Once homeless, Colorado’s Rep. Jackson will fill key role at federal housing agency
Aurora Democrat appointed Region 8 HUD administrator, resigned from the state House on Monday
State Rep. Dominique Jackson addresses a rally on May 13, 2021, in support of Senate Bill 21-200, a major piece of climate-change legislation opposed by Gov. Jared Polis. (Chase Woodruff/Colorado Newsline)
State Rep. Dominique Jackson, an Aurora Democrat serving her third term in the Colorado House of Representatives, is leaving elected office for an influential position in the Biden administration.
President Joe Biden appointed Jackson as a regional administrator for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, where she’ll manage HUD’s efforts to help people find housing and stay housed, enforce fair lending and anti-discrimination laws, access rental assistance, and more. The announcement came in a Friday statement from the White House.
“This is in many ways a continuation of the work that I have been doing,” Jackson said in an interview. “It’s about continuing to serve community in an even bigger way.”
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As Region 8 administrator, Jackson will oversee HUD activities in Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.
Jackson submitted a letter of resignation from her House office that was accepted on Monday, according to Jarrett Freedman, spokesperson for Colorado House Democrats. A vacancy committee has until mid-January to appoint Jackson’s replacement, who will finish out the legislative term ending in 2022.
“I am proud of the work that I did at the Legislature,” Jackson said, “and I’m excited for my colleagues. I know that they are going to continue to do great work for the people of the state of Colorado.”
Jackson’s House District 42 is solidly Democratic. So far, two Democrats, Kyle Leggott and Eric Nelson, and one Republican, Cory Parella, have filed to run for the seat next November.
Until her resignation from the state legislature, Jackson served as chair of the Affordable Housing Transformational Task Force, which is finalizing a plan to allocate $400 million in federal money toward housing initiatives in Colorado. Along with Rep. Leslie Herod, a Denver Democrat, Jackson sponsored 2020 legislation that banned housing discrimination based on source of income.
“Coloradans have been contending with a housing crisis for years — and it’s only getting worse,” Colorado U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, a Democrat, said in a Friday statement. “We need experienced leaders like state Rep. Dominique Jackson at HUD to address this critical issue. From her time in the Colorado legislature to her work with Aurora’s City Council (on a housing and development committee), I’m confident that in this new role state Rep. Jackson will help ensure families have a safe space to live.”
Sen. John Hickenlooper — also a Democrat from Colorado — called Jackson an “exceptional choice.”
“She’s championed affordable housing and has a deep understanding of how to serve marginalized communities,” Hickenlooper said in a statement.
As a state representative, Jackson chaired the House Energy and Environment Committee. She sponsored major legislation earlier this year that strengthened regulations on greenhouse gas emissions, and spoke at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference.
“We are so pleased to have someone with such an accomplished track record fighting for renter’s rights, environmental justice, and providing a voice for underserved communities join the Region VIII HUD team,” Michele Perez, assistant deputy secretary of HUD’s Office of Field Policy and Management, said in a Tuesday statement. “Ms. Jackson’s background and experience in helping both rural and urban communities will be an invaluable asset to HUD’s Rocky Mountain Region.”
Having experienced homelessness as a teenager, Jackson knows what it’s like to be housing insecure. She plans to bring that perspective to her new role, she told Newsline.
“I share the same kind of lived experiences as many of the people that I have served in the past and that I will continue to serve in this present role and in the future,” Jackson said. “Coming from that place that is more than just empathy but that is true lived experience informs one in a different way, and I hope that that kind of lived experience helps me to always remember to listen — to sit back and to truly listen.”
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