As government affairs director for the Pikes Peak Association of Realtors since 2003, Clarissa Arellano is deeply involved in the government and business issues of the Pikes Peak region.
At 34, Arellano already has a decade of high-level political experience, beginning in 1997 when she worked for U.S. Rep. Joel Hefley. She’s been an independent political consultant and spent four years as a policy analyst with the Bighorn Center for Public Policy in Denver.
In that capacity, she served on the faculty of the Bighorn’s leadership development program, researched and wrote the policy implementation plan for the Colorado junk e-mail act and testified at various levels of state government about vote-by-mail’s impact on voter turnout.
Brenda Morrison, Arellano’s colleague at the Bighorn, said that “She has an infectious energy coupled with a substantive knowledge of the community and its issues.”
Her current job, according to PPAR’s executive director Terry Storm, is complex and demanding.
“She is a principal member of the Quality Community Group (PPAR, the Chamber, the EDC and the HBA). She was an integral participant in the passage of the RTA tax, in organizing local support for State Referendum C, and in defeating issues 200 and 201,” Storm said. “She is a critical participant in the Colorado Association of Realtors government affairs endeavors. She facilitates PPAR’s interview, endorsement and support for candidates at all levels of government.”
Especially during this time of the year. When the legislature is in session, Arellano travels frequently to Denver to monitor legislation of concern to the real estate/business community. Hers is a frenetic schedule – and as if her workload isn’t already heavy enough, she’s also finishing her PhD in public policy analysis, which she’s scheduled to receive from Walden University in May.
Earlier this year, the Colorado Statesman named Arellano one of the 50 most influential young people in Colorado.
Her work, she said, delights her.
“I love representing an industry that’s dedicated to protecting private property rights and the free enterprise system, because that’s what I’m all about,” Arellano said.
She’s equally devoted to Colorado, where she has lived for 11 years.
“I’m absolutely committed to staying here,” she said. “Colorado is home, and I never want to leave.”
Arellano cheerfully admits to being consumed by her job.
“I get up in the morning, and I feel so lucky, because my work is my hobby,” she said. “It’s what I want to do.”
Even when she’s not working, she doesn’t stray far from her “hobby.” Bilingual in English and Spanish, she often appears on Univision-Colorado as a political analyst, as well as being a guest commentator on Rocky Mountain PBS.