DENVER -- Democratic Congressman Jared Polis has selected former State Representative Dianne Primavera as his running mate in the 2018 gubernatorial election.

Primavera became CEO of Susan G. Komen Colorado in 2017, and resigned effective Monday in hopes of becoming lieutenant governor.

"There's a fine line between what you can do in a 501(c)3 and what you can do politically," she said in an interview with Next. "You know, I love the mission of Susan G. Komen Colorado, I love the mission of Susan G. Komen internationally, and the last thing I would want to do is create any issues for either the affiliate or for the campaign."

Polis told Next he anticipates Primavera will take an active role in reforming healthcare in Colorado. Gov. John Hickenlooper, D-Colorado, converted the lieutenant governor role into the state's CEO, when he selected Donna Lynne. Primavera, a breast cancer survivor herself, says she is still working out the details of what "lieutenant governor" would mean under Polis, if he is elected.

"I've said yes to a lot of things I didn't know what it was going to look like. I had no idea what it was going to be like as a single mom, battling cancer, with two small children, and unemployed, and not know if I was ever going to be hired again or to get health insurance again, or that kind of thing," she said. "It's actually exciting to step into new arenas where you can mold them and shape them with your background into something that's going to make a difference."

Dianne Primavera
Dianne Primavera

Polis and Primavera are neighbors in a way, coming from Boulder and Broomfield, respectively. Often running mates are chosen because they fill a void, politically, culturally or geographically.

"Our first appearance together, we're going to be in Durango and Grand Junction and Delta (Tuesday). We're doing a health care listening tour in western Colorado. I represent parts of Western Colorado already: Eagle County, Grand County, but what's really important is to understand the diversity of needs in this state," said Polis. "And the issues facing families in La Plata County or Mesa County are in some ways different than Denver, and Jefferson County, and Boulder County. But also in some ways the same, on that human level, that people just want what's best for their loves and themselves."

Polis will campaign for governor as he simultaneously finishes his term in Congress. He said he will focus on getting to Washington, D.C. for "important" votes, like the one last week on H.R.6136, the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2018.

"Some weeks we're naming post offices, we're twiddling our thumbs, as Congress loves to do. Other weeks, like in fact, right after the primary night Tuesday, I left my house at 4 in the morning on Wednesday to get back - 4 a.m. that is, for a very important immigration vote, that would have separated even more families, I voted against it. We were able to defeat it," he said. "So I want to do my job for the remaining six months, and certainly also, bulid the case as to how we have a forward looking vision for our entire state."

The bill that Polis flew to D.C. to vote against covered several immigration policies. It failed 301-121. In the context of children being brought here illegally and then being separated from their parents at the border, that bill spelled out how those children would instead be detained with their parents or released to their parent or legal guardian. A Polis staffer said there were sections of the bill that would have separated families through other changes unrelated to border separation.

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Primavera was part of the Colorado legislature from 2007 to 2011, and again from 2013 to 2017.

Lynne, who was eliminated from the governor's race in last week's primary, said she had no plans to run for the office when Hickenlooper nominated her. Primavera says, definitively, that she is uninterested.

"I will never run for Governor," she said.

"You're asking that early," said Polis. "It's eight years out if I maintain my health, which I sure hope I will. If, God forbid, something happened to me and Dianne became Governor, I hope she would run for a second term because I think she'd make an amazing Governor."

Polis' opponent, Republican Walker Stapleton, has not announced his pick for lieutenant governor. According to Colorado law, he has to select a running mate by a week after the primary, which would be Tuesday.

Stapleton's campaign tells Next they offered someone the position Monday. That person has until 30 days after the primary, which is July 26, to accept the nomination. That gives Stapleton between now and July 26 to reveal his running mate.