Jun 23, 2022 - News

1-minute voter guide: 2 prominent Democrats vie for open CU Regent seat

A CU Board of Regents meeting in 2019. Photo: Joe Amon/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

The University of Colorado Board of Regents has four of its nine seats up for grabs this November, including in Denver's 1st Congressional District.

Why it matters: The Democratic primary winner will likely serve on the board, given Denver's political bent.

State of play: Democratic incumbent Jack Kroll is not seeking reelection after a six-year term, leaving the door open for two ambitious first-generation CU alums.

Meet the candidates:

Wanda James is known for her business and political leadership, including working for Gov. Jared Polis' transition team and serving on the CU Alumni Board of Directors. She's also founder and CEO of cannabis dispensary Simply Pure.

  • If elected, her top priorities include fostering a diverse, equitable and inclusive student body, faculty and administration, as well as raising graduation rates for students of color.
  • James has raised roughly $55,000. Endorsements include former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb, U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse and Colorado Black Women for Political Action.

Johnnie Nyugen is a practicing attorney and "double Buff," with a bachelor's degree from CU Denver and recent law degree from CU Boulder. He previously worked for law firm Lewis Brisbois and as a legislative aide.

  • He has pledged to prioritize funding for mental health services for students, faculty and staff, and he supports policies giving public employees collective bargaining power.
  • Nyugen has raised $36,000. Endorsements include Colorado Treasurer Dave Young, House Speaker Alec Garnett and the Colorado Working Families Party.

Of note: Amy Naes is the one Republican vying for the seat.


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