DU Alumni

State Rep. Crisanta Duran dedicated to community service

The first time state Rep. Crisanta Duran met Barack Obama was in 2007 at the University of Denver, when she was asked to introduce Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of President John F. Kennedy, at an Obama campaign rally.

“That is one of the memories I cherish most,” Duran (BA ’02) says of the event.

Now, as Obama’s first term approaches an end, he is slated to return to Denver in October for the first presidential debate, an event Duran sees as another chance for the University to shine.

“To me, it’s just an incredible opportunity for the University to host this debate,” she says. “It’s sort of coming back full circle. I think it’s very exciting for the city.”

Duran always has been excited about politics and service, ever since she was a little girl.

“From the time I was young, I always had a dedication to community service,” she remembers. “It’s very simplistic, but that’s where it started—just that desire to help others and make sure we have a healthy and thriving community.”

She carried that thinking to DU, where she double majored in Spanish and public policy.

“Both of those have really been tremendous in my ability to be an elected official,” she says. “We debated and discussed and learned about a wide range of policy issues facing Colorado and facing us nationally.”

After graduation, she attended law school at the University of Colorado. She was elected to House District 5 in 2009. She’s almost done with her first term and is becoming familiar with the ups and downs of public office.

“Day to day, like anything, there are always obstacles to overcome,” Duran explains. “There were definitely times that I was frustrated. The whole debate over civil unions, it was frustrating to see a bill like that, where we had enough votes to pass but the process became obstructed. That said, I do believe very strongly in both sides coming together to produce results for the state. Overall, it’s been an incredible experience.”

Her greatest passion lies in creating economic opportunities for Coloradans. One of her proudest moments was passing House Bill 1272, which went into effect July 1. It allows people on unemployment to get skills training or assistance in starting a new business.

“We all talk about how important it is to create jobs, and this is truly an example of legislation that is doing just that,” she says.

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