Health care and climate top priorities for Yadira Caraveo, new member of Congress in a new Colorado district
Yadira Caraveo addresses reporters for the first time as the U.S. representative-elect from Colorado’s 8th Congressional District, on Nov. 10, 2022, at her parents’ home in Adams County. (Quentin Young/Colorado Newsline)
Yadira Caraveo, a Colorado state representative, stood at a lectern Thursday in the backyard of her childhood home in Adams County north of Denver. Her parents, who immigrated from Mexico and moved to the Denver-area home when Caraveo was in second grade, watched from a balcony as the 41-year-old Caraveo addressed reporters for the first time as the Democratic U.S. representative-elect from Colorado’s 8th Congressional District.
“This hill behind me is where my siblings and I used to slide down making mud hills, and the house behind us is where I spent many, many hours studying to get through high school, through college and through medical school,” the pediatrician said. “And being able to do that because of the hard work of my parents.”
Her Republican opponent, state Sen. Barabara Kirkmeyer, conceded the close race Wednesday night.
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Caraveo will be the first Latina to represent Colorado in Congress. She will also be the first person to represent Colorado’s new 8th Congressional District, which due to population growth was added to the state’s previous slate of seven districts and was created through an independent redistricting commission.
The 8th District was the state’s most competitive based on previous elections, and unofficial results show Caraveo won by a margin of less than one percentage point. The district, which among the state’s congressional districts has the highest concentration — 39% — of Hispanic residents, includes the northern Denver suburbs and extends into Greeley. Caraveo said she intends to “represent every corner of this district, from Commerce City up into Greeley.”
“Whether you voted for me or not, I am here to represent you, to listen to what you need to make sure that we are making a Colorado and a United States that will give you your dream, your ability to live your dreams, just like it gave me the ability to live mine,” she said.
Caraveo was introduced by Democratic U.S. Rep. Jason Crow of Centennial.
“It takes a special type of person, a special type of family, to take on a race like this, especially in an environment like we face today, of extreme volatility, of partisanship, of tensions, of extremism,” Crow said of Caraveo.
Caraveo said her top priorities in Congress include health care and climate change. She cited the obstacles she faced as a doctor trying to treat young patients.
“The medical training that I had was not enough to beat the system that we had,” she said. “And so a lot of my effort is going to go into that system to make sure that it’s not about insurance companies or drug companies.”
Caraveo alluded to striking a balance on her environmental agenda. The 8th District includes parts of Weld County, which produces by far the most oil and gas in the state.
“We have a very important oil and gas industry that gives people like the families at my clinic great jobs, but where I also see kids struggling to breathe every single day and I have to send them to the hospital to put them on oxygen,” she said.
Caraveo also spoke about her precedent-setting win as the first Latina member of the state’s congressional delegation.
“I don’t know that it’s really sunk in yet,” she said. “I’ve been the only Latina sometimes in all sorts of different environments. I was one of a handful of Latina students in medical school … So this is just another area to be the first in, but it means a lot, the fact that the Latino community had carried me to this said they are so proud of my ability to do this.”
The Colorado delegation from Colorado that will join Congress in January will also include Democrats Diana DeGette from the 1st District, Joe Neguse from the 2nd District, Jason Crow from the 6th District and Brittany Pettersen from the 7th District; and Republicans Ken Buck from the 4th District and Doug Lamborn from the 5th District.
The race for the 3rd District between Republican incumbent Lauren Boebert and Democratic challenger Adam Frisch is still too close to call.
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