Senator John Kefalas serves the people of Senate District 14, which spans Fort Collins. John served first as a Representative from 2007-2012, and is now serving the first year of his second term as a State Senator. He is the ranking member of the Local Government Committee, serves as a new member of the Health and Human Services Committee, and a member of the Capital Development Committee. In addition, John serves on the Health Insurance Exchange Oversight Committee, Behavioral Health Transformation Council and the All Payer Claims Database Advisory Committee. From 2009 – 2014 John led the Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force, and served on the Flood Disaster Recovery Committee and the Early Childhood and School Readiness Legislative Commission in 2013 and 2014 respectively. He teaches public policy graduate courses at Colorado State University as an adjunct faculty member. For more information please visit www.johnkefalas.org/biography.
A dedicated citizen legislator, John strongly believes in creating opportunities for meaningful civic engagement and deliberative democracy. He has conducted about 180 town hall meetings, issues forums and community conversations since being first elected to public office.
John has championed bringing people together around common-ground and bipartisan solutions to help middle-class and lower-income working Coloradans – building an economy that serves the people with a focus on shared prosperity. He has won numerous awards for his legislative efforts, while passing laws to help create jobs; expand economic opportunities; address poverty; reduce taxes for working Coloradans and small businesses; protect consumers, seniors and children; advance the dignity of persons with disabilities; promote renewable energy and efficiency; advance quality child care and education; and lower costs while increasing value in our health care systems.
In the past three years, some of John’s more significant legislative achievements include the Colorado Working Families Economic Opportunity Act (2013) that restores the Colorado Earned Income Tax Credit in 2016 to put more money in the pockets of 350,000 working families. In 2014, he passed laws to help address problems arising from the 2013 Great Flood as a member of the Flood Disaster Recovery Study Committee. In 2014, he also passed laws in the following areas: advanced industries tax credit to help startup Colorado companies; a strategic plan to address the waiting list for services for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities; the childcare expenses tax credit; CORA fees; human trafficking, prescription drug abuse; the CO Childcare Assistance Program (CCCAP); the Aid to Needy and Disabled Program; the Property Tax Rent and Heat Rebate Program; the Low-Income Senior Dental Program; and Community Development Financial Institutions. In 2015, John passed laws in the areas of telehealth; treatment for children with Autism; child welfare, child support; the ABLE Act (that allows tax advantaged savings accounts for families and persons with disabilities); and greater transparency of special districts.
A Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, former school teacher, health outreach worker, job-training counselor, self-sufficiency advisor, community organizer and policy advocate, Sen. Kefalas was first elected to the Statehouse in 2006 and quickly proved himself a hard-working, honest and accessible representative. In 2008, he received a record number of votes in House District 52, becoming the first Democrat re-elected in the district in over half a century. Kefalas won his third term in office in 2010 when he received 57% of the vote. In 2012, Kefalas was elected by a wide margin of 58% to 36% with the remainder of the vote going to third-party candidates. He is now running for re-election in 2016 to his second four-year term in the Senate.
Sen. Kefalas chaired and served on the Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force for five years (HB09-1014), which focused on building a fair and sustainable economy through expanding economic opportunity and cutting poverty in half by 2019. In the past, Sen. Kefalas has served on numerous community boards and has been involved in local, national and international peace, justice and environmental work for over 40 years. A 1978 graduate of Colorado State University (CSU), John has a Masters of Art in Teaching from Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey. He worked with Catholic Charities as a public policy advocate and community development coordinator for seven years. Currently, John teaches advanced practice public policy analysis graduate courses as a part-time adjunct faculty member in the CSU School of Social Work.
Sen. Kefalas has been married for 34 years to Beth who recently retired from Redeemer Lutheran Church in Fort Collins as the Music and Worship Assistant after 18 years of service. They have two wonderful sons and three amazing, beautiful and brilliant grandchildren. Tim, his younger son, graduated from CSU in 2008 and lives and works in Fort Collins with his partner Shayna. Tim coaches the CSU Ultimate Team. Harlan is married to Tracey and their three children are Lillie, Barbara and John. Harlan has served in the US Army for 16 years. He has served in the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan and is currently a Sergeant First Class with an assignment at the White House.