This list focuses on people who have made names for themselves in politics outside of Washington, D.C. – state-level politicians, mayors, local officials and operatives – but could soon be known to all of us. We sought advice from more than 100 different sources from all across the United States and gradually pared it down to 40 names. Read more >>
Denver Business Journal - by Amanda Moutinho
Posted Friday, March 11, 2011
Title: State representative for House District 5
Company: State of Colorado
Key Civic Affiliations: Colorado Latino Forum,
GI Forum, New Era Colorado
Rep. Crisanta Duran of House District 5 takes an active role in her community.
As an attorney, she's always stayed close to her community, majoring in public policy at the University of Denver and law school at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Kathleen Lavine | Business Journal
The Denver Business Journal's Forty under 40 winners
when they were in kindergarten, what did
they want to be when they grew up? At the photo
shoot they wrote their answer on the blackboard.
Crisanta Duran wanted to be a servant of the people.
Working in the private sector made her realize there was only so much she could do to help the people, Duran said. So she focused on other ways to make a difference.
She was an active member of the Colorado Young Democrats and was always passionate ...
By Sheba R. Wheeler - The Denver Post -
March 2, 2011
Women were among the queue of people waiting to vote on Nov. 6, 1894, in Denver. (Photo Courtesy of Marcia Goldstein)
When Crisanta Duran, 30, was elected to the state House of Representatives last year as the youngest Latina legislator in Colorado history, everyone asked the same question:
"How did you do that?"
Her response: She believed it could be done.
"Many issues are entirely impacted by our beliefs in ourselves and our ability to achieve whatever we want," says Duran, D-Denver.
That same sense of purpose has guided Colorado women to accomplish goals for more than a century. Duran and two other speakers on Tuesday will chronicle the history of women's suffrage in Colorado, current challenges and future agendas as part of a Women's History Month event hosted by Progressive Women of Colorado.
A demonstrator makes her views known outside the Denver Public Library, circa 1910. (Photo Courtesy of Marcia Goldstein)
At age 30 Crisanta Duran became the youngest Latina elected to the Colorado House of Representatives. (The Denver Post)
Speakers include Ellie Miller Greenberg, an educator, civil rights activist and 2010 inductee into the Colorado Women's Hall of Fame, and Marcia Goldstein, a women's historian and author of "Denver Women in Their Places: A Guide to Women's History Sites."
Colorado was the "birthplace of women in party and electoral politics," Goldstein says, because women here were the first in the nation to clear a path through then all-male political parties after they won the right to vote in 1893. (Her online exhibit "This Shall Be the Land for Women" chronicles Western women's suffrage campaigns.)
The Rocky Mountain states were the first to legalize full suffrage for women in the nation: Wyoming in 1869; Colorado, 1893; Idaho and Utah, 1896. National suffrage did not pass until 1920.
Colorado elected three Republicans to the state House in 1894, and elected 10 women to the House from various parties by 1900.
Helen Ring Robinson was the first female state senator in Colorado, elected in 1912.
In the contemporary legislative scene, Duran won her legislative election with 77 percent of the vote in District 5, which encompasses the Lower Downtown, Highland, Capitol Hill, Sunnyside and Globeville neighborhoods.
The labor attorney with strong union ties says her work is far from over. She is introducing legislation for more statewide affordable-housing programs and a bill to encourage parental involvement in K-12 schools.
Among her concerns are that families are struggling economically, Latinos are disppaportionally represented among the unemployment rolls, and women continue to earn lower wages than their male counterparts in both blue-collar and professional jobs.
"We need to make sure that women have equal opportunity," Duran says.
The Colorado House had 10 female representatives in 1900.
(Photo Courtesy of Marcia Goldstein)
* Please note: Crisanta Duran is currently the youngest Latina serving in the state House, not in the history of Colorado.
Colorado House Majority Leader Crisanta Duran, left, talks with supporters, including former Sen. Polly Baca and former House Speaker Ruben Valdez before the opening of the Colorado legislature at the State Capitol in Denver. (Photo By Craig F. Walker / The Denver Post)
As the minutes ticked down to the 10 a.m. start of the 70th General Assembly Wednesday, House Majority Leader Crisanta Duran hosted 20 people in her Capitol office, including her parents, Ernie Jr. and Teresa Duran, and other mentors were members of a group called LatinasRepresent, a national non-partisan organization that aims to attract Latinas to public service.
Duran is the kind of leader the group dreams of: an accomplished Hispanic woman passionate about her causes while blazing a path for others to follow. Wednesday Duran became the first Hispanic woman to serve as either party’s majority leader in Colorado.
“I am humbled that all of you are here this morning as we begin this journey,” Duran told the other women in the room. “This is a journey that we will continue to work on together.”
“I think the key to this for young people is to have the passion to make
a difference and make things a little bit easier for the next generation.”
— Polly Baca
Sitting at Duran’s left was Polly Baca, the first Hispanic woman to serve in the Colorado General Assembly after she was elected in 1974. Four years later, she was elected to the Senate, breaking the barrier in that chamber, as well. Baca was the first Hispanic woman to serve in both chambers of the same legislature anywhere in the country.
After the House gaveled in, Baca sat on the front row and looked on with a proud glow as Duran helped new House Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst do the state’s business.
“It’s a journey that begins with a passion to serve,” Baca said of Duran’s position as a role-model for the next generation, the way she had been for Duran. “You have to figure out what it is that you want to do to make a difference.
“For Crisanta and I and many of legislators that are here, it’s about helping make things better for our fellow citizens in our community, this country and the world. So it’s a journey to find your place, to find where you can serve best.
“I think the key to this for young people is to have the passion to make a difference and make things a little bit easier for the next generation.”
"In these difficult economic times, we must ensure we bring the concerns of Colorado working families forward," said Rep. Crisanta Duran, D-Denver, a lawmaker with strong union ties and a former official with the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7. Read article in The Denver Post - Feb. 23, 2011 >