Denver, CO,
08
February
2017
|
08:05 AM
America/Denver

DU Alumna Is Colorado’s First Latina Speaker

Crisanta Duran is helping Colorado build for the future

“There is nothing more powerful than when people come together and make change in their communities.”

That’s exactly what drives University of Denver alumna Crisanta Duran (BA ’02, Public Affairs and Spanish). The 36-year-old ran for office when she was only 29, and now seven years later, she is the first Latina speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives.

Duran represents House District 5 in Denver. She decided to get involved in politics because she felt there were issues in her community that were not being represented at the capitol. Duran says her degree in Spanish helps her better communicate with people in her neighborhood, especially when she ran for office. Her background in public policy, meanwhile, has helped her work with differing viewpoints at the capitol.

“I, of course, had my own perspective on issues,” Duran says. “But one thing I would say that I took away from those public policy courses was how to be a critical thinker and think about issues and how different people perceive them and what is the best way for people to come together and problem-solve.”

Duran encourages everyone to take an active role in the political process, especially young people. She says whether it is running for office or engaging in a community effort, everyone can have an impact on the issues they believe in.

Last year, Duran had the honor of representing Colorado on the floor of the Democratic National Convention. She spoke just hours before presidential nominee Hillary Clinton addressed the nation. She says it was an incredible opportunity and one she will always cherish. Watch here to find out why she was thinking about her grandmother as she came out on the stage.

As a Colorado native, Duran is excited to see the state’s economy grow as more people now call Colorado home. She says during this legislative session, lawmakers will focus on such growth-related issues as a state-wide transportation plan and ensuring the state invests in boys and girls across Colorado to ensure they have the opportunity to reach their potential.

“We have an incredible quality of life in Colorado,” Duran says. “I want to see that sustained over the next several decades, and we are working now on plans to address that growth and make sure that Colorado continues to be a wonderful place to live and raise a family.”

As Colorado’s first Latina speaker of the house, Duran has overcome obstacles, and she says everyone should believe in their ability to create change.

“I think far too often one of the greatest barriers that people put in front of themselves is lack of believing they can actually make a difference,” Duran says. “Aim high, think of what you want to accomplish for yourself, and the sky is really the limit. It is great to be in a country like the United States where there are a lot of opportunities.”

We have recently featured other DU alumna and the work they are doing in their communities. You can read more about Yvette Cook and Ellie Schafer.