of four, and I’ve been involved in climate activism for 10 years. I didn’t see any other U.S. Senate candidate who had truly been interested in addressing the existential crisis of our time, which I believe is climate. I’ve also been involved in working in mental health as a psychologist for 31 years, so I have a tremendous interest in what I believe is the crisis of identity that our county is having now. The opiate crisis. The suicide crisis. And also I’m a huge proponent for Medicare for All, without the insurance option. And so I’m deeply interested in public health issues, and mental health issues, and I also have an interest in the immigrant crisis, gun violence, and social justice issues, in general.
What sets you apart from the other Democratic Party candidates?
I’ve never been in politics before. I’ve never aspired to be a politician. I’m coming at this from a very different place, and I think that’s a huge difference and a huge advantage. I’m not beholden to anyone. I’m going after oil and gas. I’m challenging big pharma. I’m challenging the NRA. I’m willing to do these things.
What is your top policy priority?
The humanitarian disaster that’s resulting from the climate crisis. I’m interested in climate because of the horrific social justice issues involved. That’s one of the reasons I’m also interested in immigration [and] immigrant rights, because there are going to be millions of climate refugees who are seeking refuge all over the planet, whole countries are going to go under water, and lots and lots of people are going to be affected. So I’m coming at it and interested in it from a humanitarian perspective, a social justice perspective.
How would you ensure Colorado’s interests are met in Washington, D.C.?
Washington doesn’t intimidate me at all because I grew up there and I just feel like the ultimate insider/outsider. My parents are still there….The political climate changes from time to time, but I think that there are people who go to Washington and can be very bold there, to advocate. We’re seeing it now amongst some groups, to advocate for what we need to do to protect our democracy, and I think I would be one of those people. I’m not someone who is going to act in a politically expedient way. The reason I want to be a U.S. senator is so I can actually make serious change, not so that I can just go on to the next political job.
How would you work with an increasingly divided Senate?
I think you have to absolutely stand up for the values that took you there in the first place. And I think that when politicians talk about seeking negotiations and compromise and reaching across the aisle, that’s how Democrats lose elections. I think that, absolutely, I would advocate for those things that are important and we can see that in what I’m advocating for here in Colorado. I’m the only candidate who is advocating an end to fracking. My obsession, my passion, is climate, and we have a situation here in Colorado where we can’t breathe. The oil and gas industry has a stranglehold around our necks and there are politicians and even Democrats who are beholden to them. So I have a serious interest in getting money out of politics, campaign finance reform. It’s not enough to just say that. You actually have to live it, and I’m one of the very few U.S. Senate candidates who has said [I would] take no money from fossil fuels.
What is something voters might not know about you?
The first day that I met my husband (he’s an Australian), he told me we were going to get married.
Did you believe him?
No. Not at all. He’s a Queenslander Crocodile Dundee and I met him on this tiny little island and I’m from Washington, D.C., from a highly political, intellectual family. I just laughed. I found it funny but it turns out that he had the last laugh because it was true.
Now for the lightning round….Pick one:
Broncos or Rockies?
I-25 or I-70?
National Western Stock Show or a show at Red Rocks Amphitheatre?
Coors Banquet Beer or a Colorado craft brew?
Colorado craft brew
Hike a fourteener or raft the Arkansas River?
Hike a fourteener
Fall foliage or wildflower season?
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve or Rocky Mountain National Park?
Rocky Mountain National Park
Wyoming or Utah?
Editor’s note: Responses have been edited for length and clarity.