Meet Andy

Andy’s family moved to Lakewood when he was 8 years old. He attended Foothills Elementary School, Dunstan Middle School, and Green Mountain High School. He continued on to earn a bachelor’s degree in geography, a master’s degree in Information and Learning Technologies, and his principal’s license ― all from the University of Colorado.

Like so many in Colorado, Andy did a little bit of everything as he began his career. He worked as a snowboard instructor, waiter, bartender, and substitute teacher before getting a permanent job as a social studies teacher at Dunstan Middle School, where he taught for seven years. He then designed curriculum and trained teachers for Jeffco Public Schools, and now teaches kids across the county through the district’s 21st Century Online Learning Academy.

Andy joined the Colorado General Assembly in 2006 as a member of the House of Representatives. He was then elected to the State Senate, representing Senate District 22. He has been an effective champion for education, women’s reproductive rights, renewable energy, and the needs of working families in Jefferson County and across Colorado.

Andy met his wife, Tammy, while he was waiting tables and teaching students. Together, they have three children. The entire family enjoys hopping from school to lacrosse practice to swim meets and, when they’re able, skiing and hiking in Colorado’s mountains.

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Andy’s Story

Jump to sections of Andy’s timeline by clicking the buttons.

Learning

Andy’s first great teachers were his parents, Penny and Skip Kerr. Both were curious and thoughtful. They loved learning, and they shared that love of learning with their children.

Skip was especially curious about water – so much so that he ended up as a water engineer and took his family with him to learn about water engineering projects in communities around the world. One of those places was a region where water is precious and its conservation a constant strain: the Sudan in northeastern Africa. Living for a year with his father in the Sudan, Andy picked up both a love for geography and a stark, first-hand understanding about human rights and the power of of government to control natural resources in ways both good and bad.

As Andy puts it, “When someone wanted to control a village, they wouldn’t send a hundred men with guns into the streets. They sent ten men with guns to guard the well.”

What he witnessed there prepared him to lead the fight years later to end Colorado’s investments in the repressive regime in Darfur, and brought our state on board an international effort to resolve the Sudanese civil war.

But first, Andy met his second great teacher: Colorado itself.

When Andy was eight, Skip took a job with a water engineering firm in Jefferson County, and decided that Colorado was the perfect place for his young family. Andy grew up on the trails and slopes. He fell in love with his snowboard and his bike, and was raised with a deep appreciation for wilderness and open spaces.

Andy’s commitment to the environment stems from having seen first-hand what we have saved and what we have lost. He has seen the benefits of growth, and the damage that can be caused when we are careless with our natural resources. Those experiences are what later drove his work to foster sustainable communities, green building projects, and make solar power affordable for working families across Colorado.

A lifetime of great teachers followed. When America has been at its best, quality public education is always part of the story. For Andy, it changed his life. He went to Dunstan Middle School and Green Mountain High School in Lakewood, and then earned a bachelor’s degree in Geography, a master’s degree in Information and Learning Technologies, and an Administrative Leadership and Policy Studies license from the University of Colorado.

He would never have become a strong leader if his story was not built on a strong education. Learning has been central to his life, and that drives his belief that providing opportunity through public education needs to be at the center of our national commitment as well.

The many great teachers who taught and mentored him throughout his life instilled in him the values of scholarship and of service, and inspired his decision to give back by becoming a teacher himself.

Teaching

When he first thought about entering public service, Andy was a Social Studies teacher at Dunstan Middle School, the same school at the foot of the Rockies where he had gone as a child – but that wasn’t the first time he taught.

Long before he taught children the Constitution, he worked the ski slopes as, yes, a ponytail-wearing snowboard instructor. Between ski season work and by waiting tables, he worked his way through school. Andy was juggling restaurant and teaching jobs when he met Tammy McClure, an Aurora elementary teacher. The two young teachers got married and started a family together. They now have three children – two sons and a daughter.

Andy spent 10 years in the classroom and remains in one to this day. He served the district as a “teacher leader” — training teachers and improving curriculum. He now teaches kids using new tools in Jeffco Schools 21st Century Online Learning Academy

Hundreds of students across Jefferson County have stories to share about learning from “Mr. Kerr,” as many of them still call him.

As Lizzy Otteman, now a third grade teacher herself put it, “I entered middle school at a very hard time in our community. The devastating Columbine shooting had happened the year before. When I was in seventh grade, there were several local high school students who committed suicide. The 9/11 attack happened during my middle school time as well. It was an ugly and terrifying time, and easy time for students to feel unsafe.

But I remember Mr. Kerr’s door was always open and he was willing to help counsel whenever needed. The students trusted him. He was not afraid to have tough conversations with them. He showed that he cared by encouraging and inspiring his students to be excellent citizens and care for each other.”

Andy takes a lot of pride in the impact he has had in the classroom, but his biggest challenge in teaching and learning has been raising his two sons and his daughter. He fights for the families of his district, because that is his own fight – the struggle to raise children to have the same opportunities that he had, and a future in which the opportunities are the same for his daughter as they are for his sons. He supports family friendly leave policies because no parent should have to choose between their job and a sick kid. And he strongly believes that a quality public education should be available to every child, no matter where they live or their family’s circumstances.

Leading

While raising his family and teaching our kids led to a pretty satisfying life, in 2006 Andy decided to take it a step further and run for local office. He started in the Colorado House of Representatives, where he was selected by his peers to serve as majority whip and, later, as assistant majority leader ― the number three position in the House. He later ran successfully for the State Senate in Jefferson County’s competitive Senate District 22.

By actually listening to his constituents, by fighting passionately for their interests, and by being willing to take the heat for tough choices, he became part of a team that moved policy forward in ways grounded in the Colorado values he grew up with.

He served boldly whether Democrats were in the majority or the minority. He took on the hardest of fights for our schools, for women’s rights, for communities of color, and for LGBT equality. He passed dozens of bills into law, including a landmark bill making renewable energy affordable and accessible for middle-class families.

His work under the dome is amplified by his efforts in the courts. His citizen-based lawsuit against TABOR, which throttles everything from schools to health care to transportation in Colorado, is being watched nationwide as it asks core questions about the nature of our representative democracy. If successful, it will not only change the future of Colorado, it will be a historic watershed for Constitutional law.

But the most important work he has done has been right at home in the district where he has spoken to thousands of his neighbors on their doorsteps, and has held countless town halls and informal community meetings. Like Ed Perlmutter, Andy believes in being accessible to the people he works for and answering their questions politely and honestly – especially when they disagree.

Andy believes that the difference for our future depends on whether the country follows the principles of Adams and Jefferson County, instead of the top floors of the Trump Tower. The people of Jefferson and Adams Counties, from Lakewood to Thornton to Commerce City, are truly what Ed Perlmutter likes to call “the hardworking middle” ― families that know both hope and struggle.

And Andy believes that by serving them in Congress he and we can all make our state and our country better.

Andy’s Values

Reproductive Rights and Women’s Health

Andy has a 100% rating from Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado and NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado, and he was recognized as a “Champion of Choice” by NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado in 2014 and 2015. He believes strongly that a woman’s personal, private medical decisions should remain between her and her doctor – without politicians getting in the way. He believes as Coloradans we have to protect those rights in the face of an administration that is trying to take them away. Andy has put his values into action in the state legislature.

Jobs & Economy

Andy bussed and waited tables in Lakewood before he started his teaching career, and these values inform how he approaches our economy. Too many families feel they are living paycheck to paycheck, and our economy has to work for everyone, not just those at the top. We have to encourage small businesses – and critical, not-so-small businesses in CD7 like the aerospace industry that provide good-paying jobs.


Climate Change and Environment

Andy’s father was a water engineer, so he understands both the day-to-day reality of natural resources and the effects climate change has on them. Coloradans ‘get’ water issues in a way most people in Washington don’t, and Andy will take that perspective with him and fight to protect our resources and public lands here at home. And with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory located in CD7, Andy will fight any attempts to cut its funding and the cutting-edge scientific innovation and research that happens there. Colorado’s environment is key to our identity and key to our economy, and Andy will work to ensure it stays that way. He has a 100% Scorecard rating from Conservation Colorado in 2016.


Education

Andy taught social studies at the same middle school he went to – Dunstan Middle School in Lakewood. Not only has Andy been a teacher, many of the students he taught are now teachers themselves. As an advocate and an educator, Andy has been on the front lines standing up for Colorado’s kids, including the Jefferson County School Board recalls in 2015.

As a graduate of the University of Colorado, Andy has seen higher education become unaffordable for many families, or burden students with a debt load they struggle to pay back – and even now the Trump administration is threatening to cut Pell Grants and other college-affordability programs. Andy passed a bill in the state legislature to cap tuition increases, and he will continue to fight for the rights of students and equal education in Congress.

  • As a former student of his, I’m with Andy because he is as dedicated to his constituents as he was to his students. #Kerr4CO
    @N_Belkin (Nadia Belkin)
  • This mom is for Andy! Send @SenAndyKerr to D.C. for our kids’ future! We need a teacher to give Congress some lessons #Kerr4Co #copolitics
    @CassStenstrom (Cassie Tanner)
  • If you want the best advocate for families and students in Congress then support Andy for Colorado for our future. #Kerr4Co #copolitics
    @2Geekyteachers
  • Andy is my colleague & I know first hand he cares about working families & schools. I want to see him lead in Congress! #Kerr4Co #copolitics
    @tchpreservation (Michelle Pearson)
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Your Story


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