In her second term representing House District 5 in central Denver, Crisanta Duran is chairwoman of the legislature’s powerful Joint Budget Committee.
The 2014 state budget drafted by the JBC and approved by the full legislature was notable for its significant increases for K-12 and higher education and funded a variety of measures to boost the state’s economy and increase the economic security of Colorado families, including her bill to reduce the cost of child care for low-income working parents so they can remain in the workforce.
Rep. Duran’s signal achievement during the 2013 session was enactment of a law making the in-state tuition rate at state colleges and universities in Colorado available to all students, regardless of immigration status, who graduate from high school in Colorado after attending for at least three years. To qualify, students who lack legal immigration status would also have to seek United States citizenship.
Rep. Duran’s bill extending benefits for unemployed Coloradans while they learn new workforce or entrepreneurial skills was one of the few jobs bills from either party to make it through the House in 2012, when it was controlled by the Republicans.
Rep. Duran graduated from Arvada West High School with honors and earned a scholarship to attend the University of Denver, where she earned a B.A. with a double major in public policy and Spanish. She went on to law school at the University of Colorado, where she was elected president of the Student Bar Association and the Latino Law Student Association.
After graduating from law school, she went to work for the 21,000 members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7, where she fought for better-paying jobs and access to quality healthcare. Rep. Duran currently has her own legal practice.
Rep. Duran has been president of the Colorado Young Democrats, served on the boards of La Raza and Democrats Work, and held posts in Women for Obama and the Latino Vote Steering Committee, Progressive Majority, and New Era Colorado. She was a delegate to the 2008 and 2012 Democratic National Conventions.