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Anderw Romanoff, former Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives and a candidate for U.S. Senate, speaks at MSU Denver on Feb. 17, 2020. Photo by Elizabeth Moreno Rosales

Meet Colorado’s U.S. Senate candidates

MSU Denver invited all of the state’s 2020 Senate candidates to campus for individual conversations. Here’s what they had to say about critical issues.

February 17, 2020

By Staff

With 10 candidates vying for the Democratic nomination to run against incumbent Sen. Cory Gardner in Colorado’s closely watched U.S. Senate race, Andrew Romanoff is reaching out to voters the old-fashioned way.

“I’ve attended hundreds of small events like this all across the state,” Romanoff said Monday at Metropolitan State University of Denver. “This is what a grassroots movement looks like. And I’m not content to stand by while people in the richest country in the world are struggling and dying.”

MSU Denver invited every Colorado Senate candidate to campus for a conversation ahead of the November election. Seven Democratic candidates accepted. Romanoff was the fifth candidate to visit MSU Denver for a conversation moderated by Faculty Senate President Katia Campbell and student representatives. 

RELATED: Hickenlooper touts record as consensus builder in bid for U.S. Senate seat


Among the topics of discussion with Romanoff, a former Colorado state representative and speaker of the House, were the challenges stemming from systemic disinvestment that has left the state near the bottom in funding for higher education, the rising cost of health care, expanding Medicare and support for progressive initiatives such as the Green New Deal and student-loan forgiveness.

He also lauded the University’s commitment to diversity and advocacy for undocumented populations, such as extending financial aid to Dreamers.

“A place like MSU Denver is essential to the future success of Colorado and, really, what we can look at as we’re reformatting things at a national level,” Romanoff said.

What separates the candidates running for Colorado’s Senate seat? Watch all of MSU Denver’s U.S. Senate Candidate Chats to help inform your vote.

Diana Bray

Clinical psychologist, mother of four, climate activist

"I was wondering, 'Who's going to step up?' ... I realized that in order for me to take action (on climate issues), I needed to run so that I could be a voice for what is happening and I can support citizen-led ballot initiatives in a way that candidates and representatives just haven't done in Colorado."

Lorena Garcia

Veteran community organizer, women’s rights activist and nonprofit administrator

"We have an opportunity to make dramatic changes, and the reality is this opportunity comes with an obligation. We have an obligation to be brave and bold and abandon our preconceived notions of what we think is winnable ... we have come so far, but if we don't elect the right person for this seat ... we are going to be in a lot of trouble."

Andrew Romanoff

Former CEO of Mental Health Colorado and former speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives

"(Washington politicians) are more interested in keeping power than using it, and we need to tell them to find another job – that’s why I’m running."

Trish Zornio

Scientist and lecturer at the University of Colorado, Denver

"I got into this race because I wanted to make sure that not only do we fight for the values that we share – making sure we have access to good jobs, housing and health care – but how those values are going to be changed and impacted by the science and technological developments of the 21st century.”  

Michelle Ferrigno Warren

Advocacy & Strategic Engagement Director, Christian Community Development Association; founder, Open Door Ministries; adjunct faculty member, Denver Seminary

"I’m an idealist. I actually believe that we can move good public policy forward if we create a big enough table where everyone’s voice is invited and we can shape what we want to see happen together. If we’re going to face the 21st-century challenges that we have … we can’t go it alone. We are going to have to put leaders in place that know how to build bridges with people who do not look like them and don’t think like them.” 

Stephany Rose Spaulding

Women's and ethnic studies professor, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs; pastor, Ebenezer Baptist Church; 2018 Democratic candidate, Colorado's 5th Congressional District

"Now is the time that we take what we are learning and that we live it that much more in practice. ... Even though we find ourselves in tremendously strange times that are asking us, ‘Who are we becoming?’ Now is the time for us to step up that much more and do the work that we’re committed to … Now is not the time for us to give up.” 

John Hickenlooper

Founder, Wynkoop Brewing Company; former mayor of Denver; former governor of Colorado

Washington is broken. People like myself that were successful in small business and have real experience in small government and state government … we’re the ones who are supposed to go back and actually try to make the most important decisions facing our country and, sometimes, facing the world.” 

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