Su Ryden, a Democrat who hopes to follow in the footsteps of Rep. Morgan Carroll, is running for House District 36.
“I’m a business owner. I’m very involved in the community. I believe I can bring some skills to the table that would be helpful,” Ryden said.
As owner of Ryden & Associates, a Denver marketing firm, Ryden says she understands the challenges small business owners face – especially when it comes to providing employees with increasingly expensive healthcare – and would bring that perspective to the table at the Capitol.
“Su doesn’t just talk about what needs to be done, she goes to council meetings, writes letters, mentors and encourages others in how to make a wave, and ultimately a difference,” said Wendy Bullock, who has served with Ryden on the board of the Aurora Fox Arts Center. “We as citizens to Colorado would be lucky to have her as a representative.”
Although this is her first foray into running for elected office, Ryden has owned her business for more than 30 years, is a member of the Aurora Chamber of Commerce and has served on the Aurora Historic Preservation Commission.
Ryden also has the support of Carroll, who is vacating her seat to run for state senate. Ryden will face former Aurora city councilwoman Kathy Green this fall.
“She’s not inherently a political animal. She’s a public-service oriented person,” Carroll said.
That could appeal to the nearly 14,000 independent voters in Ryden’s district, which leans Democratic with 10,066 registered Republicans and 13,433 registered Democrats, according to numbers compiled in April by the Colorado Secretary of State’s office.
Ryden, like Green, is still putting together her legislative agenda as she walks her district talking to voters but said she’d like to be involved in education reform at the statehouse.
Both candidates said they would work to bring transportation funding home to Aurora, which has lobbied for state transportation dollars to widen Interstate 225.
Ryden said she is a strong supporter of public schools and interested in addressing the challenges Colorado’s education system faces.
“I’m concerned about public education having such a [financial] struggle and now spending such a large amount of time getting ready for tests,” Ryden said.
The state needs to change the Colorado Student Assessment Program to focus on the progress of individual students rather than results at different schools, she said.
Ryden, a recipient of the Aurora Historic Preservation Commission’s Elizabeth Johnson Award, according to her campaign Web site, said she’d like to emulate former Colorado Congresswoman Pat Schroeder, who once helped Ryden’s company settle a contract dispute with the federal government.
“I just want to be part of trying to bring people together,” Ryden said.