Denver’s newly elected school board vice president is seeking a seat in state legislature

Jennifer Bacon, who was elected vice president of the Denver school board last week, has announced she’s running for state office but plans to keep her board seat.

In addition to representing northeast Denver on the school board, Bacon said she wants to represent District 7 in the Colorado House of Representatives. The district includes the northeast Denver neighborhoods of Montbello, Green Valley Ranch, Stapleton, and parts of Park Hill.

“As an African American woman, I recognized from an early age my duty to fight for the success of young people despite their ZIP code, skin color, or aspirations in life,” Bacon said in her announcement.

“Because of this, I sought to educate in the classroom, build power with students and families as a community organizer, and partner with neighbors as a school board member,” she said. “Now I am running to serve as your next state representative.”

Jennifer Bacon

Bacon is a former Teach for America corps member who moved to Denver in 2010 and worked as a dean for the Denver charter school network DSST. She now works for Leadership for Educational Equity, a nonprofit that trains educators to advocate for policy changes.

She was elected to the Denver school board in 2017 with the backing of the Denver Classroom Teachers Association, unseating incumbent Rachele Espiritu. During her time on the board, Bacon has asked pointed questions about charter and innovation schools, implored the district to do a better job listening to families, and pushed Denver schools to better serve black students.

The District 7 House seat is currently held by state Rep. James Coleman, a Democrat who is running for a state Senate seat. Bacon is running for the District 7 seat as a Democrat. The Colorado Secretary of State’s website indicates at least two other Democratic candidates are also running. The primary will be held in June 2020.

“If elected to the legislature, I will not be resigning from the Denver Public Schools board,” Bacon said. “Like other legislators have done before me, I will continue serving in both my volunteer director position on the school board and as the next legislator from northeast Denver.”

The Denver school board is non-partisan and its members are not paid. State legislators are paid $40,242 per year. Colorado state Sen. Dominick Moreno, a Democrat, served until recently on the school board of the Adams 14 district in Commerce City.