With over 30 years of experience in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors, Tracy Kraft-Tharp has dedicated her life to serving the people in our community that need help the most, whether running her own small business or through her experience in social work, nonprofit management, teaching, and legislative advocacy, Tracy’s experience, passion for service, and commitment to community make her the right person to represent the people of House District 29 in the Colorado House of Representatives.
Growing up in a large Minnesota construction family, Tracy learned the value of hard work and experienced firsthand the struggles of America’s working class families. Her parents worked hard to make sure she had access to a good education and college opportunity, giving Tracy a passion for giving back.
Tracy has lived in Colorado for decades, and she has been happily married to her husband Vern for over 25 years. She began her career as a middle school teacher, but soon moved on to become a youth counselor in a juvenile detention center and later as a social worker, working with at-risk children and their families. These experiences solidified Tracy’s determination to serve our community and our families. Tracy went on to manage a Colorado organization, earn a law degree, and eventually work as an issues advocate at the State Legislature.
This experience managing a large organization with a limited budget gave Tracy the skills to build her own small business dedicated to working with small businesses and nonprofit organizations to improve their strategic planning, budgeting, and management. She also served as a project manager for several innovative federally funded projects.
Tracy has also taught at Metro State and Regis University, and has been involved as a volunteer by serving on the board of directors of local and national nonprofit organizations, volunteering with organizations such as Energy Outreach Colorado, and serving as an active member of the Colorado Business and Professional Women and the League of Women Voters. As her reputation as a community leader grew, Tracy was appointed to serve on the Jefferson County School District Strategic Planning and Advisory Council, the City of Arvada Citizen’s Capital Improvement Committee, and the City of Arvada Human Services Council. She also serves on the Jeffco PTA, the Arvada Chamber Government Affairs committee and the Westminster Chamber Government Affairs committee, and the Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Council.
Tracy met her husband, Vern Tharp, at a political rally, and although they had different political views, they have built a solid marriage of over 25 years with deep roots in the community. Vern is an entrepreneur and businessman with a focus on distressed companies and real estate transactions.
As both a small business owner and legislative advocate, Tracy Kraft-Tharp has witnessed the challenges that families, small businesses and community organizations face during difficult times. Tracy’s firsthand experience bringing legislators on both sides of the aisle together to change policy in the mental health field has given her the critical experience our community needs in our state representative.
Tracy’s business common sense, her passion for public service, and her experience getting results on the complex issues facing Colorado families are the skills we need in the State House.
As the State Representative for House District 29 (Arvada and Westminster), Tracy serves as the Chair of the Business Affairs and Labor Committee. She is also a member of the Appropriations Committee and member and past Chair of the Legislative Audit Committee. Tracy also serves as chair of the Sales and Use Tax Simplification Task Force, on the Juvenile Justice Prevention Council, Governor Hickenloopers’ Blockchain Council, Governor Polis’ Behavioral Healthcare Task Force, and the NCSL Sales Tax Legislative Task Force.
Tracy also served on the Transportation and Energy Committee in previous sessions. Her main legislative priorities are to encourage economic development and workforce development and to increase access to mental health services.
Tracy has been honored as Legislator of the Year by many organizations including Cleantech Colorado, National Association of Social Workers (NASW), Community Reach, Colorado Independent Auto Dealers, Women’s Chamber of Commerce, Colorado Behavioral Healthcare Council, Colorado Nonprofit Association, Jefferson County Labor Initiative Friend of Labor, Common Sense in the CourtRoom (6 times), Colorado Technology Association, Bioscience Association, Champion of Mains Street by the Independent Bankers of America, the Colorado Bankers Association and the Independent Electrical Workers Association. She was recognized at Celebrating Jeffco Women by the Jefferson West Chamber and as a Power Book Leader Government Category finalist by the Denver Business Journal. She was recognized in 2018 by the national Tax Foundation for her work in simplifying Colorado’s sales and use tax system and as a Sales Tax Simplification Champion by the Simplify Colorado Coalition.
Tracy was reelected to a second term representing HD 29 in 2014, for a third term in 2016, and a fourth and final term in 2018.