Students Endorse Education Leader, Mike Johnston, for CO Governor - SFER Action Network
April 13, 2018


Blake Jelley |


Students Endorse Education Leader, Mike Johnston, for CO Governor


Denver, CO—After an extensive deliberation by its student leadership, Students for Education Reform Action Network (SFER Action Network) CO announced this week their support for former state Senator Mike Johnston in the Democratic primary. Students came to this decision after sending out a comprehensive candidate endorsement questionnaire to every Democratic candidate running for Colorado governor. SFER Action Network CO will now unleash their expansive field program in support of Johnston for Governor.


Upon receiving news of the endorsement, Johnston shared, “I am honored to be seen as a leader in education equity, especially by students making a powerful stand on this issue. At a moment when young people’s voices are louder and clearer than ever, I look forward to partnering with the SFER Action Network to ensure every child in Colorado receives a world-class education.”


The endorsement meeting was a gathering of students from the Denver-area who represent SFER Action Network CO’s 2,500+ supporters, who are predominately Black, Latino, low-income, and first-generation college students. During the meeting they reviewed endorsement questionnaires that asked candidates how they would protect/serve vulnerable and underserved students. For example:


  • Will you commit to fighting for the rights of undocumented students, and protect them from ICE investigations or raids?

  • How do you plan to create more high-quality schools that students of color and low-income students have access to?

  • What policies will you pursue to protect the rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) students and guarantee that they feel safe in school?


During their endorsement deliberations, students were impressed with Johnston’s proven track record of success and were inspired by his campaign’s vision for the future: two years of debt-free community college or skills training, using 100% renewable energy resources by 2040, criminal justice reform, and providing every student with a high-quality K-12 education.


“We chose Johnston because he has the most widespread and fleshed out policy positions that we believe will move our State in a progressive direction,” said Marcos Descalzi, SFER Action Network student leader who voted to endorse Johnston. “Johnston not only has the right policy positions, but he has the progressive record to prove his heart’s in the right place." “From leading the charge to pass gun safety laws, the DREAM Act, and LGBTQ non-discrimination protections in the state Senate to his time as one of President Obama’s senior education advisers, we know Johnston has the experience and track record to fight for our values.”


With the protection of undocumented students, gun and school discipline reforms at stake, students know this election will have a profound impact on Colorado’s public schools. Johnston’s platform seeks to protect undocumented students, pass meaningful gun safety laws, and end the school to prison pipeline.


“As a student and a Coloradan I am choosing to support Mike Johnston for his thorough understanding of the intersectional issues that our State faces today,” said Claire Parker, SFER Action Network student leader who voted to endorse Johnston. “As a Coloradan who is passionate about education and is fighting for equitable education in Colorado, I admire Johnston for making a commitment to provide opportunities in education for all Coloradans regardless of their zip code, immigration status, or income. Every child deserves the opportunity that a quality education provides and Johnston has proven over and over again his commitment to working towards that.”


SFER Action Network has built and validated a powerful student-led grassroots field program to mobilize voters to turnout at elections. In 2017, an independent analysis showed that voters SFER Action Network contacted were 15-20% more likely to vote, far outperforming the typical door knocking efforts. 



Students for Education Reform Action Network (SFER Action Network) CO supports, trains, and coaches a community of student leaders, including first-generation college students, who demonstrate demand for policy change, hold elected leaders accountable at the polls, influence the platforms of candidates running for office, and build power in communities that have historical­ly been left behind.