Next week, Colorado will pick its 43rd governor, as well as a new lieutenant governor. For their running mates, both gubernatorial candidates looked to the Front Range and for people who had served in Colorado’s House of Representatives. Jared Polis picked Broomfield’s Dianne Primavera, who served four times as a state representative, while Walker Stapleton selected Lang Sias, a two-term state representative from Arvada. We caught up with Primavera earlier this month to talk about Colorado, campaigning, and healthcare.

Editor’s note: After repeated requests to interview Lang Sias over the past two months, the Stapleton campaign said he was unavailable for an interview.

Meet Dianne Primavera

Motivation: Three decades ago, Primavera was diagnosed with breast cancer when her two children were young. She survived four cancer battles with “good medical care and a little luck from above,” she says. Those experiences informed her career and, later, her legislative work. “I spent my lifetime being a patient advocate,” she says.

The Call: In 2017, Primavera became Susan G. Komen Colorado’s CEO. “I figured my political days were done,” she says. “And then I got a call from Jared.” Primavera thought he might have a more routine campaign request, so she didn’t call him back right away. When they did speak, she was excited to join the ticket and potentially return to the Capitol. “It’s a place in elected office where you can do the most good for the most people,” Primavera says. “I realized I could take the breast cancer platform and expand it even more.”

To-Do List: “I’ve told Jared many times that—in my book—all roads lead to healthcare.” When asked if there was a bill that she wasn’t able to pass during her time in the House of Representatives that she’d like to revisit, Primavera talks about efforts to quickly identify cancer, saying, “I’m hoping that I can work with some of the coalitions on early detection again.”

On the Road: Primavera is accustomed to campaigning—after all, she ran six times for a seat in the state house and won four of those contests—but says that this race is different because of the scope. She’s spending more time driving around Colorado and less time walking from door to door. “The entire beautiful state is now my district.”

Final Words: Primavera stresses that “public education is the backbone of our democracy” and that “everyone should have access to healthcare.” She’s “mindful of what growth means for quality of life in Colorado” and talks about protecting public lands. In short, “next to my family and my daughters, there is probably nothing more important than Colorado,” Primavera says.

Natasha Gardner
Natasha Gardner
Natasha Gardner is a Denver-based writer and the former Articles Editor for 5280.