By Thomas Rutherford, Yellow Scene Magazine
About a week ago, my publisher asked if I would be interested in interviewing Jena Griswold, Colorado’s Secretary of State, and I leapt at the opportunity. Griswold is a unique figure in Colorado politics in that she is the youngest Secretary of State in the United States, the first woman Secretary of State in Colorado, and the first Democratic Secretary of State in Colorado in 60 years. We spoke about her roots, her dedication to the voters of Colorado, and what it’s like taking on such an important role in our democracy.
Thomas Rutherford: Thanks for taking the time to speak with me! To start off, I’m interested in how you initially became interested in politics.
Jena Griswold: Well, I’m definitely not the typical person to run for a statewide office. I grew up in Estes Park and Drake, Colorado. The last house we were in before I was out of the house was in the canyon leading up to Estes Park. Most of my formative years were in a cabin with an outhouse outside. There were times when my family was on food stamps. I vividly remember going to the Estes Park food bank, and I started working the summer after seventh grade. I didn’t grow up thinking I’d run for office. Working really young inspired me to be the first person in my family to go to a four-year college, to law school. But it really is the value I bring to this office, that everyday people — no matter if you’re from a town like the one I grew up in or a big city, regardless of your zip code, regardless of the color of your skin or the amount of money in your bank account — we all deserve equal access to make our voices heard. Growing up blue-collar and rural is really the formative experience that I carry with me.