Representative Lois Landgraf represents the 21st District of Colorado, but several years ago, she never would have pegged that as her chosen career path. She had previously worked at the University of Washington and was a key member in establishing the cardiovascular wing at the university. She also worked in the fields of transportation and engineering. Her first experience with politics began shortly after she moved to Colorado when her husband suggested she volunteer for President George W. Bush’s reelection campaign. Her dedication to the campaign quickly landed her a position as the volunteer coordinator for El Paso County. Soon after, she began her own political career in the Colorado House of Representatives.
“I was asked to run by Representative Bob Gardner and Representative Mark Waller,” she said, recalling her introduction to state politics, “I still don’t consider myself involved in politics—I love what I’m doing, but it has more to do with my ability to create positive change in my community.” Representative Landgraf states that a position in office isn’t about personal glory, it’s about your constituents, and the ability to do something helpful.
She takes her position very seriously, and she believes that the respect one receives in any career shouldn’t depend on gender, “I don’t want to be recognized as a woman legislator; I want to be recognized as a legislator. I want to earn respect by doing my job correctly.” And she has worked very hard to represent the best interests of her constituents. In 2013, Representative Landgraf pushed for the passage of SB 227, a bill that forces convicted rapists to forfeit their parental rights for any child conceived as a result of their crime. This bill has now been turned into Colorado law, and many states are following suit, crafting similar bills to protect rape victims and their children. “[Bills] like these help people. It was remarkable to meet the women who inspired this bill, and I was happy to help protect them and their families.” She also worked on a bill makes the distribution and sale of synthetic marijuana illegal in the state of Colorado. This bill was signed into law in April 2014.
As an avid member of Women In Government, Representative Landgraf had many positive comments to share about her time spent at WIG conferences. She remarked that her favorite aspect was the Breakfast Bill Share, “I love that it was bipartisan; it’s very valuable to get a political perspective from both sides. It’s also an excellent way to see how legislators from across the country are passing similar bills, but in different ways.” She has tried to emulate this bipartisan spirit as a fair representation of her community, stating, “Every constituent in my district is not from one single party, and I am not just representing the Republican constituents in my district. I have to represent and respect all my constituents.” From her many accomplishments to her balanced perspective, it is easy to say that Representative Landgraf is certainly a true representative of the people.
About the Author
Farnaz Alimehri joined Women In Government as a Graduate Policy Fellow in June 2015 after successfully completing the Future Women In Government Program at the Western Regional Conference in May 2015. She graduated Summa Cum Laude in May 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Politics and Minors in French and Spanish from Regis University in Denver, Colorado. In the past, Farnaz worked as a Legislative Intern at the Colorado State Capitol, and as the General Manager of KRCX, Regis University Radio. Farnaz is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Security Studies at Georgetown University's Walsh School of Foreign Service with the intent on graduating in May 2017.
About Future WIG
Women In Government supports women of all ages in leadership roles and is working hard to ensure that young women are given the resources and mentorship they need in order to achieve their goals. This program takes place at WIG Regional conferences, where WIG asks women state legislators and leaders in the private sector to encourage young women across the country to pursue leadership roles. This program is made possible by Southwest Airlines.