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Environmental Justice Action Task Force

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About the Environmental Justice Action Task Force 

The Task Force solicited community feedback from across the state for nearly a year. It held seven full Task Meetings including four virtual meetings with the in-person components in Commerce City, Grand Junction, Greeley, and Pueblo. It held 33 subcommittee meetings spanning 77 hours. It received over 300 written public comments and survey responses and also heard from dozens of community members in verbal public comments and during focus groups, coffee chats, and cafecitos.

All Task Force documents are public documents. You can view all Task Force documents in the public Google Drive folder.

Watch recordings of past Task Force meetings here.
Read summaries of Task Force meetings here.

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Environmental Justice Action Task Force finalizes its recommendations

The Environmental Justice Action Task Force has submitted its final recommendations to the legislature, Governor’s office, and CDPHE.

The Task Force solicited community feedback from across the state for nearly a year. It held seven full Task Meetings including four virtual meetings with the in-person components in Commerce City, Grand Junction, Greeley, and Pueblo. It held 33 subcommittee meetings spanning 77 hours. It received over 300 written public comments and survey responses and also heard from dozens of community members in verbal public comments and during focus groups, coffee chats, and cafecitos.

Based on this feedback and extensive deliberation at its meetings, the Task Force developed its final recommendations, which are available here. See the final recommendations report summary graphic.

On March 1, 2023, Governor Polis sent CDPHE a letter with instructions to implement the recommendations of the Task Force.  

Read the letter here.

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Environmental Justice Action Task Force Recommendations Implementation Progress Report

At CDPHE, we are committed to transparency, so we created the Environmental Justice Action Task Force Recommendations Implementation Progress Report. This progress report shows CDPHE’s progress in implementing the task force recommendations. It offers detailed information about each recommendation, its current status, and the most recent updates.

Key features of the progress report:

  • Progress update: Stay informed about our progress in implementing the task force recommendations.
  • Comprehensive Information: Access in-depth details about each recommendation, the steps we’re taking to implement them, and how the recommendations will advance environmental justice.
  • Transparency: We are committed to sharing our progress as we work to protect communities disproportionately impacted by pollution.

Stay informed and engaged about CDPHE’s actions to advance environmental justice by exploring this progress report. If you have any questions, please contact cdphe_ej@state.co.us.

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Members of the Task Force

The Environmental Justice Action Task Force has 22 members from across Colorado.

Appointed by Governor Polis

Michael Ogletree Headshot (Circle Crop)
 Michael Ogletree

CDPHE representative with expertise in air quality

Michael Ogletree is the Division Director for the Air Pollution Control Division (APCD) of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) where he is responsible for the supervision of the APCD. Before becoming Division Director, Mr. Ogletree was the air quality program manager for the City and County of Denver, where he led Denver’s overall efforts to improve air quality with a special focus on the disproportionate impacts of air pollution and poor air quality on communities of color. He also served as secretary of the Air Quality Control Commission (2020-2021) and chaired the Air Quality Enterprise Board (2021). Mr. Ogletree has also served as a chemist and laboratory manager in the private sector. Mr. Ogletree serves on the Regional Air Quality Council as the representative for APCD.

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Trisha Oeth

CDPHE representative with expertise in water quality

Trisha Oeth is the Director of Environmental Policy at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. She provides policy direction and support for the environmental divisions in concert with the Director of Environmental Health and Protection, and the directors of the four environmental divisions. She also oversees the department’s Environmental Justice Unit, Boards and Commissions team, and Energy Liaison. 

Trisha has over 15 years of experience in water quality law and policy in Colorado, and has served as the Interim Director of the Water Quality Control Division, the Administrator for the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission, and has represented the Water Quality Control Division while practicing law at the Colorado Attorney General’s Office. Trisha served as co-chair of the Association of Clean Water Administrators’ Nutrient Policy Committee, was a member of the Western States Water Council, served on the Steering Committee for the Colorado Water Quality Forum, is an alumni of Water Education Colorado’s Water Leaders Program, and is a member of the Boulder Water Resources Advisory Board.

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Tara Trujillo

CDPHE representative with expertise in health equity

Tara Trujillo is the Department’s deputy director and has worked in public service for nearly two decades. Deputy Trujillo spent several years at the US Department of Energy (DOE) and came to CDPHE in 2021 as the state’s COVID-19 vaccine campaign manager, playing a crucial role in establishing Colorado as a leader in the west for vaccine acceptance and rural access to vaccines. 

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Elizabeth Schoder

Representative of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

Elizabeth Schoder is the Water Planning & Community Outreach Specialist for the Colorado Water Conservation Board, an agency within the Department of Natural Resources. She works on community education & outreach, innovation, and equity issues for the Water Supply Planning Section.

Previously, Elizabeth worked for the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment on their COVID equity team, helping expand vaccine access regionally across the state. Prior to that she worked on the Western Slope as the Education & Outreach Manager for the Eagle River Watershed Council. She received her Bachelor's degree in Environmental Policy from Colorado College. She serves on the Board of Trustees for Water Education Colorado.

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Marsha Nelson

Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) representative

Marsha Nelson is the Chief Equity Officer for the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). She leads the dedepartment'sewly created Environmental Justice and Equity Branch, established as part of SB21‐260, the comprehensive transportation funding and modernization bill passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Polis this Spring.

Nelson joins CDOT from the Denver Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI) of the City and County of Denver, where she helped lead the department’s priorities in transportation equity and the development, execution, and prioritization of multiple high-priority special projects and initiatives, including internal/external stakeholder relations.

Prior to her service with Denver, Nelson held multiple roles with M.A. Mortenson Company’s Denver Operating Group; most notably as a chief spokesperson and lead change agent in corporate compliance and social responsibility initiatives. 

In both her public and private sector roles, she has focused on the implementation of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion principles within practices, policies and procedures of large organizations, community and small business engagement, economic equity for disadvantaged, small, minority, women and veteran owned businesses, leading efforts to advance professional development and career opportunities for underrepresented industry professionals, and helping to eradicate opportunity gaps for students through exposure to industry related professional and trade skill jobs.

Over the course of her career, she has served on numerous boards and committees focused on workforce development, small business equity, and supporting military veterans. Currently, she serves as President of the Colorado Chapter foofhe Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO); the Colorado Contractor Academy board; and the Aurora Public Schools Foundation Board.

She is a Denver Business Journal ‘40 Under 40’ recipient and has completed numerous leadership development programs including Leadership Denver of the Denver Metro Leadership Foundation and the Chamber Connect Leadership Program where she received the highest award of “Distinguished” graduate and the “Empowerment” award ‘for being committed to bringing the best out of others.’ 

Marsha is a thoughtful, decisive, collaborative, and results driven leader that leads by convening diverse perspectives to weave together the collective. She leans in to ensure all voices are welcome and heard.

In her free time, she enjoys traveling and volunteering with the ‘Women of Hope’ of her home church, New Hope Baptist Church in Denver, Colorado.

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Dominique Gomez

Colorado Energy Office (CEO) representative

Dominique Gómez is the Deputy Director of the Colorado Energy Office which works to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and consumer energy costs by advancing energy, energy efficiency and zero emissions vehicles to benefit all Coloradans. 

Prior to this role, she served as the Program Director at the Salazar Center at Colorado State University where she focused on climate adaptation and resilience, and as Chief Operating Officer at WaterSmart Software where she worked on operations at a fast-growing startup. 

Dominique is a Commissioner at Denver Water and a member of the Board at Cascadia Consulting, a sustainability consulting firm based in Seattle, as well as Communities Unlimited, a nonprofit serving rural with persistent poverty. She lives in Denver with her husband and young daughters.

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Doug Dean

Public Utilities Commission (PUC) representative

Doug Dean became Director of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in March 2005.
The PUC regulates rates and services provided by Colorado public utilities. These utilities include electrical, common carrier, pipeline, gas, telephone, and water corporations, all of which supply services to the public.

Prior to becoming Director of the PUC, Mr. Dean served as the Colorado Insurance Commissioner for two years. He was an active member of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, serving as Chairman of the Interstate Compact Implementation Task Force and Chairman of the Collaborative Actions Group.

Mr. Dean was elected to four terms in the Colorado House of Representatives, serving on the Business Affairs and Labor Committee, the State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee, and the Education Committee where he served one term as Vice-Chairman. In 1999, his colleagues elected him as House Majority Leader, and in 2001 he was elected Speaker of the House.

In his tenure in the legislature, he sponsored several significant pieces of legislation including education reform, increased funding for charter schools, creation of Challenger Learning Centers in Colorado, inmate fraud prevention, college savings plans, increased funding for Colorado tourism, and the new Denver Broncos stadium. He also received numerous 'Legislator of the Year' awards.

Dean is married to Jenifer Waller and is the father of 4 children, 2 step-children, and has 2 grandchildren.

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Jordan Beezley

Department of Agriculture (DOA) representative

Jordan Beezley is the Policy Advisor and Legislative Liaison for the Colorado Department of Agriculture. He has held several roles in state government, including heading the Broadband Fund grant program, overseeing investigations for the real estate industry, and managing the conservation easement tax credit and holder certification programs. Jordan has also worked for Colorado University-Boulder and several land conservation and environmental nonprofits.

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Jonathan Asher

Governor’s Office representative

Jonathan Asher serves as Governor Polis’s senior policy advisor for natural resources and environmental issues. Originally from Evergreen, Jonathan returned to Colorado in 2020 after fifteen years in Washington, D.C., with roughly half that time spent on Capitol Hill in senior energy, public lands, and environmental policy roles. Jonathan served as an appointee of President Obama at the Environmental Protection Agency in the Administrator’s legislative affairs office. In that role, he witnessed first-hand the impact of state and local governmental decision-making on environmental justice through experience gained during the Flint water crisis response. 

Most recently, Jonathan served as The Wilderness Society’s Director of Government Relations for Conservation Funding where he provided expertise on conservation funding and the federal appropriations process and served as the Co-Chair of the Land and Water Conservation Fund Coalition, working for passage of the Dingel Conservation Act and Great American Outdoors Act. Jonathan is a graduate of the University of Colorado, Boulder, and Evans Scholarship recipient. Prior to his time in Washington, D.C., he spent his days as a whitewater raft guide on the Colorado River and an adaptive ski and snowboard instructor.

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Appointed by the General Assembly

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Hilda Nucete

Representative of disproportionately impacted communities (Congressional District 7), appointed by Speaker of the House Alec Garnett

Hilda Nucete grew up in Caracas, Venezuela. In 2007 she moved to Colorado due to the difficult political situation in the country. Shortly after arriving in America, Hilda became greatly interested in social, racial, and environmental justice issues, which ignited her passion to become an environmental justice advocate fighting against climate change by promoting clean energy for a healthy future for all Coloradans. 

In January 2014, she studied International Business and French at the Université Blaise Pascal in Vichy, France. She also graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in International Studies with an emphasis in Latin America and Europe and a minor in French language and culture. Hilda began her career in environmental justice as an organizer and later transitioned as the Protégete Program Director with Conservation Colorado. 

Currently, Hilda is the Civic Engagement Director for the League of Conservation Voters where she supports the implementation of a multistate voter engagement operation that focuses on increasing civic participation of Black, Indigenous, Immigrants, and People of Color who are disproportionately impacted by environmental issues but also disproportionately disenfranchised at the voting booth. 

Hilda currently serves as the Co-Chair for the Health Equity Commission advising CDPHE through the Office of Health Equity on health equity issues, focusing on alignment, education, and capacity-building for state and local health programs and community-based organizations. In addition, the commission advises the Health Disparities and Community Grant Program and collaborates with CDPHE and the Governor's Office to develop a statewide equity report and strategic plan outlined in Senate Bill 21-181. 

Hilda is also a mentor at LIPS Institute (Latinas Increasing Political Strength) and a Volunteer Leader for Headwaters Protectors, a local nonprofit providing compassionate water and trash services to people experiencing homelessness in Denver, CO.

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Ean Tafoya

Representative of an organization that carries out initiatives related to environmental justice, appointed by Speaker of the House Alec Garnett

Ean is active in Denver Public Affairs, Colorado Public Policy, and Federal Environmental Policy. He has worked for three branches of local government, worked at three levels of American government, run for Denver City Council, and has directed many local and state political races. Currently, he serves as the Colorado State Director for GreenLatinos. Ean has received recognition for his work from both the Denver Regional Council of Governments, and the Denver Regional Air Quality Council, and most recently was named a River Hero by the National River Network. He loves to dance whether it be at a concert or in politics! As Mr. Denver, a local music DJ and radio host, he uses the media to uplift locals in the community. Follow Ean @believeEan on all platforms. 

Ean is a water protector that holds a B.A. in Political Science with a Minor in Native American Studies, a Water Studies Certificate, an Early Childhood Education Certificate from the Metropolitan State University of Denver as well as a Horticultural Therapy Certificate for Colorado State University.

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Mara Brosy-Wiwchar

Representative of the renewable energy industry, appointed by Speaker of the House Alec Garnett

Mara Brosy-Wiwchar is a public policy professional with nearly 15 years’ experience at the state and national levels. Working with a “community first” approach, she has led government offices to be better partners with constituents and community leaders.

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Renée Millard-Chacon

Representative of an organization that carries out initiatives related to environmental justice, appointed by Speaker of the House Alec Garnett

Renee M. Chacon, is Diné/Xicana/Filipina from Southern Colorado and New Mexico. She is a Sahumadora for Kalpulli ColorAztlan and is the co-ounder and executive director of Womxn from the Mountain for transforming education through justice, art, and cultural education. 

She works as a cultural educator in several environmental justice initiatives to stop environmental racism in Commerce City, CO with Suncor Sundown. Check out the film and how to share, support, and protect disproportionately impacted communities from the cumulative impacts of particulate pollution, climate change, and predatory behaviors.

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Kimberly Mendoza-Cooke

Representative of disproportionately impacted communities (Congressional District 7), appointed by House Minority Leader Hugh McKean

Ms. Mendoza-Cooke is the Director of Policy and Advocacy for Oxy USA Inc. (OXY). Kim leads to state and local affairs, including policy and external engagement for Oxy’s Rockies assets, and is a member of Oxy’s Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Advisory Board. Kim has over 20 years of policy, regulatory, and land development experience with a focus on energy and residential development issues. Kim is also an OXY advocate that works to maintain social license to operate by establishing and fostering relationships with local government officials and key stakeholders for the company’s Rockies assets.

Kim earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Nevada Las Vegas and received a Master of Business Administration from Regis University. She served on the Board of Directors for Girls Inc of Metro Denver for six years and continues to proudly serve on Girls Inc’s Advocacy Advisory Committee and the Jefferson County Planning Commission. She lives with her husband, ten year old son, and two furry friends in Jeffco.

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Michael Sapp

Representative of interests of people of color, appointed by House Minority Leader Hugh McKean

Michael Sapp is the Manager of State Government Affairs for Xcel Energy, Public Service Company of Colorado (PSCo). He works with public officials, state agency staff, industry representatives and other government affairs professionals to create positive public policy outcomes for Colorado’s environment, economy and customers served by Xcel Energy.

Michael is a former mayoral appointee with Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock.  He served as a legislative liaison in the Department of Safety. He was also responsible for coordinating various public involvement strategies undertaken by departments across the city to ensure alignment with the Mayor’s priorities and goals including the Platte to Park Hill Stormwater Systems program, Support Team Assisted Response (STAR) program and Coronavirus 19 public education and community response programs and services.

Michael’s greatest strengths are his compassion for people, work ethic, integrity and leadership. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Morehouse College, Atlanta GA. He currently serves on the board of directors for the Metro Water Recovery, Denver Park Trust and RISE 5280.  

Michael loves to travel, root for the Denver Broncos, and spend quality time with family and friends.

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Tyson Johnston

Representative of the nonrenewable energy industry, appointed by House Minority Leader Hugh McKean

Tyson Johnston is the Vice President of Gunnison Energy LLC, producing and developing natural gas resources on the West Slope of Colorado. Tyson has dedicated his work in the Oil & Natural Gas industry to the responsible development of our domestic resources. He believes that in the pursuit of a cleaner energy future, we must ensure energy remains affordable and accessible to all. Tyson has been an integral part of Colorado’s progression to a more environmentally sustainable Oil & Gas producing state as an expert witness and active participant in every major rule making the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission has promulgated since 2008. 

Tyson is also the Chairman of Senator James Coleman’s (Senate District 33) Energy, Environment & Natural Resources Cabinet. Tyson is not only passionate about Energy, but he is also a champion for the diversification of the industry professionals. He has worked with American Petroleum Institute (API) and urban leaders to promote the expansion of women and minority roles within energy. 

Tyson has 4 beautiful children with his wife Abby and enjoys spending his free time with them and their family dog Tilly. Whether coaching/spectating sporting events, fly fishing in the mountains or traveling to new places in the world, the “Johnston Clan” values their family time together enjoying Earth’s many adventures.

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Beatriz Soto

Representative of disproportionately impacted communities (Congressional District 3), appointed by Senate President Leroy Garcia

Beatriz is originally from Chihuahua, Mexico, through her childhood and youth she grew up in a bi-cultural setting between Mexico and the United States. She graduated from Basalt High School as an undocumented youth and went on to study architecture in Chihuahua City. Having the opportunity to work in both with the US and Mexico Green Building Councils, she has engaged in a diverse range of architectural and community projects, always with a focus on environmental and social justice.

In her 15 years of architectural experience, Beatriz worked on a variety of energy related projects, from Net-Zero affordable housing projects to high performance strawbale homes, sustainable developments in the pacific coast of Mexico, as well as providing professional trainings with the US and with the Mexican Green Building Council. Beatriz developed the first building science bilingual program for just transition and empowerment of construction workforce, which she ran for the Community Office of Resources Efficiency in Pitkin County.

Regularly being a part of two different worlds, she tries to bring people together and be a liaison for people in any community she’s a part of; from Chihuahua City, to the tiny beach town of San Pancho, to the Roaring Fork Valley.

She is former Director of Defiende Nuestra Tierra for Wilderness Workshop, co-founding member of  Voces Unidas de las Montañas, a local non-profit organization in the central mountain region, made up of Latinx leaders that help create opportunities for leaders to speak and advocate for themselves, as well as Vision Latina, a local collaborative of women working together to empower Latinos in the Roaring Fork and Colorado River Valleys. She currently is the Director of Protegete, a statewide program from Conservation Colorado, who has the mission to elevate Latino driven solutions to protect our lands, water, air and fight for environmental and climate justice.

Beatriz volunteers in local schools to encourage latinx youth to see themselves as leaders in Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, become stewards of the land and, to understand the importance of their voice in environmental and social issues. She is the proud mother of a 10 year old Colorado Native, together they enjoy camping, hiking, snowboarding, and eating tacos.

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Meera Fickling

Representative of an organization that carries out initiatives related to environmental justice, appointed by Senate President Leroy Garcia

Meera Fickling is a Senior Climate Policy Analyst at Western Resource Advocates (WRA), where she promotes policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, achieve state-level climate goals, and accelerate a transition toward renewables, energy efficiency, and lower carbon fuels. As part of this advocacy, she supports measures that benefit frontline communities, which have historically borne disproportionate harms from air and water pollution. 

Prior to WRA, Meera was an Industry Economist at the U.S. Energy Information Administration and a coordinator for USAID clean energy development projects that expanded energy access in the Caribbean, Central America, and Central Asia. She has research experience in carbon markets and climate change economics. Ms. Fickling earned a Master of Environmental Management degree from Duke University and a B.A. in Economics from the College of William and Mary.

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Gary Arnold

Representative of an organization that represents worker interests in disproportionately impacted communities, appointed by Senate President Leroy Garcia

Gary Arnold is the Business Manager of United Association (UA) Pipefitters Local 208.

As Business Manager since 2017, and a member of the Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee since 2008, Gary has worked to enhance recruitment, training, and retention of pipefitting apprentices. He formed the Women in the Trades Committee in addition to the Apprenticeship Student Council. He develops educational standards, curriculum, operations, and funding to improve apprenticeship training, journeymen continuing education, and specialized training programs. He has 7 years of experience as a Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee Instructor and 2 years as Head Training Director.

Gary Arnold’s career includes 13+ years of experience as an industrial/commercial pipefitter, supporting expansion projects for Amgen Biotechnology Company, FedEx, Miller-Coors, and Breckenridge Brewery.

He earned 6 awards during his apprenticeship, including the UA International contest for welding. 

Gary’s leadership of educational efforts in the trade has earned him several appointments by state and city leaders, including a 3-year appointment by the Governor of Colorado in 2019 to the Business Experiential Learning Commission, in which he guides development of youth apprenticeship programs for multiple industry sectors. Gary also currently serves on the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission and the Air Quality Enterprise Board.

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Jamie Valdez

Representative of the interests of people of color, appointed by Senate President Leroy Garcia

Jamie is a multicultural native of Pueblo Colorado and a parent and grandparent with multigenerational roots in southern Colorado. His educational background is in Electronics Engineering Technology and Psychology and he is currently employed as a Community Organizer for Mothers Out Front, a climate justice organization with the goal of a livable climate for all children. 

Jamie is a former President of the CSU-Pueblo chapter of El Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (MEChA), a national student organization with the goal of empowering the Latin-American community through higher learning, and a founding member of Occupy Pueblo, which was the local chapter of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Having come from these and similar racial and economic justice movements and recognizing the urgency of the climate crisis, environmental justice is a natural progression for Jamie. 

Along with his job with Mothers Out Front, he currently serves as Chair of the Sangre de Cristo Group of the Sierra Club and the Fountain Creek Water Sentinels and is a member of the Colorado Sierra Club Executive Committee. His activist background being primarily in equity and justice movements, he approaches all his work with an eye on equity, justice, and inclusivity.

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Dr. Uni Blake

Representative that works to support public health and is an environmental toxicologist, appointed by Senate Minority Leader Chris Holbert

Uni Blake is a Senior Policy Advisor at the American Petroleum Institute (API) with over 20 years of multidisciplinary professional experience in environmental health, focusing on exposure assessments, human health risk assessments, and chemical and toxicological regulatory compliance.  Ms. Blake received her undergraduate degree in Chemistry from the College of Wooster (Wooster, Ohio), her graduate degree in Toxicology from the American University (Washington, DC). She is currently working on a doctorate at George Washington University (Washington, DC) in Environmental and Occupational Health. Her research area focuses on environmental factors that influence population exposures.

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Arthur Ortegon

Representative of the interests of people of color, appointed by Senate Minority Leader Chris Holbert

Arthur is admitted to practice law in Colorado and brings expertise in municipal, state, and federal policy and regulatory issues. With a decade of public sector experience, he received professional political appointments in the Mayor’s Office for the City of Denver, Colorado General Assembly, Colorado Governor’s Office, and the White House. Arthur’s experience includes government relations, legal, regulatory, political, community investment, and external affairs operations within telecommunications, transportation, and mass media sectors. Early in his career, Arthur was a judicial law clerk for Justice Nathan “Ben” Coats of the Colorado Supreme Court and served as a Congressional Relations Assistant in the General Services Administration under President George W. Bush.

Arthur received his J.D. from Washington College of Law at American University and a B.A. in political science and psychology from the University of Pennsylvania.

Arthur is married to McKinsie Ortegon and they have two children — a daughter named Isla and a son named Briggs. In his personal time, Arthur enjoys skiing, tennis, reading, and traveling to new and exotic places to pursue his passion for the collection and study of butterflies.