Introduction & Early Life
Jovan Emerson Melton is the State Representative from House District 41 to the 70th Colorado General Assembly. He serves as the Chair of the Black Democratic Legislative Caucus of Colorado. He is also the Founding Partner and Senior Consultant for Emerson Hamilton Consulting and Strategies, LLC based in Aurora.
Jovan was born in Denver, CO. At a young age, his parents divorced and he was raised primarily in a single parent home, although he always had the loving support of both his parents.
Jovan grew up in a working class household in Northeast Denver, and later in Southwest 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. Jovan admits that he wasn’t the “most disciplined” student in middle school, however quickly turned things around in high school with the goal of attending college.
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 he mentored younger 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 Communications 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, and helping Colorado’s working families culminating with the founding of the Colorado State VISTA Program. As the co-founder and the program’s first supervisor, Jovan secured over $500,000 in federal resources to help 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 also 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 support these first time candidates transition into the 2011 session, and watched as both Representatives Fields and Williams quickly established themselves as strong leaders in 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 and multimedia 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. He was sworn into the 69th Colorado General Assembly on January 9, 2013.
In his first term in office, Jovan passed 12 bills into law including: the Colorado Careers Act of 2013 (HB 13-1004); the Colorado ADA Act (SB 14-118); expanded protections from attacks on public places in order to prevent another Aurora Theater Tragedy (HB 14-1271); insurance financial securities reform to prevent another 2008 financial collapse(SB 14-152), 2 Military Relief Fund bills to help our military families(HB 13-1024 & HB 14-1277), and led the fight to ask Congress to raise the Federal Minimum Wage.
On March 22, 2014, Jovan was unopposed and unanimously nominated for the Democratic Nomination to retain the State Representative position. In a General Election year when Democrats suffered numerous loses both statewide and nationally, Jovan was re-elected to office with nearly 54% of the vote for a second term on Tuesday, November 4, 2014. He was sworn into the 70th Colorado General Assembly on Wednesday, January 7, 2015.
His second term has been his most productive to date, seeing 21 bills signed into law. Among those successes were creation of the Career Pathways program, streamlining maintenance cost for the University of Colorado saving over $800,000 per year, increasing the penalty for animal fighting, promoting the use of hands free devices while driving, and banning the use of the choke hold by law enforcement. He continued the fight to raise the minimum wage, brought efforts to protect rights for the homeless, and ban offensive Native American mascots in schools.