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Michelle Ferrigno Warren.

A Denver immigration advocate and nonprofit executive is the latest Democrat to declare her candidacy for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Cory Gardner.

Michelle Ferrigno Warren, 48, the advocacy and strategic engagement director for the Christian Community Development Association, plans to formally launch her campaign this week.

"This is a very trying time for our country, it's a trying time for our state, and there are a lot of people who are ambivalent about politics, who are looking for leadership that is not traditional," she said in an interview.

"I think we need a new kind of leadership. I think we need a fresh voice. That's my job, to both listen to Colorado and craft the collaborative message where everybody can flourish."

Warren, an adjunct faculty member at Denver Seminary, co-founded Denver's Open Door Ministries with her husband, who runs the nonprofit. She's also the western regional consultant for the nonpartisan National Immigration Forum's Bibles, Badges & Business campaign. She is the author of "The Power of Proximity, Moving Beyond Awareness to Action."

Warren said she was frustrated that even in the 2018 Democratic-wave election, only around 125 women would be serving in Congress.

"How is it that eight of Colorado's nine congressional leaders are men?" she said. "Men are doing what they've been trained to do, it wasn't them. It was more what was wrong with women. They can't envision themselves in federal office and wouldn't take the brave steps to run."

She continued: "If I wanted to see some women step up and add their voice, then I needed to do that too. This is my cup of tea. I work with senators and representatives all the time.

"I needed to stop being frustrated that there weren't women running."

She said there's room for her message in a primary field that has already grown to 11 Democrats.

"The reality is, with important issues like immigration, it's going to take leaders who have built bridges, who have relationships with a lot of different types of people and are known for creating tables that people can come to because they know they are being respected," she said.

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