Ellen Burnes

Ellen Burnes, an economist and former chair of the Boulder County Democratic Party, announced April 18, 2019, that she's running in 2020 for Colorado's U.S. Senate seat.

A Longmont economist who specializes in natural resources and international development wants to become the first woman to represent Colorado in the U.S. Senate.

Ellen Burnes, a finance instructor at Colorado State University and a former chair of the Boulder County Democratic Party, threw her hat in a crowded ring this week, announcing she's running in 2020 for the seat held by Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner.

“Whether it’s in the community or the boardroom, I have dedicated my life to solving problems,” Burnes said in a statement.

“It’s crystal clear that Washington is completely dysfunctional and our problems start with Cory Gardner’s failed leadership and his inability to represent our shared Coloradan values of hard work, progressivism and dedication to helping our fellow Coloradans have the resources they need to improve their lives.”

The 51-year-old marathon runner is the third Democrat this week to join a primary field that has already reached double digits.

On Monday, former ambassador Dan Baer entered the race, and the next day former U.S. Attorney for Colorado John Walsh made his candidacy official.

Democrats already running include former state Sen. Mike Johnston, former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff and former congressional candidate Stephany Rose Spaulding, as well as several lesser-known Democrats.

Gardner, who is seeking a second term, is one of only two Republican incumbent senators up for election next year in a state won by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who carried Colorado by 5 percentage points.

Said Burnes: “To the recent college graduate struggling with the crushing burden of student debt; the single parent juggling two jobs, living paycheck to paycheck to put food on the table for their children; the senior who has to choose between paying their mortgage and paying for their life-saving medication – you deserve better, and that is why I am running for the U.S. Senate."

Burnes teaches finance at CSU and is the CFO for the Lafayette-based Association for Community Living, a nonprofit that helps those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

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