Fresh out of law school, Johnnie Nguyen is the youngest candidate in the CD1 regent race
Johnnie Nguyen, a 25-year-old recent CU Boulder law graduate and CU Denver alumnus, announced his campaign for Colorado’s first congressional district’s regent seat on Oct. 4.
Despite his age (Nguyen would be the youngest current regent by over two decades), he believes he has an intimate knowledge of the CU system based on his extensive experience here as a student and professional.
Nguyen told The Sentry, “I have studied for CU, taught for CU, worked for CU, researched for CU, helped in leadership roles for CU, organized for CU, lobbied for CU and even protested for CU.”
Nguyen understands his youth could be used against him in the campaign; however, he views his age as a strength and asset rather than a weakness. “I will likely be the only candidate who truly understands what the modern student experience is like, given that I am so fresh from graduating law school,” he said. “I will also be the only candidate who went through school during the COVID era, class on Zoom, no in-person graduation, being charged the same tuition and fees—even though the services weren’t the same—and having to prematurely say goodbye to friends.
According to their website, the University of Colorado Board of Regents “consists of nine members serving staggered six-year terms, one elected from each of Colorado’s seven congressional districts and two from the state at large.” The board oversees the entire CU system as an entity of the Colorado State Government. The Regents are currently tasked with hiring the new University of Colorado President, following Mark Kennedy’s forced departure on July 1.
The higher education system in Colorado boasts some of the best universities in the country; however, according to Ngyuen, the access to education and financial burdens on lower-income families need improvement. Nguyen has identified these as chief issues for his platform. He hopes to fight for more state and federal higher education funding, in addition to advancing racial justice and diversity and inclusion efforts. Nguyen plans to also create a mutually beneficial partnership between the CU Board of Regents and the Colorado State Board of Education.
Nguyen says he is no stranger to hard work and taking on many tasks, and that this is illustrated by his other platform goals. These goals include addressing student homelessness, sexual assault on campus, mental health resources, and furthering the role CU Athletics play on campus.
Though the Democrat Nguyen hopes to work in a collaborative, bipartisan effort when on the Board of Regents, the only other attorney currently on the board is a Republican, and he feels that both parties should have legal representation—a role that he says he can fill well. The CU system has grappled with legal issues in the past, such as during a 2009 legal battle over a CU Boulder professor’s First Amendment rights. The board has previously utilized regents with legal backgrounds to navigate and address those issues. Nguyen acknowledges that legal expertise is not a prerequisite to serve in office, but he believes it is an incredibly useful asset.
For more information about Johnnie Nguyen and his campaign, visit http://Johnnieforcu.com.