Colorado resident Jared Polis is likely to become the first-ever openly gay man elected to the U.S. Congress as a non-incumbent. The 33-year-old entrepreneur, philanthropist and politician won the Democratic primary on August 12 to represent Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. As the Democratic nominee in an overwhelmingly Democratic district, Polis is nearly certain to win the general election in November. Polis came out publicly while serving in a statewide elected position on the Colorado State Board of Education.
According to the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, Polis would become the sixth openly gay person to serve in the House of Representatives. Representative Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), a Democrat elected from Wisconsin in 1998, was the first openly gay person to be elected to the U.S. House as a non-incumbent. Representative Barney Frank (D-MA), now chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, announced he was gay in 1987 after serving several terms. The late Democrat Gerry Studds of Massachusetts came out publicly while serving in the House, as did former Congressman Steve Gunderson, a Republican from Wisconsin, and former Congressman Jim Kolbe, a Republican from Arizona.