The grandson of Italian Immigrants, Tom Tancredo was born in North Denver, Colorado. At sixteen he took his first job as a “sweeper” in an amusement park. He returned every summer for ten years and worked his way up to Assistant Park Manager. This job put him through the University of Northern Colorado.
Tom is a solid fiscal and social conservative, with a lifetime 99% voting rating from the American Conservative Union. In addition to immigration, Tancredo has remained vocal on a variety of issues surrounding education, energy and even the environment. He knows how government, at all levels, harms business and can make the changes needed to grow jobs in Colorado.
In 1976, while teaching civics at Drake Junior High, Tom was elected to the state legislature, and re-elected in 1978 and 1980. His first proposal was a bill limiting the number of bills any legislator could introduce. He was a leader in the conservative freshman class that won the abolition of the state’s sales tax on food and utilities, the abolition of the state’s inheritance tax, and the abolition of the auto safety inspection sticker tax.
In 1981, Tom resigned his seat in the legislature to accept an appointment in the Reagan administration. He served as the Secretary of Education’s Regional Representative and was re-appointed by President Bush. His tenure was marked by a running battle with the teacher’s unions and Congresswoman Pat Schroeder, a battle Tom won when he succeeded in downsizing the regional office from 220 employees to approximately 60, resulting in a 75% cut in the regional office budget.
Tom owned and operated a successful Jani-King janitorial business. He was often times a “hands on” owner. That is why he often says he doesn’t believe there are jobs no American will do.
In 1993, Tom accepted the presidency of the Independence Institute, a conservative, public policy research organization in Golden, Colorado. During his tenure, the Institute experienced dramatic growth in both revenues and visibility. The Institute’s weekly television program “Independent Thinking” is well regarded, and Tom was a regular panelist on the TV program Colorado Inside Out. Tom has been a leading spokesman for initiatives ranging from term limits to school choice and parent’s rights.
In 1998, Tom won the Republican Primary in a five way race for the 6th Congressional District of Colorado. During his ten years representing Colorado Tom became universally recognized by both sides of the issue as the most vocal opponent of illegal immigration in Washington.
In 1999, Tancredo founded the House Immigration Reform Caucus with a handful of Representatives; the bipartisan Caucus had over 100 members while Tom was in office. For many years, Tancredo was the only Republican to vocally oppose President Bush’s immigration policies.
In 2007, a bi-partisan coalition within Congress, lead by Tom were emboldened to successfully oppose President Bush on an effort to grant amnesty to an estimated 10 to 20 million so called “un-documented workers.”
Tancredo sought the 2008 Republican nomination for President of the United States with the intention of forcing the immigration issue into the debate. With the issue prominent in the debates, he chose to exit the campaign and returned to his beloved state of Colorado.
Tancredo has been active in conservative politics for over forty years since his days as a member of the College Republicans and Young Americans for Freedom at the University of Northern Colorado.
Tom has founded two not-for-profit (501c) education organizations the Rocky Mountain Foundation and the American Legacy Alliance. He speaks frequently on cable news, talk radio, and on college campuses. His first book, In Mortal Danger: The Battle for America’s Border and Security, was published in 2006.
In 2010, after a series of what could only be described as bizarre circumstances, in what should have been a banner year for Colorado Republicans, and after much consideration, Tom entered the Colorado Governor race using a most unconventional route. While he has always stood up to the GOP when his principles required it, his candidacy was a challenge to what had proven to be an unqualified and unethical man at the top of the ticket. This became very clear as the November election approached with endorsements from many in Colorado’s Republican leadership. While Tom did not prevail, he did create an alternative where none had existed before.
With the vast number of restrictive individual and business regulations signed into law by Colorado’s very liberal Democratic leadership, as well as the costly new programs being inflicted on the taxpayers, Tom has chosen to once again throw his hat in the ring. With the Democratic Colorado Governor granting a reprieve to the convicted murderer Nathan Dunlap, it became time to take action. Tom Tancredo entered the race to be the 2014 GOP candidate for Governor of Colorado.
Tom and his wife, Jackie, have been married for 37 years. They have two sons and six grandchildren.