Jared Schutz Polis (born Jared Polis Schutz May 12, 1975) is an American entrepreneur, philanthropist, and U.S. Representative for Colorado's 2nd congressional district, serving since 2009. He is a member of the Democratic Party. Polis and his life partner, Marlon Reis, are the parents of a son, Caspian Julius, born on September 30, 2011, making Polis the only openly gay member of Congress who is a parent.
Early life, education and career
Polis is the son of Stephen Schutz and Susan Polis Schutz. He attended the La Jolla Country Day School in San Diego, California. He received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Princeton University.
Polis has founded a number of companies and is one of the 10 richest members of the United States Congress estimated to be worth at least $65.91 million.
He founded American Information Systems, an internet access, web hosting and application service provider.
He, with his parents, also co-founded bluemountainarts.com, an online greeting card website, which he sold to Excite@Home three years later in a deal worth $780 million. In 1998, he launched the online florist company ProFlowers that expanded to become Provide Commerce, Inc., acquired in 2006 by Liberty Media Corporation.
In 2000, Polis founded the Jared Polis Foundation, whose mission "is to create opportunities for success through education and access to technology." Its main programs are the annual Teacher Recognition Awards; the Community Computer Connection program, which refurbishes and donates more than 3,500 computers a year to schools and non-profit organizations; and the semi-annual Jared Polis Foundation Education Report. Polis has also founded two charter schools for at-risk students. In 2004, he established the New America School, which primarily serves older immigrant youth ages 16–21 and has three campuses in the Denver Metro area and one in New Mexico. Polis serves as Superintendent.
In 2005, he co-founded with Urban Peak the Academy of Urban Learning in Denver to serve youth struggling with homelessness or unstable living conditions. Polis was named Outstanding Philanthropist for the 2006 National Philanthropy Day in Colorado. He is a recipient of many awards, including the Boulder Daily Camera’s 2007 Pacesetter Award in Education; the Kauffman Foundation Community Award; the Denver consul general of Mexico “Ohtli”; the Martin Luther King, Jr. Colorado Humanitarian Award; and the Anti-Defamation League’s inaugural Boulder Community Builder Award.
Early political career
In 2000, Polis was elected at-large as a member of the Colorado State Board of Education, and served for a single six-year term, until January 2007. His election was one of the closest in Colorado history.
He defeated incumbent Ben Alexander by 90 votes out of 1.6 million cast. Polis served as Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Colorado State Board of Education during his term.
In 2006, Polis served as co-chair of Coloradans for Clean Government, a committee that supported Amendment 41, a citizen-initiated ballot measure to ban gifts by registered lobbyists to government officials, establish a $50 annual restriction on gift-giving from non-lobbyists, create an independent ethics commission, and establish a two-year cooling-off period before former state legislators and statewide elected officials can begin lobbying. In November 2006, 62.3 percent of Colorado voters approved the "Ethics in Government" constitutional amendment. In 2007, he co-chaired the "Building for our Future" campaign that supported ballot question 3A in the Boulder Valley School District to issue $296.8 million in bonds for the improvement and modernization of aging school facilities — the largest capital construction bond issue in the district’s history and the largest school bond proposal in Colorado that year. In November 2006, 58 percent of Boulder Valley School District voters approved 3A.
U.S. House of Representatives
Polis is the first openly gay man elected to the House as a freshman and the first gay parent in Congress. He declined to say whether the child was adopted, or the result of a surrogate pregnancy. (The other openly gay male Representatives currently serving in the House are Barney Frank, who did not make his orientation public until after he was first elected, and Rep. David Cicilline, the second openly gay man to be elected as a freshman, who took his seat in the 112th Congress in 2011. Rep.
Tammy Baldwin, the first openly gay person elected as a freshman, took her seat in 1999.) Polis is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and co-chair of the Mexico Caucus and the Nepal Caucus. He was also appointed by then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the Board of Visitors of the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.
October 3rd, 2011