Hello! I'm Jared Polis, Congressman from Colorado. Before that entrepreneur and founder of New America School.org and education reform activist. I do a lot of work on immigration reform, education, and tax issues in Congress, but recently I have been one of the leading voices on the House Judiciary Committee against SOPA. While we have more momentum than we did last month, a harmful internet privacy bill is still very much a possibility. Ask me anything.

I also= gay, Jewish, gamer, nerd, baseball fan, retired florist, alfalfa farmer, numismatist, tarot reader, new father, beekeeper

Ask me anything!

Jared Polis @jaredpolis

Update, I am answering questions now!

UPDATE 2: I am going away for an hour or two but will answer more questions when I get back!

Update 3: back on and answering questions

Update 4: Giving baby a bath, will be back in an hour or so and answer the questions that have been voted up

Update 5 answering a few more posts now

update 6: interacting and posting another hour or so

Update 7: that's about it, I may catch a few more before bed but we're basically done. THANK YOU REDDIT and INTERNETS!

Comments: 2005 • Responses: 45  • Date: 

jaredpolis906 karma

hello_moto52 karma

Oh, that's you!

All you had to do was say you submitted "The Internet is for Porn" into the congressional record and we all would have known immediately who you were.

On a related note, you may want to rethink your name plate placement and size, with respect to the online audience watching the live feeds. I always had a feeling you weren't Mr. Sanchez(?). It's blurry, but that's my best guess.

I watched parts of your meetings live, and I was always very impressed with you and Ms. Lofgren. You guys get it. Thank you!

jaredpolis22 karma

Yeah Linda Sanchez and I don't look much alike. She's cool tho, only woman on the Congressional baseball team!

lets_discuss_ur_butt472 karma

Any straight sex scandals you want to get off your chest?

gruber76424 karma

I once went to a fundraiser he threw and neither he nor his husband hit on me. This needs national attention

jaredpolis497 karma

Enquirer, he we come

andrewhyde432 karma

I just want to say how proud I am that you are my Congressman!

jaredpolis554 karma

oh hey Andrew :-)

goatradish17 karma

I'm always jealous when people have cool congressmen. Mine is Louie Gohmert. shame

jaredpolis71 karma

Please get a new one

shirokuro73307 karma

Representative Polis, firstly thank you for your hard work on behalf of those of us determined to keep the Internet the vibrant, free, open medium that it is. The efforts of yourself and colleagues (Reps Issa, Lofgren, Sen Wyden to name but a few) are much appreciated, and speaking for myself, help to restore some faith in the Democratic process, and reaffirm a belief that there are many honest, decent members in Congress, such as yourself, who actually do care about representing the needs of the constituents you were elected to serve. All that said, given the events of the last few days - removal of the DNS provisions from SOPA and PIPA, and the Obama administration's statement supporting the protection from censorship of the Internet - what do you feel is the current state of this battle, and what should we, as users of the Internet, continue to do, besides calling our Congresspeople, to keep up the pressure on Congress and the media interests behind these bills? Also, do you support alternative legislation, such as the OPEN proposal, which would attempt to address some of the IP holders' concerns, whilst preserving the open nature and structure of the Internet?

jaredpolis325 karma

Yes. Piracy is a real issue. Yet another problem with SOPA/PIPA is that it wouldn't actually do much to stop piracy.

OPEN Act uses trade sanctions as a way to get at countries that don't enforce copyright. Intellectual property issues need to be handled multi-laterally, no single country should have firewalled internet.

james_blunt52 karma

"Piracy is a real issue" - are we talking copyright infringement or US Imperialism across the planet? Why do you think the US has any right to dictate to other countries how long copyright should be?
Why do you think its acceptable that copyright law is defined by Disney, a company that has made a fortune from public domain European children's stories?

jaredpolis75 karma

obviously I don't think copyright law should be defined by Disney. Disney has to follow copyright law like everyone else.

IF a story is public domain, anyone can use it and profit from it.

Kreture276 karma

Is there anyone you look up to in Washington?

jaredpolis1424 karma

Congressman Joe Crowley (D-NY). I think he's the tallest Congressman. like at least 6' 5"

NOACeulemans251 karma

How do you feel about SOPA being claimed to be a smokescreen for PIPA? As in, everyone sees SOPA, goes crazy about it, SOPA is stopped, and then PIPA passes when everyone sees it's not as extreme as SOPA?

jaredpolis124 karma

I hope that most people are calling their SENATORS and telling them they oppose PIPA and calling their CONGRESSMEMBERS and telling them they oppose SOPA. It's confusing to some that it has a different name in each body, but they are both bad.

This isn't a smokescreen, bills have to pass both houses to become law.

thew00218 karma

What is your stand on the current National Defense Authorization Act?

jaredpolis698 karma

I voted against it because it does not provide adequate safeguards against the detention of American citizens

oddSpace68 karma

UK citizen here, apologies if I don't know what I'm on about. From what I've heard from friends in Colorado, you're a superb Congressman, so thanks on their behalf :D

Section 1021's subsection e says:

(e) AUTHORITIES .—Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.

Doesn't that safeguard US citizens sufficiently?

jaredpolis92 karma

The bill: http://www.lawfareblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/NDAA-Conference-Report-Detainee-Section.pdf

(1) Detention under the law of war without trial until the end of the hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force.

here is a story about ACLU's opposition http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/01/02/aclu-others-slam-obama-for-signing-defense-bill-that-includes-detainee/

The argument you are making is one of the arguments made by the proponents, but I the law specifically changes the law and authority that section 1021 e applies to.

DeaconPDX142 karma

What is the most effective way that we can help to stop SOPA?

jaredpolis268 karma

From another post above, in order of impact from most to least:

1) Show up at a town hall or talk to them in person, check their schedule w their office

2) phone call, ask for the Legislative Associate in charge of the issue

3) Snail mail

4) email

5) post on their facebook wall or tweet them

6) sign petition

kami71124 karma

  1. What games do you enjoy playing most ?
  2. Do you honestly believe there is a chance to at least stop SOPA in its current form?

And finally, thanks for just being awesome!!!

jaredpolis294 karma

1.League of Legends. Mostly play RTS. also like adventure neverwinter Nights, etc

  1. YES, I'd say 50/50 at this point, and a very high chance that at the very least we improve SOPA and make it less bad

[deleted]53 karma

What is your LoL ID? Who's your favorite champion?

jaredpolis173 karma

I main Maokai and Anivia, Also play Shaco and Wukong depending on the needs of the team

three18ti33 karma

I'd like to know this,


1a. What platforms to you enjoy the most

2a. If we stop SOPA today, what is to prevent Rep. Smit from re-writing the bill, calling it something different and resubmitting it?

Thank you for all of you hard work. I live in the Dever/Parker area so I couldn't vote for you, but I appreciate what you are doing.

jaredpolis109 karma

1a. I'm a PC gamer, have a custom Alienware setup.

2a. I think something against piracy has a decent chance of passing, we just need to make sure it's not bad for the internet as a whole

Tell your friends in the new area of my district, Ft. Collins and Loveland, how great I am ;-)

laikaislost8 karma

cough /r/fortCollins if you show up there, and go to one of our meetups (I will buy you a beer, your choice, I promise) you got my vote!

jaredpolis18 karma

of course I'll come to one, but I have to buy my own beer, ethics rules and all.

I think with Boulder and Ft. Collins I will represent the most microbreweries in the country :-)

[deleted]99 karma

So how likely is it that SOPA gets shot down?

jaredpolis156 karma


hobbsface200065 karma

Those are the best odds I've heard so far; I feel like that means we've gained ground.

jaredpolis186 karma

opponents to SOPA/PIPA have gained a lot of ground in the last 60 days. It was like 90/10 that it would pass, but the pushback from the tech community has really helped

cafezinho92 karma

Since many Congressfolk are technologically illiterate, who is pressuring them to be pro-SOPA? And how often does this happen where Congressfolk are pressured to vote a certain way even when they have no idea what is going on.

jaredpolis144 karma

many lobbyists are pressuring them to do something more to fight piracy, and many large groups like the Chamber of Commerce have endorsed SOPA

NoCowLevel88 karma

I would like to get your opinion on drug policy and what you think we should do for all currently-illicit recreational drugs, especially hard(er) drugs like heroin, meth, and crack.

  • I am optimistic that cannabis will be legalized soon, maybe even starting in Colorado 2012. While cannabis makes up a large number of prison, the people whom current drug policy especially hurts are addicts of harder drugs, like heroin, meth, crack, and alcohol. What do you think should happen to alleviate these problems?

  • Keeping in mind that current drug policy fails to achieve any of its enacted goals, should we switch to a harm-reduction drug policy that focuses on education and rehabilitation instead of incarceration? If you do support incarceration and/or continued prohibition, are you also in favor of government control/criminalization of excessive food intake to combat the public health issue of obesity?

jaredpolis274 karma

I support regulating and taxing marijuana

This would allow the criminal efforts to focus on those producing and supplying the harder drugs.

For users, treatment should be available. Harm reduction sounds good but there is certainly a law enforcement aspect to reducing useage of dangerous narcotics.

bimmerman86 karma

Boulder represent! I voted for you (and I'm an independent/libertarian), and am glad you are opposed to SOPA. Keep doing what you are doing!

jaredpolis102 karma

hey thanks, I really appreciate your vote. I obviously don't appeal as much to the stodgy contingent on the conservative end so I try to earn the swing votes of those in the libertarian/ind middle.

Thank you!

Kreture85 karma

You seem like a cool dude.

Since you spend a lot of time working with your fellow Congress members, if I were to write my representatives what is the best way I can appeal to them?

jaredpolis174 karma

Ways to reach your congressperson in order or impact from most impact to least:

1) Show up at a town hall or talk to them in person, check their schedule w their office 2) phone call, ask for the Legislative Associate in charge of the issue 3) Snail mail 4) email 5) post on their facebook wall or tweet them 6) sign petition

leafeator82 karma

How long have you been a redditor?

Also, Thanks =]

jaredpolis234 karma

only like a week or two, lovin' it

wordsworthington77 karma


jaredpolis95 karma

I don't know! I'll ask some of them.

[deleted]74 karma

Do you have any recommendations as to how non-Americans can help stop SOPA and PIPA?

jaredpolis137 karma

oppose these kinds of things in your countries for sure. Part of the danger of SOPA/PIPA is that other countries will follow suit and do similar legislation

Starheaven0767 karma

How do you get away with being so cool and yet somehow so smart?

jaredpolis262 karma

It's all an act.

Zarplex60 karma

Would you mind terribly staying in national office until you retire? Much obliged.

jaredpolis108 karma

That's a long sentence seeing as I'm only 36. If I do 20 years I'll still only be 56 and not ready to retire. So I probably will do something else besides serve in office my whole life, sorry.

Taehoonger56 karma

My friend does not like League of Legends, but she has said that she will play the game if she plays with a congressman. Will you play with us, please? :)

jaredpolis516 karma

only if u are constituents of mine ;-p

Also, not sure I want to play with noobs like your friend...

WellHeresMyFourthAcc53 karma

Hey! It's Mr. Sanchez!

I'm not exactly old enough to impact politics yet (and accordingly I'm trying to learn as much as I can before I form strong opinions), but, well I watched the SOPA Hearing in front of the Judiciary Committee and you were one of the three people there I recognized as sane. I'm glad that people like you fight the good fight.

Anyhow, on to questions:

  1. According to Wikipedia, you are "one of the 10 richest members of the United States Congress estimated to be worth at least $65.91 million." What's your opinion on wealth redistribution/"class warfare"?

  2. You've also done a lot for education and technology, having founded two charter schools for at-risk kids. What, from your perspective, would fix the American education system to the extent that we can compete with countries like Korea? What inherent problems do we have?

  3. You were the first openly gay man (and only gay parent) to be elected in Congress as a freshman. How much harder has it been to get elected due to your sexual orientation? Do you think the situation is getting better or worse at the present?

jaredpolis100 karma

yeah it's funny that a lot of ppl mistook me for Linda Sanchez (D-CA) because her name tag looked like it was mine from the camera angle.

  1. It think that net worth has little to do with character or integrity and people should be judged on what they do, not on their race or sexual orientation or net worth. Obviously there is much more discrimination against poor people than rich people.

  2. Too long to answer here. In summary we need to get accountability right, change what doesn't work in public education, and replicate and expand what works.

  3. I haven't found it to be harder to get elected, most of my constituents don't care about my sexual orientation. I expect even less people to care over time.

WellHeresMyFourthAcc22 karma

I haven't found it to be harder to get elected, most of my constituents don't care about my sexual orientation. I expect even less people to care over time.

Do you think this would be different if you were running as a Republican?

jaredpolis101 karma

some Republican primary voters would have an issue with it, but I don't think it would be the defining issue. For instance, they seem to forgive Newt Gingrich his three divorces.

LesWes48 karma

Hello Congressman Polis,

What do you think about, and would you be willing to introduce/sponsor the following bills?

Read the Bills Act: Requires representatives to sign an affidavit that they have read, or heard read to them, any law they vote to impose on the public.

One Subject at a Time Act: Requires proposed laws to stand on their own with out being attached to other unrelated issued, under a clearly titled heading.

Write the Laws Act: Requires legislators to write ALL laws, not lobbyists, not regulators, not industry experts. Elected representatives would be responsible for any rule that can land you in jail.


jaredpolis54 karma

I actually introdued the "single subject" bill last session as the main sponsor and this session as an original co-sponsor.

For the other two, the recourse should be that voters toss out congresspeople that aren't sufficiently aware of what they are voting on or who bring in others to write their bills.

ocotillo9948 karma

You mentioned that you're a beekeeper. Are bee populations still declining? If so, how big of a problem is that and what can people do to help?

jaredpolis68 karma

Yeah, no one knows exactly why, you can google it and get lots of theories. I lose about half my colonies over winter and if I was a better beekeeper I would probably lose less. I have 8 hives.

DeltaStasis42 karma

Hi Jared, I attend CU and I just want to say that, by and large, you seem like a pretty good guy for a politician.

jaredpolis47 karma

thanks, I hope you're registered to vote in Boulder :-)

If u see me around campus come say hi! We have some interns from CU

WalterBurns39 karma

Is this the year same-sex Civil Unions are legalized in Colorado?

jaredpolis100 karma

there is a very good chance this could happen. Our Governor, John Hickenlooper, specifically called for the passage of Civil Unions in his State of the State address. If not this year then if the Democrats take control of State Assembly (very high chance) it will happen next year.

rospaya38 karma

Here's a tough one. What do you think about the current US policy towards Israel?

Also, it says on your Wikipedia entry that you are one of the wealthiest member of Congress. What do you think about Occupy Wall Street movement?

jaredpolis60 karma

I support President Obama's policy of encouraging both sides to engage in direct peace talks towards achieving a two-state solution.

I support the right of any group to demonstrate, but of course local zoning laws also have to be taken into account. It's a matter for mayors and city councils to deal with. I have attended a meeting of the Boulder group to listen to them.

JohnBuford30 karma

Rep. Polis:

Just wanted to comment: When I was interning on the Hill (Rep. Lee, CA) I visited your office at one point and you made a point of saying hi. I was very impressed. Also your office always seemed to be having the most fun of the many that I visited...

jaredpolis44 karma

we try to have fun and b productive! Interning on the hill is a great experience and I highly recommend it. I interned on the hill for then-Senator Tom Daschle (SD) when I was 17.

flippityfloppityfloo29 karma

Congressman Polis:

  1. What are some of your dislikes of being a Representative?

  2. Do you think it is possible to amend SOPA or are you entirely against any proposal of such an act?

Thanks again for taking the time to do this for our community!

jaredpolis66 karma

  1. I really like this job, it's really exciting every day to deal with a whole variety of issues important to the world. The toughest part is the weekly commute, having to fly to DC and back every week.

  2. I have offered a bunch of amendments, as have Lofgren and Issa others, and yes, we can make it better, but it would take MAJOR changes to garner my support but even if it passes w/o my support we can make it less bad.

YouDidSayAnything24 karma

If we assume that the Anti-Stratfordians are correct, who do you think is the most likely author of the works commonly attributed to William Shakespeare?

jaredpolis49 karma

Don King.

mintybreath23 karma

None of these are really politics related... but anyway..

1) When did you start playing games? Console/PC/Handheld?

2) You mention you are a nerd.. Care to elaborate? What sort of topics would you consider yourself nerdy with?

Also I see you are a new father.. Congratulations! :)

jaredpolis68 karma

1) As long as I can remember. My first gaming system was Intellevision (yes I'm that old) and you can find Intelevision emulation games now on the internet, which is fun for me because it reminds me of when I was little although they are very basic 8-bit games. I grew up with PC games mostly My computer progression was: Apple []+ Apple []C Apple []GS Commodore 64 then PC's from then on out, 386, 486, etc.

2) I can do basic sysadmin stuff, and am pretty handy making interwebs

Paperclip22222 karma

Who was your favorite intern? Was it Anu? But okay for a real question: If you had to choose one republican candidate for president, who would you be okay with?

jaredpolis110 karma

is this Anu? lol Hi former intern :-)

The Republican field is not great. I particularly think that Rick Perry and Rick S#@!ntorum would be terrible for the country.

Nick32132118 karma

As a 15 year old from Cali, who may or may not be downloading content illegally, do my actions really affect the big corporations?

I see it as: If I do not have plans to ever go buy the movie/see it in theaters, then whats so bad about just clicking download?

I come from a poor family so i don't get an allowance nor would my parents ever pay for me to see me go out see a film. I am some-what an entrepreneur on the internet, I make a decent amount for someone my age (my average weekly profit is around $600-$700, and almost all of that money goes to pay my families bills. I am not happy with my living standards and i'd like to save my money to pay for collage. I cannot afford to go to the movies. I don't understand why it is such a crime to download a $10 movie. If I had the money, I defiantly would pay to see it. Why do the companies have to get their nickers in a twist? I can't see how they would be "losing" a great deal of money if the people that are pirating wouldn't even be out there to pay for the movies? I also can't imagine that it would be such a great los anyways. Most movies i see that are pirated only have maybe 1,000-5,000 downloads.

jaredpolis34 karma

if you're thinking hard about this stuff you're a good kid in my book

verycoolguy18 karma

Instead of asking questions you have already answered other places, here are two general questions about your political philosophy.

  • Should adults have the right to do stupid things with their own bodies?

  • Should adults have the right to do stupid things with their own money?

If you could also explain how your voting record matches your answers to these questions, that would be great!

jaredpolis30 karma

Generally speaking, yes, people have the right to be stupid. The pursuit of happiness is highly individualized and one person's stupidity is another's wisdom.

That doesn't mean that peope who decieve and scam money shouldn't be punished, they should of course.

[deleted]16 karma


jaredpolis23 karma

oh hi! So Corey is currently your rep, but this November my name will be on your ballot and if I win then I will be your rep starting January of next year. I'll be at the Sept 1 Buffs/Rams game of course, cheering for, um, both of them!

yes, sites with third party content should worry about SOPA/PIPA. Under DMCA you need to take down infringing content, which is a good law, but under some versions of these new proposals your ad networks and payment processors might abandon you and the site could even be taken down.

Let me know if you want to interview me on your Rams site! What's your take on where the stadium should be?

Not_I_Said_The_Fly7 karma

What's the general consensus among your colleagues? What are their opinions on why it should/should not be passed?

I read and hear a bunch of stuff, but I wonder what people say around the water cooler. Is it really just not keeping up with the times, or is it more of corporate pressure?

Also, what was the reaction to the GoDaddy boycott among Congresspeople?

jaredpolis29 karma

Most members of Congress are not really aware of the SOPA fight, unless they got a bunch of calls which hopefully they did.

It was pretty much limited to members of the Judiciary Committee, and until or unless it gets reported out of commitee it will stay that way. I bet most members of Congress are not yet fully aware of SOPA/PIPA because they have other issues they are focusing on. They might be aware there is a piracy/IP debate but they are generally content in not having to deal with it yet as it is still in committee.

Your calls help focus their attention.


[deleted]5 karma

Oh word, I was really big about the SNDA back when I was into progressivism. I made a Facebook page promoting it and while we got 500 members or so, it never really seemed to pick up speed.

But anyway, my question: why the congresspeople supporting this bill actually support it? A sort of silly sounding question, I know, but from how it has been portrayed on Reddit, a lot of people on the committee promoting it don't seem to know a whole lot about the internet or just wanted to get the bill passed so they could stop arguing over it. It didn't seem like anyone other than you was really taking it very seriously. Are there people who seem to be up in arms about defending SOPA? How likely do you think it is that this is really a scheme by your less-than-likable cohorts to enforce crony capitalism?

Also, what are your feelings on Rick Santorum and Rick Perry?

jaredpolis30 karma

We have more sponsors this year for SNDA (Student Non-Discrimination Act) than we did last year! Laws take years to pass, but I do think this one can get done and we add sponsors one by one. I think we have about 140 co-sponsors!

Most members of Congress aren't experts on everything, and some have even admitted during our markup that they didn't understand the internet much. That's ok, there's a lot of stuff I don't understand in other matters to but hopefully I have good experts on my staff.

I don't care for Rick S@#!Ntorum or Rick Perry very much, especially the way they are running to the right on social issues.