Colorado Governor Inauguration
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Gov. Jared Polis waves after his speech during the inauguration ceremony Jan. 8 at the Capitol in Denver.

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Colorado’s Democratic governor, Jared Polis, will welcome many of the country’s best-known conservatives to Denver on Friday when he addresses the Western Conservative Summit.

He is Colorado’s first Democratic governor to speak at the event in its 10-year history. He is scheduled to speak at the ticketed event at the Colorado Convention Center at 9:45 a.m.

The Western Conservative Summit invited all of the Democrats running for president, but as of Thursday none was scheduled to attend.

The two-day conclave on faith and freedom is billed as the largest gathering of conservatives outside the Washington, D.C., Beltway. This year it celebrates its 10th year, founded and coordinated by the Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian University in Lakewood.

The event has a heavily Christian influence in topics and speakers. Polis is Colorado’s first gay and first Jewish governor, though he thinks of himself as a libertarian.

In May he took part in Colorado Christian’s National Day of Prayer program, alongside U.S. House Freedom Caucus member Ken Buck, who doubles as the Colorado Republican Party chairman.

As Polis begins the day’s activities with workshops, speakers and vendors, Donald Trump Jr., the president’s oldest son, is scheduled to help close the first day Friday night.

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, a Republican up for re-election next year, as well as U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw, a rising GOP star, are on the roster of speakers.

Notably, a host of local radio talent is featured at this year’s show. The list includes Centennial Institute founder John Andrews; Chuck Bonniwell and Julie Hayden; Peter Boyles; Randy Corporon; Matt Dunn; Craig Silverman; and Steffan Tubbs.

Jimmy Sengenberger will interview former Clinton investigator Ken Starr, who later stepped down amid scandal as president and chancellor at Baylor University, on stage Friday afternoon.

Contact Joey Bunch at or follow him on Twitter @joeybunch.

Contact Joey Bunch at or follow him on Twitter @joeybunch.

Colorado Politics senior political reporter

Joey Bunch is the senior correspondent and deputy managing editor of Colorado Politics. His 32-year career includes the last 16 in Colorado. He was part of the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and he is a two-time finalist.

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