Culture, Justice, Politics, Sex & Gender


jared20polis2021Last night I attended a program featuring Congressman Jared Polis at the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue in DC. Polis is a progressive, freshman representative from the Boulder, Colorado area. He’s also the first gay Jew elected to Congress. And in my imagination we’ve just eloped to MassachUtah, the magical land of same-sex polygamy (my other husband, of course, being my awesome boyfriend).
Congressperson Polis answered questions from an interviewer and from the audience on a wide range of topics. He spoke about his Jewish background and how his upbringing influenced his political values. He talked about being the first politician elected to Congress as an out gay person, and how his partner Marlon is popular with his Republican colleagues. “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and the need for change in that policy came up a few times along with other LGBT rights issues like outlawing workplace discrimination, and he told stories about speaking with military officials, Iraqis, and Afghanis as part of a congressional delegation to the war zones. Polis  had a lot to say about education as well, as the former director of a network of charter schools for older immigrant high school students. He also expressed his take that while a single-payer national health care system would be ideal, the currently ascendant framework of a public option to complement the private health insurance companies would function adequately. You can find out more about the Congressman, his life, and his politics by reading  his blog.
But anyway, enough about politics. He’s brilliant, gregarious, funny, and totally cute. If you’re in Colorado’s second district and agree with his positions, re-elect him. I’ll just sit here staring off into space and doodling “CW + JP” in my notebook…

6 thoughts on “JP

  1. He sounds great: progressive, amazing commitment to education (and education reform), Jewish roots, openly gay… What’s the catch?

  2. He’s also the first gay Jew elected to Congress.
    I believe it’s “first openly gay Jew elected for the first time to Congress”. Barney Frank is an openly gay Jew, but came out after he had already been serving in Congress.

  3. Feygele – the “catch” is that Polis only really came out quite recently, and has also only started playing up his Jewishness quite recently. The “benefit of the doubt” argument is that this simply reflects a natural evolution in his personal identity and interests. He’s a young guy, after all. The cynical argument is that he started focusing more on Jewish things to broaden his appeal as a candidate and he more publicly came out and started talking about gay things because he was never fully closeted, so the gay piece was going to come up anyway. So better to control it and leverage it. Only Polis knows for sure.
    Also, he’s not all that progressive in the grand scheme of things. On some issues he certainly is, but he’s much more of a centrist Democrat.
    The other “catch” is that he’s quite wealthy and some folks in Colorado feel like he used his wealth to win the primary election against a dedicated progressive candidate with substantive community credentials (and a long history of great support on LGBT issues). In his district, the primary election was the “real” election because only a seriously damaged Democrat would ever lose that seat to a Republican. So once Polis won the primary (for which he spent enormous amounts of his own money), his election to Congress was assured.
    I didn’t support him in the primary, but now that he’s in Congress I’m open to rethinking my perspective on him. So far, he’s been doing a great job and I’m impressed.
    Finally, on a personal note, I’ve met him a few times and I’ve found him to be smart and personable. Others disagree. But that gets down to personality and is of course highly subjective.

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