Kathleen Curry, former unaffiliated State Representative and current Centrist Project Steering Committee member:
I commend Senator Jahn for her courage and commitment in serving her constituents and the state of Colorado.
I know from personal experience that serving as an independent made me a more effective advocate of my entire constituency, gave me greater leverage to impact the legislative process, and provided me a unique opportunity to be a voice for the plurality of voters who are neither Democrats nor Republicans.
Al White, former Republican State Senator and current Centrist Project Steering Committee member:
It will require a new approach to break through the partisan dysfunction in Denver, and I congratulate Senator Jahn for leading it.
Senator Jahn is the tip of the spear for a new movement of independent leadership in Colorado that is united by the principle of putting people before party.
Senator Jahn's full statement, as posted on her Facebook page:
Today I am writing to let my constituents and friends know about an important decision I have made. Earlier this week I dropped my affiliation with the Democratic Party and have chosen to continue to serve my constituents as an Unaffiliated member of the State Senate.
To be sure, this was a very difficult decision. Ultimately, this was a very personal decision and one that will allow me to spend my final year in the General Assembly completely focused on important work at hand and representing residents of Senate District 20. Since first being elected to the House of Representatives in 2000, I have watched our state and national politics become more partisan and polarized. I have always brought an independent voice. I didn’t change, the system changed. This system is terribly broken. I have watched through the years and witnessed that there is more care about politics and those in power than serving people in the state.
I have prided myself on working with all of my colleagues regardless of party affiliation and I have a great respect for my friends in both parties. My decision to officially become and Independent will not change the way I represent my constituents. The Unaffiliated voters in my district and statewide deserve representation; they are a significant voting block and their voices are not heard or represented in the state senate.
This is not a decision I came to lightly or overnight. I have been bothered by the process and partisanship for several years. For all of my years raising my kids, I was always strong on teaching them that whatever situation they found themselves in it was imperative that they go deep inside of their hearts and always be true to themselves. I must follow my words of wisdom on something that has been troubling me for some time.
I have informed Democratic and Republican leadership in the State Senate of my decision and have communicated my continued commitment to working with all of my colleagues to get things done for our state. I am grateful for all of the support I have received and truly want to do what’s best for my district.
Additional notes and background:
- Jahn has served in the Colorado State Senate since 2011, representing the 20th District which encompasses Wheat Ridge. Previously, she served four terms in the Colorado House of Representatives from 2001-2009.
- According to a recent report by the Centrist Project Institute, 53% of voters believe both parties are not working together well to solve problems facing Colorado; a plurality (48%) said independent state legislators could improve how government worked.
- Former CO State Rep. Kathleen Curry was the only other individual to serve as an unaffiliated member of the Colorado state legislature, which she did from 2009 to 2011 after she left the Democratic Party. She recently wrote an op-ed about serving as an independent legislator.
- Nationally, just 25 of 7,277 state legislators are independents.
The Centrist Project strategically recruits and supports common sense, independent candidates for office. For more information, visit www.CentristProject.org/colorado.