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Photo courtesy of Michelle Ferrigno Warren

Colorado’s 2020 Senate Candidates: Michelle Ferrigno Warren

The first-time candidate, who highlights her ability to listen and build bridges, hopes her nonprofit and community advocacy background will propel her to the Senate.

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Resume: Advocacy and strategic engagement director for the Christian Community Development Association; former public school teacher; founder of Open Door Ministries

Give me your 30-second elevator pitch: Why are you running?
Michelle Ferrigno Warren: I am running for Senate because I believe we need Congressional leadership that has a well-defined muscle of choosing someone else’s best interest over their own personal, professional, and political gain. I have a lifetime of public service, and choosing someone else’s best interest over my own is my strongest muscle. I’m also excited that there are a number of women running. I think Colorado has a strong reputation of lifting up the voices of women and following their leadership….It is confounding to me that all these years later, eight of our nine congressional leaders are men….If women like me aren’t going to jump into the race, then what are we waiting for?

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What sets you apart from the other Democratic Party candidates?
Politically, there are many issues where I have shared values. I’ve worked specifically on building bridges. I come from a very conservative background. All of my family is Republican. I don’t feel like I switched sides. As I continue to grow into a bigger and broader worldview of what’s going on….having seen firsthand societal injustices, and limitations, and lack of opportunity, I’ve spent the past 26 years of my career working on solutions to address those issues holistically. It includes public policy, but it’s more than that. I think what sets me apart is my front row seat into some of the hardest issues we’re dealing with.

What is your top policy priority?
While I care about a lot of issues, I would say the issues at the forefront are the ones that leave us siloed and divided in this perpetual, inequitable space. I think the root of the issues in this country is division. Issues I care about are the ones that will bring us to the table to bridge the divide and help us move forward with justice and equity. I’m ready to talk about a lot of issues, but I truly believe that I first need to listen more.

How would you ensure Colorado’s interests are met in Washington, D.C.?
My role, if the state of Colorado elects me, would be what it has been my entire life: And that is listening. Everybody wants to be part of the process; people who want to build a strong Colorado together should have an open entry to the table. I have always been the person in the room who listened and assessed who is not there and has gone out to find them when they’re not at the table and then given them the microphone. I work with politicians in Washington all the time. Politics is a game that people play to get things done, and the game has drifted so far away from the people. Politics has become about winning and losing, and when it’s about winning and losing, everyone loses.

How would you work with an increasingly divided Senate?
I have a tremendous amount of experience at creating tables of unlikely allies that come together to address the most pressing social issues that we face so we can move forward together as a state….I have a long career and history and have earned a lot of respect as a person who listens. I’m not content when I don’t hear from all of the people. I am a bridge builder.

What is something voters might not know about you?
I have made intentional choices to make my career about other people. If voters are going to get to know me, I want them to know that what I say is my bond. When I say service above self, I say that because I have practiced it every single day of my adult life.

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Now for the lightning round….Pick one: 

Broncos or Rockies? 
Broncos

I-25 or I-70? 
I-70

National Western Stock Show or a show at Red Rocks Amphitheatre? 
Red Rocks

Coors Banquet Beer or a Colorado craft brew? 
Craft brew

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Hike a fourteener or raft the Arkansas River? 
Raft the Arkansas

Fall foliage or wildflower season? 
Fall foliage

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve or Rocky Mountain National Park? 
Rocky Mountain National Park

Wyoming or Utah? 
Utah

Editor’s note: Responses have been edited for length and clarity.

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