By Katie Simota
Duane Hansen has a passion for public service. Since the age of fifteen, he has been actively involved in community organizing and volunteering in the Fort Collins community.
Hansen’s first experiences in public service were inspired by his grandfather, a Marine veteran who served in Vietnam and Korea. “He suggested I join the Civil Air Patrol,” said Hansen. According to their website, the CAP is an auxiliary branch of the U.S. Air Force, and offers emergency services, youth programs, and aerospace education. “As a former member of the CAP, I worked to provide emergency assistance during the 1997 flood in Northern Colorado. It was an honor to be a part of the response and recovery efforts of Fort Collins.”
Hansen, 35, is a recent graduate of the College of Liberal Arts at CSU. He graduated in 2016 with a bachelor of arts in political science with a concentration in government law and policy and a minor in diversity in law. “I enjoy helping people and want to use policy and law as a way to serve others,” he said. His desire to serve now extends to city council, where he will challenge incumbent city council member Ross Cunniff for the District 5 seat.
“As an elected official, I would be a delegate that represents the community, and will actively listen to constituents when making decisions about the direction of our city. I want people to be involved in the process.”
Engagement is one of the many issues on Hansen’s platform, and he looks forward to raising awareness around the decision-making process of the city council. “Understanding local politics is important because it has the most direct impact on people’s lives. Local government has more to do with daily life than the federal government,” he said.
Hansen has a track record of diligently pursuing change while also inspiring others to get involved. The Associated Students of Colorado State University (ASCSU), the Adult Learners and Veterans Services (ALVS-CSU), as well as the Student Veterans Organization were among the eight organizations Hansen was involved with while on campus. “I was able to inspire other nontraditional students to get involved with organizations like ASCSU and the Student Veterans Organization, and that was very rewarding.”
He attributes the balance of in-class experiences with ample on-campus involvement as critical to his learning. “It’s all about participation and applying the critical thinking skills students learn in the classroom,” Hansen said.
Networking opportunities and learning how to implement policy were some of the skills he built upon while attending CSU. “While at CSU, I began to understand the concept of synthesizing law to construct a cohesive argument, which is a vital skill when creating policy.”
Classes such as Urban Management and Development gave Hansen a solid understanding of the issues city council handles. “We learned about zoning, public improvement fees, land use, among other things, all while being challenged to think about balanced approaches to maintaining a community.”
Hoping to deliver awareness and youthful energy to the city council, Hansen is excited about the recent wave of interest in politics.“It’s amazing to see all of the young people stepping into politics and working to have a say in their communities. Change happens when people engage in politics on a local level.”