The monthly edition of Lunch with Lawmakers, a tri-institutional event hosted by the Student Life Offices, was held today in the Tivoli Student Union. The newly elected State Representative from Aurora’s House District 41 Jovan Melton (D) was the guest of honor who had a conversation with a handful of students.
Melton said, “I never thought I would run for office but after a while it just seemed like the right thing to do.” Melton is a Colorado native who also attended CU- Boulder.
Melton was just elected to the Colorado House of Representatives a week ago. “I won the primary by 51 votes,” said Melton. He emphasized the he did not accept any money from special interest groups, one of very few candidates to do so, but still raised more than $40,000 for the campaign.
The main focus of the conversation was on what Melton hopes to do during his new term including finding more funding for education and adding more technical schools.
“I think we do need to change the system a bit,” said Melton, “We need to pay closer attention to spending.” In particular, Melton talked about spending less on corrections so that money could go toward education. “We might look at closing some of our lesser used facilities or consolidating them as a way to decrease our spending,” added Melton.
He also talked about the creation of jobs and what can be done on that front. One audience member expressed concerned that many of the jobs that have been talked about being created still require a higher education level which would leave GED recipients/high school graduates out.
“I think there needs to be a creation of more technical schools and a stronger regulation on for-profit technical schools that are already in existence,” Melton offered.
On the topic of Amendment 64 and the legalization of marijuana, Melton said, “It is going to be a long process because the federal government has to be involved. There is really no way around it.”
Melton’s final piece of advice for students looking to influence their local legislation was to “go out and talk to the representatives and tell them how you feel. We want to hear from our constituents, I don’t want to vote or approve something that my district does not like but if I don’t hear from you then I won’t know how you feel,” Melton said.