By Melissa Garcia

GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4) – Democratic U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter has announced his run for governor of Colorado.

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“It is a great day to be a Coloradoan. Thank you very much,” Perlmutter said to a cheering crowd Sunday outside of Natural Grocers in Golden.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter at the announcement (credit: CBS)

The Democrat and former state senator said that he plans to tackle crowded classrooms, make housing more affordable, and put more jobs within reach. He vowed to improve roads and infrastructure, protect the environment, and build a stronger economy.

“And I believe that the best place for me to address these challenges is right here at home, right now,” Perlmutter said.

Perlmutter is a life-long resident of Jefferson County. Supporters hail him as a bipartisan leader.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter at the announcement (credit: CBS)

He touted decades of accomplishments at the local, state, and federal levels.

“Our vets deserve the best, and they are going to get it,” he said, referencing the near completion of Aurora’s new VA hospital.

Perlmutter also highlighted some of his goals for the future.

“We’re working on a long-term plan with NASA to send humans to Mars by 2033,” he said.

Standing behind his campaign announcement was Democrat Lucia Guzman, Senate Minority Leader.

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“He will be the people’s governor,” Guzman told the crowd.

Liz Geisleman, a business owner in Golden, also spoke on behalf of the gubernatorial candidate, praising Perlmutter for having championed small business funding.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter at the announcement (credit: CBS)

“He also supports equal pay for equal work,” Geisleman added.

The race for governor is expected to be competitive for primary candidates on both sides.

So far, Perlmutter is up against four other Democratic candidates.

Four Republicans are in the running.

Former Colorado Treasurer Cary Kennedy, a Democrat, was also expected to announce her run for governor on Monday.

The 2018 gubernatorial election is especially significant because for the first time unaffiliated voters will be able to vote in the primaries.

Additionally, the winning candidate will not only lead the redrawing of congressional districts, but will also appoint a new state Supreme Court justice.

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Melissa Garcia has been reporting for CBS4 News since March 2014. Find her bio here, follow her on Twitter @MelissaGarciaTV, or send your story idea to