Jared Polis Is One Of The Richest Politicians In America – And The Way He Got Rich Is Amazing…

By on August 25, 2015 in ArticlesEntertainment

You've heard of Mitt Romney, Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry, but unless you're from Colorado or you keep tabs on the wealthiest members of Congress, you might not have heard of Jared Polis just yet.

How He Got There

The Democratic congressman represents Colorado's 2nd Congressional District, which includes Boulder, Fort Collins, and Vail. He was one of the few openly gay people elected to the House as a freshman politician, and the first openly gay parent in Congress. He's also worth a reported $200 million, making him one of the top ten richest members of Congress. He's a politician and an entrepreneur who earned his fortune when he co-founded Internet access provider American Information Systems (AIS) while still in college. That company sold in 1998.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

In 1996, he co-founded online greeting card website Bluemountain.com, which sold to Excite@Home in 1999 at the height of the dot-com bubble for $430 million in stock and $350 million in cash. In 1998, Polis founded online florist ProFlowers. The company, later renamed Provide Commerce, went public on NASDAQ as PRVD on December 17, 2003. In 2005, Provide Commerce was acquired by media conglomerate Liberty Media Corporation for $477 million. It's probably no surprise to learn that Polis was once named "Entrepreneur of the Year" by Ernst and Young.

Younger Years

Polis was born on May 12, 1975 in Boulder. He studied political science at Princeton, and his political career kicked off when he was elected to the Colorado State Board of Education. Close to 1.6 million votes were cast between Polis and his opponent, and he won that election by a margin of only 90 votes. He founded the Jared Polis Foundation the same year. The Foundation is dedicated to improving teacher resource support with regard to technology and community engagement. Gaining popularity over time, Polis was elected to the House of Representatives in Colorado in 2008, and re-elected in 2010.

Getty Images

Getty Images

The Detractors

Like any politician (hello, Donald Trump), Polis has his detractors. They're not nearly as vehement as Trump's detractors, but they exist. Despite his millions, he's been ridiculed for his fashion sense in the media, with GQ writing a piece tearing apart his choice of bowties over turtlenecks (yikes), to cite just one of his many fashion offenses. Gawker wrote an article called "Jared Polis: To Know Him Is To Loathe Him," accusing him of buying his way into politics. He wouldn't be the first.

Polis is also an avid gamer (or "gaymer" as his Twitter bio says) who plays League of Legends. He was the first member of Congress to accept bitcoin donations on the day it became legal, and an advocate for legalizing marijuana. He does, after all, represent Colorado. You can find him on Twitter, tweeting about Justin Bieber, Vail town hall meetings, and fracking.

His investment portfolio is apparently just as diverse: real estate in Japanese retirement housing, stock in businesses like an open-sea fish farm off the Panama coast, and a film production company based in Denver. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Articles Written by Dina Zipin
Dina is the author of Brokenomics, a book of humorous essays and tips about money. She has written for Forbes, Marie Claire, The Billfold, and Bustle. You can find her on Twitter @TheElf26. Follow her on Google+.
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