This House District is wildly diverse, wrapping around Denver International Airport to encompass the booming Anschutz Medical Campus, low-income north Aurora neighborhoods, vast swaths of prairie and the town of Henderson. 83,000 people live in this district in 25,000 households.
House District 30 is enjoying some of the growth radiating from the Denver metroplex, but agricultural land has been gobbled up. The district has suffered from traffic congestion and affordability in recent years, and county commissioners have hobbled oil and gas development in the region, citing concerns over safety, livability and climate change.
Dafna Michaelson Jenet, a Democrat, has represented this area since 2017, when she ousted incumbent Republican JoAnn Windholz. This year, Jenet is defending the seat from Kerrie Gutierrez, a Republican involved in numerous conservative campaigns, and who unsuccessfully ran for an Adams County school board seat in 2017.
In 2016 and 2018, Jenet easily secured the seat against Republicans.
Under the Gold Dome, Jenet is a major proponent of mental health resources for children and adults. During the 2020 session, she introduced a slew of bills to address mental health licensing and programming in and out of schools, some of which were signed by the Governor and became law. One bill, HB-1312, requires that teachers complete 90 hours of behavioral health training to acquire their teacher’s license. She also co-sponsored a successful bill to require that schools cover the Holocaust and genocides.
If she’s re-elected, her priorities for the next legislative session are more mental health support, economic development and education.
Michaelson Jenet’s challenger, Gutierrez, says she has lived on the same ranch in Adams County for more than 20 years. She did not respond to the Sentinel’s candidate questionnaires.
On social media, she’s drawn distinctions between her policy stance on police reform and Michaelson Jenet’s. Notably, she said she wouldn’t have voted for SB-217, the expansive police reform bill, like her opponent.
On her website, she affirms support for widespread values including local control in education and funding mental health counselors in schools — two guiding philosophies in Aurora Public Schools, part of which is in House District 30. Gutierrez supports “responsible energy development” and opposes “excessive” oil and gas regulations.
She’s opposed to government-mandated healthcare plans.
Gutierrez draws strength from her personal journey and from her religious values. She learned lofty values from her father, who served in the military, and won a business degree from a Hawaii college. She says she has experience in legal and medical matters.
As of Sept. 21, Gutierrez has raised about $6,500. Jenet has vastly out-raised her Republican opponent, raking in about $64,000.
If Michaelson Jenet continues to win re-elections, she will be term-limited in the Colorado House of Representatives in 2024.