By Shaun Boyd

DENVER (CBS4) – One of our state’s newest Congressmen is already making history. Voters in the 2nd Congressional District elected Democrat Joe Neguse Tuesday night, making him Colorado’s first African-American member of Congress.

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Joe Neguse (credit: CBS)

As Neguse stood on stage election night, his historic win sinking in, he couldn’t help but think about the against-all-odds journey that brought him there. He says he’s compelled to give back to a state and country that’s given his family so much.

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(credit: CBS)

He is not the typical elected official in many ways. Neguse is also the second youngest Congressman ever elected from Colorado – at just 34 years old – and he is the son of immigrants. His parents are refugees from East Africa,

“They never could have imagined that their son, 34 years later would be standing here tonight as the next Congressman for Colorado’s Second Congressional District,” he said.

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(credit: Joe Neguse)

His story is one of a trailblazer. He is only the second African American elected to the University of Colorado’s Board of Regents at just 24 years old. He’s also one of the youngest people in the country to serve in a state cabinet as head of Colorado’s Consumer Protection Agency.

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CBS4’s Shaun Boyd interviews Joe Neguse. (credit: CBS)

“There are endless possibilities in this country and my parents and my family we’ve lived those possibilities,” Neguse told CBS4’s Political Specialist Shaun Boyd.

Neguse embodies the American dream, a dream he fears is slipping away.

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(credit: Joe Neguse)

“There are plenty of immigrants and children of immigrants just like me who will not be able to live their dreams because of draconian policies this administration has pursued. Health care costs in my district in particular are a huge issue. Summit County and Eagle County, you have folks paying the highest rates on the individual exchange than anybody else in the United States,” Neguse said. “At end of day, Colorado is an inclusive, incredible, kind state, a generous state that has given my family so much, and I’m going to spend the rest live paying it forward. For me, hope should always define what we do. We have a real opportunity to save the American dream and to fight for it. It’s worth fighting for. ”

Neguse motto is, “Fear is contagious, but so is hope.” He says he has lots of reason for hope, including his 10-week-old daughter. His wife gave birth during the campaign.

Neguse takes the seat that’s being vacated by Gov.-elect Jared Polis.

Shaun Boyd is CBS4’s political specialist. She’s a veteran reporter with more than 25 years of experience. Follow her on Twitter @cbs4shaun.

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