River Gassen, a UCCS alum, is running as a Democratic candidate to represent Colorado’s fifth congressional district in the House of Representatives.
The district’s current house representative is Doug Lamborn, who’s held the seat since 2007. According to History, Art & Archives, the fifth district in Colorado Springs has been held by the Republican party since its creation in 1972 and is one of the most Republican districts in Colorado.
In her time at UCCS, Gassen has received a bachelor’s degree in physics and energy science, lectured for classes on solar energy and astronomy labs and served on the executive committee for Young Dems.
Gassen believes that our current congress needs a younger member to bring in the perspective of newer generations.
“No disrespect to the greater generations; I love them. But we need younger representation if we’re going to be able to move forward and if we’re going to be a strong power that we are in the United States,” she said.
Having a younger perspective means having a better understanding of technology like AI and quantum computing. She thinks she can take her experience with technology to the House of Representatives and provide a better understanding of how to utilize it.
“We are going to run into a day where everyone’s going to have access to quantum computing and everyone’s going to have access to AI. I think it’s really important that the people have as much access to this technology as everyone else,” she said.
Gassen intends to use her position to be a voice for the financial struggles of young people.
“It just seems like we can’t afford houses. No one can afford to have a family. No one can afford to even make it through school in a lot of cases. These are issues that impact a lot of young people, impact my generation, impact me,” she said.
Gassen said that it is difficult for young people to have families due to their income in comparison to the cost of childcare.
“I don’t have kids. But I know that for a lot of women, having affordable childcare is honestly what stops a lot of young people from even being able to consider having kids. Because when childcare costs more than a lot of people’s yearly income, it makes it so that families can’t even consider the possibility,” she said.
Gassen also advocates for changes to the FAFSA guidelines for students. She wants to remove the assumption that students younger than 24-years-old have access to their parents or caregivers’ income information because many do not.
Climate change is another issue Gassen wants to address. In addition to investing in more renewable energy, she supports the idea of nationalizing the oil industry. Gassen thinks the privatization of the oil industry leads to lobbying from companies that perpetuate climate change so they can turn a profit.
“I don’t think that we should have just a handful of families in this country be able to profit off of our climate disaster,” she said.
According to Gassen, nationalizing the oil industry will also help lower gas prices. “So that way, people are in control of the gas prices, and we don’t, you know, raise gas prices,” she said.
Gassen emphasized the importance of young people, especially college students, getting involved in politics. She encourages students to look into being delegates for the caucus assembly in the spring and invites them to get involved with her campaign.
“My campaign is a grassroots campaign. I’d like to plug in the importance of donations,” Gassen said. “If you really believe in a candidate, it’s important to back them.”
Students can visit Gassen’s website to learn more about her campaign and how they can get involved.
Photo via rivergassenforcongress.com