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Jared Schutz Polis (born Jared Polis Schutz May 12, 1975) is an American entrepreneur, philanthropist, and Democratic politician from the state of Coloradomarker. In the late 1990s he changed his name "to honor my mother's maiden name". A former chairman of the Colorado State Board of Education, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in November 2008, representing Colorado's 2nd congressional district, based in Bouldermarker. He was sworn in January 2009, succeeding Mark Udall.

He is the first openly gay man elected to the House as a freshman. (The other gay male Representative, Barney Frank, did not make his orientation public until after he was first elected.)

Polis received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Princeton Universitymarker after attending the La Jolla Country Day School in San Diego, Californiamarker, and now lives in Boulder. He is the son of Stephen Schutz and Susan Polis Schutz.

Business

Polis has founded a number of companies and is estimated to be worth well over $160 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. Later Excite sold the company for $200 million. In 1998, he launched the online florist company ProFlowers that expanded to become Provide Commerce, Inc., recently acquired by Liberty Media Corporation. In 2001, he founded Sonora Entertainment Group, which has developed a chain of movie theaters that screen films dubbed or subtitled in Spanish. In 2006, he founded a seed stage incubator for web startups (Techstars). In 2004, Fortune estimated his personal wealth at $160 million.. He is currently involved in a fish farming business.

Philanthropy

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. 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 serves on the board of directors of Colorado Conservation Voters, the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, and the Anti-Defamation League, and is Vice-Chair of the Colorado Commission for High School Improvement. He is Chairman of the Commission on Financial and Investor Literacy, established by the National Association of State Boards of Education, and co-chair of the Colorado State Board of Education Online Education Task Force. 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.

Political career

State Board of Education

Polis campaigning during the 2008 Democratic primary in the 2nd District
In 2000, Polis was elected at-large 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. He was part of the team that designed and passed Amendment 23, an amendment to the Colorado Constitution that required the state to annually increase expenditures on per pupil K-12 education by the rate of inflation plus enrollment plus one percent until 2010-11, in order to prevent K-12 spending cuts.

Ballot measures

Most recently, 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.

He also 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

Polis ran for the United States House of Representatives in 2008, hoping to succeed Mark Udall in . He won a heavily-contested primary election, prevailing narrowly against former state senate president Joan Fitz-Gerald; conservationist Will Shafroth also ran for the seat, coming in third. The primary victory virtually assured him of victory in this heavily Democratic district. In the general election held on November 4, 2008, he won comfortably and took office on January 3, 2009.

Committee assignments



Party leadership



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