The 35-year-old Vander Veen is chief deputy and communications manager for the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder’s Office, where she’s responsible for disseminating election information to the media.
So, any election results you read or hear about in the news came from Vander Veen. And after the election season cools down, she stays attentive to her other responsibilities in the office, which include motor vehicle administration and serving as clerk to the Board of County Commissioners.
As a Colorado Springs native, she’s suited for the job, and not only is she a lifelong local, she says she’s a proud fifth-generation Colorado native, as well.
Vander Veen took some time recently to talk to the Business Journal about her job and living in Colorado Springs.
How did you become interested in elections and political campaigns?
I guess you could say that I was born into it. My dad volunteered on several campaigns while I was growing up. The largest was in 1980 when he was the El Paso County chairman for the Reagan and Bush campaign. The first words I was able to read were the words “Reagan and Bush” on a bumper sticker. My dad will tell you to this day that his proudest moment might be me standing in the back seat of the car and saying, “Look dad, Reagan and Bush!” After that I took to politics like a duck to water. I’ve worked on several successful campaigns and I love the challenge and energy that each one brings.
The Waldo Canyon fire presented challenges during primary elections. What were some of the biggest lessons you gleaned from working during that time?
Professionally, I learned to always be prepared. The fire’s most destructive night was primary election night, and it was intense and scary. We had a lot to accomplish to ensure that votes were counted while keeping our judges and staff safe. I learned that being ready for the unexpected is key in this business. Personally, I saw firsthand what a great community that we live in. People came together to help those around them and reached out to those in need. It was a great opportunity to work in the Joint Information Center during the days after the fire and help those that were affected by the fire as well as those just looking for ways to reach out and help. That was an awe-inspiring moment which I was able to witness.
What does the future hold for you?
I love my job and the people of Colorado Springs and El Paso County, so I think I will be here for a while. I like getting to work in the Clerk’s Office because every day is a challenge and there are always opportunities to improve and fix county government to get it out of the way of our residents.
What do you love most about Colorado Springs? What would you most like to change about the city?
It is one of the most beautiful cities in the nation. I love it here and it’s always been my home. If I could fix anything I would make government focus on three things and have government perform those three tasks well. They are to build infrastructure, provide public safety and foster an environment of economic stability.