Politically active Steamboat high school senior chosen for statewide Democratic award
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Emi Cooper was excited to receive a text from the mother of Rep. Dylan Roberts telling her she received the Colorado Democrats Murphy Roberts Award — an award issued to a Democrat younger than 25 years old that has shown commitment and dedication to the values of the Colorado Democratic Party.
“It’s really nice to have recognition for work,” Cooper said.
Cooper, a senior at Steamboat Springs High School, helped organize several movements for climate change action for youth in Routt County, which is why she won the award.
“Our generation is going to be the ones who face the consequences of climate change,” Cooper said. “The best way to combat that is by getting people my age involved in politics.”
Roberts, who represents Routt and Eagle counties, nominated Cooper, saying she embodies the spirit and tradition of Murphy Roberts, his late brother.
The Roberts family created the award in memory of Murphy Roberts, who died after having a diabetes-related seizure while on a hike. He had been deeply involved in politics from a young age.
“(Murphy) started volunteering on political campaigns from a very young age and was always very interested in public service and either working at the State Department or something for his country,” Roberts said. “It shows someone that we see the same spirit and dedication that Murphy had from a young age.”
Cooper organized a school-wide walk-out to promote climate action and has volunteered with the Routt County Democrats. Roberts met Cooper through her climate activism work, which he said “got the attention of all of Routt County.”
“Her spirit and her willingness to put herself out there to take a stand on things she believes in reminds me of Murphy,” Roberts said. “In high school, it’s really easy to not share your political opinions or take a stance on something that’s so divided.”
Michelle Stewart, executive director of Yampa Valley Sustainability Council, said young people being involved in climate action is vital, as they will face the strongest impacts.
“Our young adults are a really important part of sustainable futures,” Stewart said. “They’re creative and inspired and they have such a cool perspective.”
Catherine Carson, chairperson of the Routt County Democrats, said Cooper’s victory is especially impressive because Colorado has many young Democratic volunteers.
“We have so many incredible and amazing young democratic volunteers throughout the state who work to make the world a better place for everyone, and Emi’s great energy and community organizing inspires me every day,” Carson said. “She’s part of a very exciting new generation that recognizes that the time is now for real and meaningful climate action.”
Cooper is accepting the award as part of the Colorado Democrats’ group of annual awards, of which other recipients included Gov. Jared Polis, Rep. David Ortiz and Sen. Kerry Donovan.
“The Democratic Party is a team effort, and it’s always exciting when someone locally is recognized, and it’s for something so well-deserved,” Carson said.
To reach Alison Berg, call 970-871-4229 or email aberg@SteamboatPilot.com.
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