Colorado Gov. Jared Polis on Jussie Smollett and anti-Semitism

By Laura Kelly

Colorado’s first openly-gay and Jewish governor, Jared Polis, was in Washington D.C. on Friday for the National Governors Association Winter Meeting and offered comments on the importance of justice for hate crime victims, despite the recent finding that African-American, gay, Jewish actor Jussie Smollett may have staged his own attack.

“Well, his actions reflect more on his own poor choices and what he did. I don’t think they reflect on anybody else,” he responded to a question from Jewish Insider. “It’s sort of — everybody’s trying to figure out what or why or what he did there.”

He added that victims of hate crimes shouldn’t be discouraged from coming forward.

“People should come forward and be willing to speak about hate crimes… I do agree with the concept of hate crimes… where we have prosecution for crimes that are specifically directed at members of minority groups that we have an appropriate law enforcement response.”

He also brought up a recent event he attended in Denver, hosted by the Anti-Defamation League and expressed optimism that, despite a rise in anti-Semitic attacks and rhetoric, a number of Jewish politicians are rising through the ranks. “[It’s] really exciting to highlight in a time of rising anti-Semitism how people of the Jewish faith have gotten elected in a number of different districts across the country, including areas and states that we’re only a small percentage of the Jewish population,” Gov. Polis said. [pic]

Jewish representation in the House and Senate increased following the November midterm elections, and Jewish Democrats were also credited with flipping districts from red to blue, JTA reported at the time. There are 28 Jewish members of Congress, up from 23, and 8 senators, up from 7.

Further, Illinois elected Democrat J.B. Pritzker as its Governor last November.

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