Calista Bergstrom: Too young to vote, not too young to make a difference


Calista Bergstrom, center, with Governor Jared Polis. Photo courtesy of Calista Bergstrom.

A-West junior Calista Bergstrom has knocked on a lot of doors. As an intern at Jared Polis’s campaign office, Bergstrom spent the months leading up to the election knocking on doors and phone banking on behalf of Polis’s campaign for governor. 

In addition to her internship, Bergstrom is involved in Student Council, Spanish Honor Society, National Honor Society, Student Voice, and choir. She started her internship in June, right before the primary elections.

“I have always been a Democrat. It was an internship of opportunity,” said Bergstrom. “I was always really interested in politics, and I think I didn’t really feel like I needed to be active in it until the 2016 election, and then I was like ‘okay, it’s time to step up and do something,’” she said. 

According to his campaign website, Polis ran on a number of progressive reforms including Medicare for all, free full-day kindergarten and preschool, and stricter gun control, as well as a plan to bring the state to 100 percent renewable energy by 2040. He has served in the US House of Representatives since 2009, and succeeds Democrat John Hickenlooper, who was governor from 2011-2019. 

I have always been a Democrat. It was an internship of opportunity.

— Calista Bergstrom

Bergstrom interned Wednesday and Thursday nights as well as Sunday afternoons, around 15 hours a week. She would knock a minimum of 350 doors a week and analyzed data when she made phone calls. There were 11 total interns in the Jeffco area, three of whom were in high school. Bergstrom was required to submit an application, go through a phone interview, and do a few practice rounds of canvassing before she was accepted into the program.

“They wanted to see that I was doing more than just canvassing all the time,” said Bergstrom.  

While canvassing, Bergstrom would have a few negative reactions from independent voters who wanted to keep their options open before the primary elections. She says some people would even use curse words or bring up the fact that Polis is gay.

When she found out that Polis won, Bergstrom was ecstatic. “I don’t think it felt really real, because I was so worried that all the hours that I had put in, knocking [on] doors and making phone calls wasn’t going to be worth it.”

Bergstrom hopes to see Polis work with Republicans to accomplish his agenda.

“I hope he works well with Republicans because one thing he always said is that there’s no reason to have conflict between anybody and he doesn’t necessarily think that anybody is wrong; he thinks everybody is entitled to their opinions,” said Bergstrom.  

Polis is the first openly gay man to be elected governor in the United States, and was inaugurated last Tuesday. 

“I feel like we took part in making history and that’s really exciting. I think it shows how much we’ve come along. It was a good move, for the entire state and for the whole country,” said Bergstrom.