Rachel Zenzinger is the Colorado Senator from Arvada with a deep background in education and advocacy for public schools. She has worked as a Project Manager for Colorado Educator Voice Fellowship, a branch of Washington, D.C.-based America Achieves. She previously served as advisor to the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative program in the Colorado Department of Higher Education; and she worked for Regis University in the Master of Arts in Education department where she specialized in Teacher Leadership.
Since moving to Arvada in 2002, she has served the community in a variety of capacities, including as twice-elected member of the Arvada City Council, where she also filled the role as Mayor Pro Tem. She left the City Council to accept an appointment to the State Senate, where she served in the 2014 session.
Her staunch commitment and selfless engagement in public service are the direct result of her Western Slope upbringing in which her family members and friends preached the good of the community, and in which resources were always modest and sometimes lacking. At one point, she lived in a home without electricity. In a family of nine children, she quickly learned the importance of self-sufficiency and the value of hard work.
She took an early job in a hotel an hour from her home, and she also worked in a bookstore. She later helped put herself through school working on a landscaping crew at Regis College. She took on some back-breaking student loans to get through Regis, and she is still paying them off. No one is more personally acquainted with the consequences of steep college costs, and it’s one reason she has made affordability such a priority in her campaign.
Her mother’s side of the family boasts a long line of teachers and commitment to education, and Rachel has carried on that legacy. She has a secondary social studies teaching license, and she worked in the classroom primarily with high risk youth.
Her father is a plumber and a pipefitter, and she recognizes the benefits that unionization has brought to hard-working, blue collar families. She believes that a healthy middle class is the backbone of the state and the nation.
She has served on numerous boards and committees such as: Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) board; Denver Urban Drainage and Flood Control District board; Jefferson County Child & Youth Leadership Commission; the Ralston House Child Advocacy board; the Arvada Council for the Arts and Humanities at the Arvada Center; and the Arvada Community Food Bank board. Currently, she serves on the Transit Alliance Board of Directors. She earned her graduate degree at Regis University with a Master of Arts in Adult Learning, Training & Development; and her Bachelor of Arts degree at Regis with an emphasis in education.
In her year in the State Senate (2014), she received bipartisan support on all eight of her bills that Gov. John Hickenlooper signed into law, addressing issues of education, elders and the economy. She was named Legislator of the Year by the Colorado Community College System, and was recognized in April as a Friend of Adult Education by the Colorado Adult Education Professional Association for her legislative work.
She was named by the Arvada Chamber of Commerce as one of that organization’s Young Professionals of the Year in 2011; and in 2012, she was named by the Denver Post as one of Colorado’s Up-and-Coming Most Influential Women. Later in 2012, the Northwest Business and Professional Women named her their Woman of the Year.
Rachel currently resides in Arvada where she is raising two children. In her spare time, she enjoys keeping up with the news, and she is an avid reader. She enjoys the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle, attending athletic events (especially Colorado Rockies) and improving her tennis game.