"Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you." - Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Patricia (Trish) Anne Zornio is a Colorado-based scientist and educator running for the U.S. Senate in Colorado, 2020. In a time when facts, reason, and everyday Americans seem to be forgotten, Trish has boldly stepped forward offering a new type of political candidate.
At 33 years old, the journey to a U.S. Senate candidacy began in 2015 when Trish was attending several U.S. Senate hearings in Washington, D.C. During the hearings, Trish came to realize the problems she saw first hand in healthcare, education, and technology existed in part because there weren’t the right experts at the table. She found no scientists on the science committee, and very few senators with practical experience in healthcare, education, or environmental work. There were also committees with only men making healthcare choices for women, and many senators expressed confusion by current technologies that her generation use daily. She also recognized the vast majority of senators were incredibly wealthy, with the youngest person being over 40 years old — a fact that leaves the largest generation in America without any representation.
With her background, Trish spent over two years studying law, economics, foreign policy, and more. She studied campaigns with a fine-toothed comb, and read every campaign finance law and interpretation through the Federal Elections Commission. At the local and state level, she asked for meetings from current legislators to assist them with policy research and development, helping quietly behind the scenes, all on the side of her work at the university. Then, in mid 2017 she set out on an ambitious statewide exploratory tour, determined to hit all 64-counties to show the people of Colorado she was not only serious, but that she truly wanted to know what they needed most.
Today, Trish has visited 63 out of 64 counties and met with thousands of Coloradans. She has given dozens of talks on the role of science in policy and is actively working on a book. Trish continues her legislative efforts at the Colorado State Capitol and mentors other scientists in the legislative process. She also still teaches several courses at the University of Colorado Denver, namely behavioral neuroscience and research methodology, while continuing to mentor students in their academic pursuits.
But Trish wasn’t always a scientist…
Trish was born in the rural mountains of Northern New Hampshire, better known as the "Live Free or Die" state. Raised in a small town miles away from any urban center, much like many areas in Colorado, Trish grew up roaming the woods and rivers around a house her father built. A conservative, religious upbringing in an immigrant family (her father immigrated as a child from France/Italy), Trish was the first in her family to receive an advanced college degree. In her aspirations to climb the academic ladder, Trish spent years working on the side throughout college and graduate school, as even with several scholarships and a small college fund, the rising costs of college meant she had to pay much of her own way and/or taking on small student loans. Moreover, her father had lost his job while she was in high school as the local pulp and paper mill had closed, and the family was still getting back up on its feet after an economic downturn and difficult divorce. Yet in college, Trish thrived, ultimately working her way up to a position at the Stanford University School of Medicine, an achievement that delighted her grandmother the most and who notoriously once remarked, “This is why I came to this country… a better life for my family. I can die happy!”
This experience left Trish with an intense passion to make it easier for others like her to find success. In the last decade, she has watched as the middle class — herself included — continues to shrink while the richest Americans become richer and richer. As a Millennial, Trish knows the financial disadvantages such as the rising costs of college and housing, increasing living costs with stagnant wages, and a lack of affordable access to healthcare. From her scientific background, Trish is also deeply concerned for the lasting effects of climate change and a lack of comprehensive data security as they impact national security and the next generations.
Trish currently lives in Superior, Colorado and is a lecturer, researcher, and speaker. She is penning her first non-fiction book, and additionally served as the Lead Coordinator for a Colorado STEM & Policy Research initiative, Advisor for the 500 Women Scientists Youth Pod in Boulder County, the Principal Director of CoMusica (a community music program she founded in 2013 in Boulder County), and as the Lead Coordinator for 314 Action Colorado Chapter, a nonprofit aimed at transitioning scientists into policy. She currently teaches at the University of Colorado Denver and has previously worked in research at the University of Colorado Boulder, Denver Health Hospital, and the Stanford University School of Medicine. As a scientist who passionately believes in applying evidence-based solutions to policy, Trish is actively running for the U.S. Senate in Colorado, 2020.