Democratic State Rep. James Coleman of Denver announced Tuesday he plans to run for Senate District 33. The district encompasses east Denver, including Park Hill and all the way north to Denver International Airport.
But Coleman, at least for now, is not alone in that race. The incumbent, Democratic Sen. Angela Williams, filed for re-election for 2020, but that was in December of 2016, shortly after winning her first term .
Williams is now among among eight Democrats seeking the U.S. Senate seat of Republican Cory Gardner of Yuma.
Coleman told Colorado Politics he had spoken with Williams when she first announced her run for the U.S. Senate back in July. She is fully committed to the U.S. Senate race, Coleman said.
Coleman has served two terms in the Colorado House, representing House District 7, which includes Green Valley Ranch. He currently serves as Majority Co-Whip and vice-chair of the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee. Among his bills in 2019: the regulation of electric scooters. The bill added scooters to the definition of a motor vehicle and allows them to be used on roads, although regulated similar to e-bikes. Another Coleman bill in 2019 planned to allow 16-year-olds to vote in school board elections, although that failed to win legislative approval. He was also a House sponsor of the so-called "lemonade stand" bill that allows minors to operate businesses without a local government permit.
He serves as CEO of FaithBridge, a local nonprofit mobilizing the faith community to improve education in Colorado.
Coleman said he's running for the Senate as it will give him an opportunity to serve in an expanded role. "I grew up in Park Hill," he said, and "feel a sense of responsibility for the community." He's spoken with Senate District 33 residents who say they need a leader who listens. "I'm excited to be able to serve in this capacity," he said.
In a statement, he said that Coloradans face "the rising cost of living, an economy that doesn’t work for everyone with jobs that don’t pay a living wage, an education system that doesn’t meet the needs of all our students, and a criminal justice system that often profits from keeping our families and communities separated and incarcerated. Adding to the challenges of realizing our dreams, many of us are trying our best to set our kids up for success while also providing for our aging parents who are facing unaffordable health care and the rising cost of living.
"I feel a responsibility not just for my kids’ futures but the future of our state, our city, and our people. That sense of responsibility led me to run for House District 7 because it is not enough for my kids to be able to realize their dreams — I want all of us to be able to realize our dreams.
"I am running to represent all of the people in the Senate District, and to be their voice at the Capitol. Our city and state are changing quickly and we need more servant leaders in the State Senate working to ensure our government serves everyday people, fosters a vibrant economy, and implements sustainable policies that will empower all of us to achieve our dreams."
Coleman and his wife, Shayna, have been together since 8th grade and have twins.
Williams said she doesn't have to make a decision about running for the SD33 seat until next March. "I'm committed to serving the people of Colorado, and I'm entitled to run for U.S. Senate and keeping my options open for the SD33 seat," she told Colorado Politics.