Dan Nordberg, elected last November to represent House District 14 in north Colorado Springs, has become the youngest Republican in the Colorado State House of Representatives. At 29, the Colorado State University graduate hopes to be able to help the Legislature foster an environment that will promote business growth and job creation.
While this is his first elected office, Nordberg has been immersed in politics most of his life. He worked several years for U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn and, before that, was a legislative aide in Washington, D.C. He believes this is an important time in American politics and hopes to make an impact.
Where are you originally from and how did you end up in Colorado Springs?
My wife Maura and I are both Colorado natives. We grew up in the suburbs surrounding Denver and attended college at Colorado State. I ended up in Colorado Springs after taking a job with Congressman Lamborn. I can’t imagine a better place to live and plan on being here for years to come.
What interested you in politics?
Colorado’s political landscape is unique from most other areas of the country because of its diversity. We have highly populated urban areas with busy economic centers, wide-ranging agricultural areas and a stunning landscape that offers plenty of adventure for people from across the world. Everyone loves our state for a different reason, and it is the convergence of those ideas that most interested me. We all hold different priorities, but we all want to see our state move forward and grow strong. That’s a unique dynamic that I truly enjoy being a part of.
Why are you a Republican?
I am a Republican because I believe in the conservative ideals of limited government and freedom of opportunity. Today, I’m bothered by a trend I see in our society that strains away from opportunity and leans more toward dependency. Government cannot be all things to all people, but it should be working to create opportunity so that every person is given the chance they need to rise. The Republican platform, I believe, best helps accomplish this.
Tell us a bit about your political career at this point and what you have done.
This is my first opportunity to serve in public office but I’ve been involved in the political arena for years. I previously worked as Congressman Doug Lamborn’s District Director in Colorado Springs. Prior to that, I served as a Legislative Aide in Washington, DC where I worked on small business, homeland security, and transportation issues. Working as a liaison between federal and state agencies, I’ve gained invaluable knowledge about the challenges facing our small businesses and local communities.
Why did you decide this was the right time to run for a state office?
This is a defining moment in American history. Our country’s spending is out of control, the national debt sits above a record setting $16 trillion, and we continue to suffer under chronically high unemployment. As a state legislator, I don’t have control over the policies that affect these issues at the national level, but I can put forth ideas and solutions at the state level to prevent Colorado from following the trajectory of our national economy. Colorado’s economic recovery is fragile, and I hope to strengthen and accelerate it for the people I serve in House District 14 as well as every Colorado family and business owner.
What are your priorities in office?
While government doesn’t create jobs, it can certainly create an environment that helps or hinders job creation. We need to focus on legislation that empowers our state’s business owners and job seekers. My priority is to accelerate our economic recovery and get government out the way so businesses can maximize their potential.
What advantages and challenges do you think you will face as the youngest Republican in the House?
There’s always the worry that, because of one’s youth, people won’t take you as seriously as someone who’s a bit longer in tooth — but that’s a problem I’ve yet to encounter at the Capitol. Most of my colleagues are sincerely proud to see a younger face among their ranks, and many have already come to me looking for the perspective my age offers on a wide range of issues. If anything, I believe we need more young people in state government and I would encourage anyone thinking of running for elected office to do so.
What do you see as the advantages and challenges young professionals face in Colorado Springs?
With a nation-wide youth unemployment rate (18-29) hovering around 11.5 percent, finding a job with a living wage is a problem for young professionals not just in Colorado Springs, but across the country. Fortunately, our region has great community colleges and universities which excel at preparing and placing new graduates. That said, I’m going to look for every opportunity to work on policy that empowers our state’s job creators and helps give our young professionals the skills and resources they need to find gainful employment.