Joe Jackson is the executive director of the Colorado Republican Party. He previously worked as communications director for the Colorado GOP during the 2020 cycle, as spokesman for the Republican National Committee in Florida and South Carolina, and as press secretary for U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney during the Wyoming Republican's first term.
Jackson, 26, grew up in Windsor on the Larimer-Weld county line and is an Eagle Scout. He attended the University of Wyoming, where he received a degree in political science and was chairman of the Wyoming Federation of College Republicans. He has a master’s degree in communications from Purdue University. He has been a volunteer firefighter in Crystal Lakes, and in his spare time, Jackson enjoys hiking, snowmobiling and spending time outdoors.
Colorado Politics: What drew you to a career in politics? And has it lived up to your expectations, being in the thick of things?
Joe Jackson: I’ve long believed that all Americans have the obligation to step up and do what they can to make a difference, wherever they can. I feel that I can make a difference by helping strong leaders get elected who will support and fight for policies that will benefit our state and nation.
I love our state and I believe that Colorado does best when we have balance and elected Republican leadership that represents every part of Colorado. There are 64 counties in Colorado. Sadly, I think the Democrats sometimes believe that Colorado only includes Boulder and Denver, electing people who understand that there are four corners is important to me.
We have amazing mountain towns, ranch communities, cities, suburbs, farmlands – all of them deserve a say in the future direction of our state.
CP: What is it about politics that fascinates you, that motivates you to start the work day every day?
Jackson: The future of this country, and of this state, is literally at stake. I’m motivated by having the opportunity to travel the state and talk to Coloradans who are directly impacted by the extreme and reckless policies implemented by Democrats at the state and federal levels.
CP: The party recently revealed its Commitment to Colorado, a set of 10 priorities. How did that come about, and what role will it play in the election?
Jackson: The Commitment to Colorado is our promise to the voters of Colorado, that we are focused on real issues that impact everyday citizens.
The Democrats have controlled the state for too long and have failed to make Colorado affordable, have failed to prioritize public safety, and are beholden to the teachers unions.
The Republican Party of Colorado is concerned for the next generation of Coloradans, and the state that we will inherit. As someone who wants to live and raise a family here, prioritizing jobs, protecting the Taxpayers Bill of Rights, and ending the Democrats’ war on rural Colorado energizes me to get up every morning.
I hope everyone will go to Commitment2Colorado.com and read about the priorities our party has laid out.
CP: What brought you back to Colorado, and what prompted your decision to jump from communications to running the state party?
Jackson: My decision stems from my desire to live here long-term. I'm focused on ensuring that the same far-left policies that destroyed New York and California don’t destroy Colorado. It’s critical that we elect strong representatives who believe in the Constitution, a strong national defense, and who will uphold their convictions.
State Republican Party chairwoman Kristi Brown promised to be a leader who is focused on the future, focused on pushing back on false narratives about the Republican Party, and focused on building an infrastructure that creates wins from city council to governor. I’m proud to be a part of her team and excited to take back our state.
I love the communications aspect of politics, and always enjoy the back and forth with reporters — but it has been exciting to spend a lot more time on electoral strategy, on data, on talking with candidates, and hearing from everyday voters. Chairwoman Brown’s vision is focused on taking back this state and bringing back those unaffiliated voters that swing statewide elections in Colorado. The Republican Party is the party that believes in letting you spend your own money, in letting you choose what is best for your child and letting you live your life how you want to live it.
The people of Colorado have an independent streak, and I know that we can reach them and bring them into our party with the message outlined in the Commitment to Colorado.
CP: The party out of power typically makes gains in midterms. How well do Republicans have to do in next year’s election to demonstrate that it isn’t just a blip, and that Colorado still has a robust, two-party system?
Jackson: Republicans have a real opportunity in 2022, because of the failures of the Democrats in power.
From gas prices increasing at an alarming rate, to botched foreign policy decisions, to tax increases disguised as “fees” on working class Coloradans, Gov. Jared Polis and Democrats in Denver have continually failed to create a forward-thinking vision for our state.
I fundamentally believe that the GOP can make significant gains as a result of the lack of leadership shown by Gov. Polis, Sen. Michael Bennet, and partisan hacks like Jena Griswold, the secretary of state. The people of Colorado are frustrated with how far to the left the legislature and those making decisions have swung.
CP: How is the party handling the uncertainty surrounding congressional and legislative maps ahead of the 2022 election, since the redistricting commissions are still at work drawing the lines?
Jackson: To a certain extent that is a challenge — but it is a challenge that both parties are dealing with. The people of Colorado passed Amendments Y and Z because they wanted to see less partisanship in the redistricting process. I would say that we certainly agree with that and appreciate the hard work that both commissions have done to get input from Coloradans in all areas of the state.
Colorado's legislative maps from 2011 were so gerrymandered in favor of the Democrats that many of our candidates had the decks stacked against them from the start. I think that with an independent process this time around drawing the maps, we will have an opportunity for fair lines and actually competitive districts. I think that competitive districts are good for democracy, for our state, and will give Colorado voters an opportunity to choose elected officials who will actually be a voice for their area and interests.
I look forward to seeing the final maps and then working with our candidates to show why they will be effective leaders for Colorado.
CP: What lessons has the party taken from the last year and a half, having to operate remotely, in some cases, during the pandemic?
Jackson: Like most operations, we’ve learned to get creative with Zoom and hybrid meetings. Obviously, we’re happy to see things return to a degree of normalcy with in-person activities. In fact, in the last four months, Chairwoman Brown has visited 45 counties and seen the energy on the ground from our citizens for taking back our state in 2022.
CP: Where do you think Democrats are the most vulnerable?
Jackson: I think in a lot of areas. Sen. Bennet, for instance, is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and he said that he supports the Biden administration’s Afghanistan withdrawal that was actively condemned by people on both sides of the aisle. Gov. Polis, on the other hand, could be described as the Andrew Cuomo of the West. His COVID policies resulted in tragic and preventable deaths in nursing homes during the pandemic.
In the state legislature, elected Democrats have proven that they are anti-school choice and are continuing their decades-long campaign to destroy the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights. On the national level, inflation continues to spiral out of control, we are losing respect on the world stage, and the Democrat-led Congress is trying to ram through trillions of dollars in reckless new spending.
We are looking forward to 2022 and retaking Colorado!