For the past six years, Julie Gonzales has worked as the policy director at the Meyer Law Office, a Denver-based immigration and criminal law firm. On June 26, with 63 percent of the vote, Gonzales won a three-way Democratic primary contest for State Senate District 34. The historically blue district is currently held by Lucia Guzman, who is term-limited. Gonzales talked with Law Week about her primary victory, how her legal work has informed her approach to politics, and the most important issue for voters in District 34.
How does it feel now that you’ve had a little distance from the primary?
It’s been such a humbling experience, the whole thing, start to finish. This was not in my life plan to run for office. I just wanted to do good work and serve the community, and the work that I’ve been doing through the Meyer Law Office as a policy director has allowed me the opportunity to do that. I was perfectly content to continue doing that work.
And not get into politics?
Exactly. It was actually about this time last year folks started reaching out to me and saying, ‘Jules, you should run for office.’ And I was like, ‘No, I’m good; I’m getting married in May.’ And enough people started asking me multiple times that my fiancé was like, ‘Well, let’s just move the wedding.’ And so, at that point I was like, ‘OK, well, maybe I should actually think about this.’
It was a really amazing opportunity to talk to folks across the city who are excited about and freaked out by the transformation that our city and our state are currently undergoing. To be able to be the Democratic nominee and hopefully have the opportunity to serve for the next four years, it’s a huge opportunity, and it’s super humbling to know that folks are saying, ‘Yeah, you can do this. Here’s the work that needs to be done.’ I’ve been trying to meet with folks who are legislators, who are former legislators, or folks who are about to be termed out, and also starting to build some relationships with fellow candidates as well.