We had the good fortune of connecting with Lindsey Daugherty and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lindsey, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Ask any of my colleagues in the Colorado State House about our work/life balance, and the response will likely be nervous laughter. For most of us, this is an ongoing battle – especially during campaign season!
Given my competing goals and pressures, it would be all too easy to let my work schedule take over my life, and unfortunately it has from time to time. However, I am good at knowing when I need to slow down and take a break. Luckily, living in Colorado presents itself with wonderful opportunities to be outside, which I take advantage of. Whether that is going on a hike or a bike ride, it is important for me to slow down and take a deep breath every once in a while.
Another important lesson I have learned is that you cannot possibly do everything! I have learned to delegate whenever possible and ask for help when I need it. My younger self liked to believe that I knew everything, but my older self asks question after question, especially in my role as a State Representative. I cannot possibly know everything and it is important for me to be able to lean on people who are experts in their fields to do the best job I can do.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your work, can you tell us more?
I currently split my professional time between my role as a Colorado State Representative and my work as a juvenile attorney. My decision to go to law school and my decision to run for office were both inspired by my lifelong passion for justice. I’ve always believed that while life itself may not be fair, the systems through which our society operates absolutely should be.
I knew early on that if my goal was to change and improve our societal systems, I would first need to study law and learn how to successfully be an advocate for others. I attended law school at the University of Denver and spent my school breaks and summers interning for former Congressman Bruce Braley and former Senator Tom Harkin in Washington D.C. After graduation, I clerked for the White House Domestic Policy under the Obama Administration, also in Washington, DC., and then returned to Colorado, where I decided to open my own law firm.
The years I spent as a law school student and political intern shaped me in one very transformative way: I learned how to “fake it until you make it”. These were high pressure environments filled with exceptionally intelligent and successful people; it was natural to feel intimidated. I frequently found myself in situations that made me question my qualifications and wonder if I was in over my head. However, I quickly realized that I had two choices. I could allow my fear of failure or embarrassment stop me from pursuing my ambitious goals, or I could trust my ability to figure things out as I went. I’m so grateful that I chose the latter.
Running for office is no small endeavor. If I hadn’t learned to believe in my own potential, I could never have attempted it. To anyone considering their own run for office, my advice is to just start working towards it. Find a local mentor, ask questions whenever possible, and never allow yourself to stop learning. Say yes to as many challenges and opportunities as you can. If you’re so passionate about your community that you’re even considering a campaign for public office, you owe it to yourself and those you could help to at least try. You’ll be surprised by how much you can accomplish by just choosing to show up.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love hosting friends at my home in Arvada, because our proximity to both the mountains and the city provides an endless supply of activities. I would showcase Colorado’s incredible scenery by taking my friend for a bike ride on Ralston Creek trail up to Golden and Lookout Mountain, making sure to get lunch in Olde Town on the way back. I would make sure we dined at both School House and Tap & Dough, two of my favorite Arvada restaurants. A visit to Majestic View Park would have to be on the itinerary, as it’s one of my favorite places to run around with my rescue dog, Hawk. We would also spend a few hours exploring the Butterfly Pavilion, one of Colorado’s “must see” attractions. Afterward, we could stop by Finding Nectar Nursery, a new local garden center that specializes in native plants that support our pollinator population.
I would also take my friend on a tour of my workplace, which happens to be Colorado’s stunningly beautiful State Capitol Building. If the legislature were in session, I would encourage them to sit in the gallery and watch one of our debates on the House floor. While in Downtown Denver, we could also catch a Rockies game or visit the newly renovated Denver Art Museum. And of course, no visit to Colorado would be complete without a concert at Red Rocks!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My brother, Kevin, is my greatest inspiration. In his early adulthood, Kevin lost several years to addiction, a struggle too many families can relate to. I am in awe of his courage and determination that he showed to overcome this. Kevin showed me just how strong the human spirit can be, even while facing seemingly insurmountable obstacles. He completely turned his life around, emerging from his recovery to start his own dog-sled racing business in Idaho.
Through Kevin’s journey, I learned countless lessons about honesty, vulnerability, forgiveness, and compassion. I also learned how much work there is to be done in the fields of mental health, addiction treatment, and criminal justice reform. I know how lucky my family is to have Kevin with us today, as his story could easily have ended in tragedy. Whenever I feel frustrated or exhausted by my legislative work, I think of the families who haven’t been so lucky. The ones who are still out there waiting for answers, pleading for resources, and desperately looking for reasons to feel hopeful. They need me to keep fighting for their loved ones, and it is my honor to advocate on their behalf.