HYUNJIN PARK / THE EAGLE
Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., said Republicans’ anti-gay bias was not only hurting the LGBT community, but also the party’s national political position, in a speech to AU students Dec. 1.
“Wearing my partisan hat, I think Republicans are very good at being selfish, and they seem to care about things the most when it affects them,” he said.
Polis, a staunch gay rights advocate, said he believes more gay representation is needed in Congress. However, Polis expects there are more gay people in the House of Representatives than the four openly gay representatives, which includes him.
“There’s a few closeted ones that you can Google who will sit on the other side of the aisle, if you feel like it,” Polis said.
Polis said he wished to see closer to 20 to 25 openly gay members of Congress in the future.
During the event, the congressman also discussed immigration reform. He said those wishing to live in the United States will benefit the country by bringing their talent here.
“The countries with the real immigration problem are actually countries like Mexico and other countries where the best and brightest want to leave,” he said.
Polis said it would be necessary to change the partisan makeup of both the House and Senate to pass the DREAM Act, an important part of what Polis sees as practical immigration reform. Giving undocumented aliens - who fit within the act’s requirements - a path to citizenship is key to fixing the immigration crisis, he said.
“You should either be here fully, legally or not at all, and currently the status quo encourages this huge illegal population,” he said.
When speaking on the economy, Polis said there would be no simple solution to fixing unemployment. The government should save during good periods and spend during bad ones, he said. He also blamed some of today’s economic woes on policymakers’ failure to have smart spending practices.
During his talk, Polis was not afraid to speak his mind about Republicans.
“We have a long way to go, and I think the Republicans are really showing their bankruptcy of ideas both in the super committee as well as with their presidential campaigns and the campaign trail,” he said.
Originally raised in San Diego (but born in Boulder, Colo.), Polis was the sixth richest member of Congress in 2011, according to Roll Call. Polis also co-founded online businesses such as American Information Systems, bluemountain.com and proflowers.com.
He spoke out against the Stop Online Piracy Act, a controversial piece of pending Internet legislation that could give the government more power to stop online trafficking of intellectual property.
Polis said he believes many commonly used sites will be shut down if the bill is passed. He pointed out that successful sites — such as YouTube and Facebook — wouldn’t have existed if the law had been implemented earlier.
“It’s a very, very bad bill,” he said. “And we hope that we can prevent it from becoming law.”