About Julie

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Meet Julie: A fighter and champion for Denver’s families

I am running for office because I believe that every person in this district has the right to live their lives in dignity, empowered with a voice in the Capitol and a seat at the table.

The sixth of seven children, Julie was born on the San Carlos Apache reservation in Arizona and raised in the borderlands of south Texas. Her mom Gloria, grew up on the family ranch in Gardner, Colorado and was an elementary school teacher. Her dad Mario was a rancher and a medical cannabis producer in northern New Mexico. Together, they taught Julie the value of hard work, honesty, and the importance of lifting as we climb.
Julie first fell in love with Denver in the late 1990s, during the summers between high school when she lived with her older brother John. She took the new light rail to downtown Denver, where she worked multiple jobs to save money for college. In 2005, she graduated from Yale University and within a week of her graduation, moved to Denver. In 2008, she bought an affordable housing unit at 23rd and Clay Street in Jefferson Park, where she lives with her husband Ben Chavez, their shih-tzu mutt Chookie, and their pandemic puppy Panda.
Julie has dedicated her life to organizing on the front lines for justice in Colorado. In 2005, Julie organized a 58-member coalition of low-income families, unions, community organizations, and environmental activists that passed a community benefits agreement at the Gates Rubber Factory redevelopment to ensure that tax dollars were spent on affordable housing, a clean environment, and jobs that paid a living wage.
In 2006, she organized students at North, Lincoln, and Montbello High Schools to ensure that Denver Public Schools offered a college-preparatory education to all students while also ending the school-to-jail pipeline. In 2009, she co-founded the Colorado Latino Forum, a statewide grassroots organization dedicated to building the economic, educational, and political power of Latinos across Colorado, and in 2013 was elected to serve as the statewide board chair.
Over the past decade, Julie helped build an incredible movement to defend and advance immigrant rights across Colorado, and has been at the forefront of several key battles at the state legislature on immigration, including co-drafting the ASSET bill at the state legislature, which allowed Colorado undocumented students to attend college and pay in-state tuition, and the creation of immigrant drivers’ licenses. In 2017, Julie was a leader in a coalition that passed legislation to ensure that no Denver resources would be spent on immigration enforcement.
A lifelong progressive Democrat, Julie volunteered on her first campaign in 2003, and registered voters in eight different states in 2004. In 2016, Julie volunteered and caucused for Bernie Sanders, and then joined the Colorado Democratic Party as an organizer, where she served as Morgan Carroll’s persuasion field director during her CD6 Congressional campaign, engaged volunteers, and turned out voters in support of Hillary Clinton. In 2017, Julie was elected by HD5 to serve as a member of the Party’s Central Committee and Executive Committee.
As your state senator, Julie will fight so that all Coloradans have the right to a home, a high-quality education, a job that pays a living wage, a clean environment, universal healthcare, and the right to live freely and with dignity.