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AARP AARP States Colorado

Latina AARP Advocates Study Laws, Lobby Legislature

(L-R) AARPCO Advocates Jimmac Lofton, Carol Pace,
Dwight Willis, Mary Fries, Irene Martinez Jordan,
Leslie Kalechman, Greg Glischinski, Erlinda Archuleta,
Rick Rush, Allan Gordon, Allison Hiltz

Erlinda Archuleta and Irene Martinez Jordan are two of 15 AARP Colorado Legislative Advocates tasked with examining bills proposed to the legislature this 2023 session. They determine how the laws would impact older Coloradans, as well as future generations.

“It’s a significant amount of work and a very important job,” said AARP Colorado Advocacy Director Allison Hiltz. “Having the perspectives of Irene and Erlinda is invaluable. We, as well as the entire state, are incredibly fortunate to have women of their caliber on our team.”

The women also serve on El Comité, a team of Latino community leaders that advise AARP Colorado on issues important to the state’s Hispanic population. Archuleta and Martinez Jordan are two of about a dozen El Comité members, who also run the Latina/Latino Calling Tree. Members of the calling tree contact elected officials and lobby for legislation that protects older Coloradans. They're very successful in swaying votes to improve our state, Hiltz said.

In addition, Archuleta was recently named as the newest member of the AARP Colorado Executive Council, a group of volunteers who help shape the direction of AARP Colorado. Their work impacts the organization's nearly 670,000 Colorado members.

Archuleta, who has volunteered with AARP since 2015, is the sole Hispanic of the six-member council and only the second Latina to serve in the position.

"I'm very proud to offer my assistance in improving the lives of all Coloradans by ensuring people can age with dignity," she said.

A Denver native, Archuleta is a retired educator, who started her career as a teacher in Denver Public Schools. She served as principal of three elementary schools before going to work for the Colorado Department of Education to focus on literacy, adult education, and accountability and accreditation of Colorado Schools.  

She was nominated by former Denver Mayor and U.S. Secretary Federico Peña and appointed by President Bill Clinton to serve on the Commission of Education Excellence for Hispanic Americans.

Martinez Jordan, a former Denver Public Schools educator, is a retired principal of West High School. She co-founded and runs the West Campus Food Bank, which provides fresh food to 80-plus families, or about 500 individuals a week. She received the Lena L. Archuleta Community Service Award in 2022.

Martinez Jordan has been an AARP volunteer since 2008. In 2010, she expanded her volunteer work with AARP and joined AARP Colorado’s advocacy team. She focuses on voter rights, pensions and finance.

“I’m glad to be part of a team that cares about older Coloradans and their families,” Martinez Jordan said. “I am a Colorado native and it’s important to me to not only advocate for Latinos, but for all Coloradans.”

_Angela Cortez is AARP Colorado Communications Director 

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