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The Bounceback presented by

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Jared Polis

Governor of Colorado

Highlights
As governor of Colorado, Jared Polis knew crises were in the job description. He expected wildfires. He expected floods. He expected mass shootings. But one disaster he didn’t anticipate? The COVID-19 pandemic.

Suddenly the former five-term House member, accustomed to the slow pace of Congress, found himself at the helm of a state faced with a once-in-a generation health crisis. Colorado’s situation was unique — A blue state helmed by a Democratic governor that is also famous for its residents’ independent, anti-government streak.

Covid hit home for Polis; he and his partner contracted Covid in November 2020, and although the governor’s symptoms were mild, his partner was admitted to the hospital when his oxygen levels dropped. Polis’s partner later recovered.

Traditionally a frontier-style swing state, an influx of liberals from both coasts has contributed to Colorado’s population boom and its blue shift.

Press Conference
Social distancing

How Colorado was affected by COVID-19

Colorado declared a state of emergency early on in the pandemic -- March 10. A driver of the state’s economy is tourism -- think ski resorts like Aspen, Crested Butte and Vail -- and that led to international visitors bringing Covid into the state.

But by April 2020, Polis began to reopen the state, buoyed by an outdoor industry that was uniquely suited to welcome pandemic-era visitors.

“We were one of the earliest states to reopen, to welcome tourists from across the country to be able to have the maximum degree of economic and cultural life during the pandemic. That's really been in many ways the saving grace for our tourism and recreation industry.”
– Jared Polis, Governor of Colorado

Although international spenders were no longer bringing their cash, domestic tourists continued visiting. Polis said Colorado’s spectacular outdoor attractions were perfect for Covid-safe tourism destinations.

By The Numbers
Source: U.S. Census Bureau | U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis | BLS.gov
4.9%
Unemployment§
390.09 B
Gross Domestic Product
5,758,736
Resident Population¥
$72,331
Median Household Income¥
§
Numbers indicate % change in attributes from April 2020 to April 2021.
¥
As of 2019
As of 2020

Presented by

Google

Google is invested in expanding access to Google Career Certificates to help more people, particularly those who are underserved, grow their careers. To date, the Google IT Support Certificate has been implemented through 100+ community colleges and dozens of career technical education sites. More than 3,100 Coloradans have enrolled in the program, and 60% of people who take the Google IT Support Certificate course are Black, Latino, women, or veterans.

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How Colorado is handling COVID-19

Polis said his administration’s guiding principle was to avoid overcrowding the hospital system. Despite its status as a Democratic stronghold, Colorado was one of the earliest blue states to begin reopening its economy in the spring of 2020 -- substantially earlier than liberal coastal states.

The approach appears to have paid off; Colorado has the 10th lowest Covid fatalities per capita among any state.

But it wasn’t always smooth sailing. From Thanksgiving to Christmas in 2020, the state had the highest rate of death per occupied nursing home bed in the country -- double the national average, according to Colorado Public Radio.

And in May 2020, CPR reported that Colorado had the second-highest rate of Covid deaths per 100,000 residents west of the Mississippi River.

Polis also had to deal with then President Donald Trump, who made a habit of demonizing Democratic governors during the pandemic. Trump's administration canceled Colorado’s order for 500 ventilators in 2020. Later on, Trump promoted the federal shipment of 100 ventilators to the state, ostensibly to support endangered GOP Sen. Cory Gardner.

At one point, Polis flew to Washington to meet with Trump to discuss the Covid response.

“It was challenging to deal with President Trump. I think anybody who's dealt with him, friend or foe, knows that it's a difficult kind of relationship to manage. I certainly did my best to make sure that he would support the people in Colorado in our time of need.”
– Jared Polis, Governor of Colorado

On July 8, Polis ended the state’s Covid health emergency order and rescinded all restrictions.

Colorado Unemployment Rate

Source: BLS.gov

The people who make Colorado work

Chief of Staff

Lisa Kaufmann

Chief of Staff

Lisa Kaufmann

Kaufmann is the governor’s longest-serving employee and a trusted confidant.

Executive Director, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

Jill Hunsaker Ryan

Executive Director, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

Jill Hunsaker Ryan

Ryan has utilized her 25 years of public health experience when overseeing the state’s Covid response.

Executive Director, Colorado Department of Public Safety

Stan Hilkey

Executive Director, Colorado Department of Public Safety

Stan Hilkey

Hilkey heads one of the largest departments in the state government and has a law enforcement background as the former Mesa County sheriff.

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What Was Colorado Searching For?

The pulse of the state of Colorado can been seen through the search results of the last year.

Political Issues

Top Searched Political Issues, 2021 in Colorado

Source: Google Trends

unemployment
wages
healthcare
race
immigration

What's next for Colorado post COVID-19?

Polis touts Colorado’s strong economic recovery, where job growth has surged and the state’s budget is billions of dollars in the black.

“Every Coloradan will get a tax refund this year,” Polis said. He credits Colorado’s “great, productive, well-educated, thoughtful and creative” residents for the state’s economic recovery.

The income tax rate in Colorado is going from 4.63 percent to 4.55 -- something Polis says will help juice local businesses.

The governor is urging all Coloradans to receive a vaccine, citing its protection against Covid. Currently, more than 59 percent of residents have received one dose, and 53.7 percent are fully vaccinated -- the 23rd best tally among states and territories.

“Covid isn't going anywhere. It'll be here in a year, it'll be here in five years, it'll be here in 100 years, but what's no longer in jeopardy is our hospital capacity. We have the supplies we need, we have the masks we need, we have better therapies. Most importantly, we have the vaccine.”
– Jared Polis, Governor of Colorado
Car Testing
Denver Skyline

From The Governor's Office

Olde Man Granola

Presented by

Google

Mark and Fay Plaza began sharing their homemade granola with family and friends in Westminster, Colorado in 2008, and they were soon selling Olde Man Granola at farmers markets. After their son Trevor left the Marines and joined the business, he revamped their website, started advertising through social media and Google Ads, and tracked conversions with Google Analytics. In 2019, revenue increased 30 percent year-over-year.

When COVID-19 hit, Olde Man Granola was considered an essential business. The team used Google Workspace tools like Calendar and Sheets to collaborate and stay organized, and they relied on Google Meet to communicate in a safe, convenient way. Online sales increased, and Olde Man Granola has now shipped to all 50 states, producing around 13,000 pounds of granola a month and adding two more employees to their team.

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