I’m particularly proud of our efforts to expand our award-winning climate action and sustainability programs to enable home and business owners to install energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements."
Growing up in a blue collar neighborhood in Kansas City, Missouri,
Suzanne and Elise Jones witnessed firsthand the plight of families
struggling to make ends meet and the need for a strong public school
system and safety net for those less fortunate. They credit their parents,
both teachers and advocates for social justice in their community, with
instilling in them the importance of giving back to the world, and for
inspiring their love of the Colorado wilderness.
The family spent every summer in the mountains of western
Colorado, where they hiked the state’s high peaks and swam
her whitewater rivers — and, at age five, the twins’ affinity for the
environment was born. The combination of their childhood experiences
in the inner city and the western wild catalyzed their desire to pursue
careers that couple environmental advocacy with public service.
Suzanne (MS, ‘90) served as mayor of the city of Boulder from 2015 -2019, and Elise, (MS,
‘93), is a Boulder County commissioner.
Their combined 50 years of environmental policymaking and
advocacy experience is a great fit for the values of Colorado voters.
While Colorado is a “purple state” politically and vacillates between red
and blue in various elections, what doesn’t change, and what the twins
say is engrained in virtually all Coloradans, is an abiding love for the
From its snow-capped peaks to red rock deserts, Colorado
is defined by its stunning natural scenery and an abundance of
opportunities to enjoy it. More than 65% of Coloradans regularly
recreate outdoors, fueling $13 billion in annual spending on outdoor
recreation and 125,000 direct jobs. This in turn helps foster a
commitment to natural resources stewardship that matches well with
the twins’ efforts to provide greater protections for the state’s world-class
“My primary motivation to run for local elected office was a
realization that, because of a lack of national leadership, it was up
to cities to craft and push for solutions to address climate change,”
said Suzanne. Her mayorship provided only a nominal per-meeting
stipend; for her day job, she continued to run Eco-Cycle, a community nonprofit that
promotes and implements recycling, composting, and other Zero Waste
Over the course of her career with The Wilderness Society, the
Boulder City Council, and as mayor, Suzanne helped craft,
adopt, or put on the ballot some of the most progressive local policies
and programs in the country, including: the nation’s first carbon tax
on energy usage, an aggressive climate action plan aimed at reducing
greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050, innovative multi-modal
transportation solutions, a universal Zero Waste ordinance requiring
recycling and composting by all residences, businesses, and institutions
in Boulder, and more — all while wrestling with important social
issues such as housing affordability, livable wage, homelessness, and
Elise, who served as executive director of Colorado Environmental
Coalition for 13 years, has played a key role passing the regional
FasTracks initiative to fund a multi-billion-dollar transit system in the
Denver metro region, adopting a renewable energy standard for the
state (and then increasing it twice), and updating oil and gas regulations
to provide better environmental and public health protections.
“As a county commissioner, I’m particularly proud of our efforts to
expand our award-winning climate action and sustainability programs
to enable home and business owners to install energy efficiency and
renewable energy improvements, and to increase the purchase of
electric vehicles,” Elise said. “I’ve also found it very gratifying to help
expand county services that help those in need recover from the recent
economic recession and break the cycle of poverty, and to spearhead
initiatives that help foster a culture of acceptance and inclusion for
everyone who lives in our community.”
The twins’ work often overlapped. While Suzanne’s role covered
initiatives and services within Boulder’s city limits and Elise’s is spread
over the broader county, the twins say both areas are politically
progressive and historically have worked closely together on a number
of these same initiatives. “Our close sister relationship just helps this
long-standing collaboration work even better,” said Suzanne.
In 2017, Elise and Suzanne Jones of Boulder were honored by the National Wildlife Federation for their contributions and achievements in the environmental field.