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Biography

Jovan Emerson Melton is the State Representative from House District 41 and the House Majority Deputy Whip to the Colorado General Assembly. He serves as the Vice-Chair of the Black Democratic Legislative Caucus of Colorado. He is also Founder and Senior Consultant for Emerson Hamilton Consulting and Strategies, LLC based in Aurora.

Early Life & Education

Born in Denver, CO in 1979, Jovan grew up in a working class household in Northeast Denver, and later in Aurora. He personally experienced the disparities between social-economic classes. In witnessing the challenges his family faced to make a living, Jovan was taught the importance of equality and social justices early in life. He credits this as what led him into politics and his desire to help lower income and disenfranchised Coloradans.

Jovan attended school in the Cherry Creek and Denver Public School Districts. He had a natural talent for Mathematics and passion for History and English. He gravitated towards student leadership, serving on student council at Thomas Jefferson High School as Junior Class Vice-President and later Senior Class President. He also volunteered for organizations like Habitat for Humanity, Brotha 2 Brotha – a positive image youth group, and in college he mentored high school and middle school students. Jovan also served on the Yearbook Staff and played Varsity Golf.

Jovan earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder in Political Science. After college, Jovan became actively involved in government & politics. He worked as a Government Escalations Analyst for Comcast Communication while serving as a volunteer on the campaign committee for then State Representative-Candidate Beth McCann.

Career & Politics

Jovan’s strong sense of community led him to work for Lt. Governor Barbara O’Brien on the Governor’s Commission for Community Service.  In this role, Jovan helped shape and create policy promoting volunteerism throughout the state by creating sustainable programs helping Colorado’s working families. This work culminated with the creation of the Colorado State VISTA Program.  As the co-founder and the program’s first supervisor, Jovan secured over $500,000 in federal funding to fight poverty across the state.

Following several years in the Lt. Governor’s Office, Jovan turned his attention to making a difference locally.  He served as the campaign manager for Angela Williams in her successful 2010 Primary and General election for State Representative. Following her Primary win, he then became the Campaign Manager for Rhonda Fields’ successful 2010 General election campaign, making her the first African American elected to the State House from Arapahoe County  Jovan continued to help these first time candidates transition into the 2011 session and watched Representatives Williams and Fields quickly establish themselves as strong leaders at the State House of Representatives.

Soon after the successful 2010 election cycle, Jovan founded Emerson Consulting & Strategies, LLC, (now Emerson Hamilton Consulting & Strategies, LLC) a political campaign consulting firm based in Aurora, CO. He has remained active in affecting local change working on several municipal and state elections.

In 2012, Jovan ran for State Representative of House District 41. He was successfully elected to the Colorado House of Representatives on November 6, 2012, receiving over 58% of the vote, and was sworn into office on January 9, 2013.

In his first term in office, Jovan passed 12 bills into law including: the Colorado Careers Act of 2013, the Colorado ADA Act, expanded protections from attacks on public places in order to prevent another Aurora Theater Tragedy, insurance financial securities reform to prevent another 2008 financial collapse, and 2 Military Relief Fund bills to help our military families. Jovan also led the fight to ask Congress to raise the Federal Minimum Wage.

In 2014, Jovan ran for a second term in the General Assembly. In a difficult year for Democrats both Statewide and Nationally, he was successfully reelected on November 4, 2014 with 54% of the vote, and was sworn into office on January 14, 2015.

During his second term, Jovan successfully passed 20 bills into law that increased penalties for animal fighting, allowed for handsfree devices while driving, creation of the Career Pathways Program, reduced expenses for the University of Colorado, banned Police Use of the Chokehold, automatic record expungement for wrongful arrests, increased judicial discretion for consecutive sentencing, expanded HOA Budget Transparency, and allowing military experience to be used for licensing. Jovan also fought to protect the rights of those experiencing homelessness, and removing the Slavery exemption from Colorado’s Constitution.

Jovan sought a third term in office and was reelected by his largest margin of over 60% of the vote on November 6, 2016. Two days later, he was chosen by the House Democrats to serve in leadership as the House Majority Deputy Whip. He was sworn in to his third term of office on January 11, 2017.

At the end of the 2017 Session, Jovan had his most productive session to date passing 14 bills into law. These bills focused on Automotive dealer reform, sealing Marijuana Convictions for activities now legal, increasing the penalty for texting and driving, allowing local elected officials to serve on Non-profit Boards, and reducing the age to serve in the State legislature. He also fought to ban employers from asking about criminal history on employment applications, marijuana pesticide testing, and public marijuana consumption locations.

Personal Life and Community Involvement

Jovan serves on the Board of Directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters Colorado. He is also an active member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., and chairs the organization’s Voter Registration & Civic Engagement committee.