We envision freedom ringing louder, conservative values reigning victoriously, and democracy thriving throughout Colorado by citizens being actively engaged and educated.


Colorado Citizens Coalition is a non-profit that works to boost civic engagement, inform Coloradans about politics and legislation that uniquely affects them, promote liberty-advancing legislation, and expand conservative values across the state.

Core Values

  • Limited Government
  • Governmental Transparency and Accountability
  • Engaged and Educated Citizens
  • Individual and Economic Freedom


  • Eliminate Government overreach and reduce regulation in favor of individual liberty and personal responsibility.
  • Enable citizens to work together as an informed coalition to make Colorado a conservative state.
  • Ensure the pro-business environment and liberties that matter to Coloradans continue for future generations.
  • Shine a light on governmental actions, either to highlight helpful policies or expose harmful ones.
  • Support legislation that expands personal and economic freedom, making Colorado a better place to live, work, and raise a family.

Meet the Staff

Gary Gates
Founder and President

Gary is active in the Crested Butte, Colorado community and local church, Republican clubs, and the Conservative movement. He’s served as a board member for a Pregnancy Resource Center and is a supporter of Crested Butte Adaptive Sports and the Crested Butte Center for the Arts.

He owns and operates his own business, providing jobs for more than 500 people. With a strong belief in capitalism and a commitment to entrepreneurship, he started and built Gatesco Inc. from the ground up, beginning back in 1986. This business remains today as a family-owned real estate investment company with operations in the Gulf Coast region of Texas. He has extensive experience in the housing industry: he now manages over 7000 apartment units.

Gary owns a home in Crested Butte, Colorado. He is currently attempting to build and manage affordable housing there. Hundreds of employees who keep Crested Butte alive and running have been priced out of the town. The lack of workforce housing sends a negative message to the backbone of the town: “you can work here, but you can’t sleep here.” Gary has a free-market solution to the housing crisis—he has a plan to provide housing for locals without using tax dollars. Unfortunately, government is getting in the way. The Crested Butte local government is resisting the free-market solution; instead, they want control of all workforce housing, and they want to fix the problem through substantial taxpayer funds. Nonetheless, Gary is still pushing through the resistance and red tape because he knows housing is one of the most pressing needs in the area, and he wants to make a difference in the community.

Gary is also a loving husband and proud father. He has been married to his wonderful wife, Melissa, for thirty-six years, and together they have thirteen children, eleven of whom are adopted.

Gary started the non-profit Colorado Citizens Coalition because he has a passion for individual liberty and preserving the Constitution, and it’s a fight he’s engaged in with every facet of his life. He believes a coalition is needed because it takes all of us being actively involved to move our state and country forward. Simply voting every two years and sending elected officials to Denver or D.C. is not enough. We as citizens must stay informed because We the People are in charge and must hold government accountable. Gary desires to provide Colorado citizens a free resource to get useful information about state government from a common sense, conservative perspective.

Hannah Zarr
Executive Director of Operations and Journalist

After graduating Summa Cum Laude and Highest Honors with her B.A. in Journalism and Classical Liberal Arts from Patrick Henry College, Hannah worked and volunteered internationally for a year in the Middle East. Returning to America, she became a resident Fellow at the John Jay Institute in Philadelphia, where she was equipped with the best ideas of human civilization through engagement with conservativism, theology, philosophy, politics, law, art, and culture. She then studied the principles of liberty, rights, and free-market economics at a distinguished seminar in Europe and is currently completing her Master’s degree in Cultural Apologetics. She is excited to put her knowledge into action through conservative journalism and advocacy with Colorado Citizens Coalition.

Kawika Vellalos
Board of Directors and General Counsel

Kawika is licensed to practice law in Hawaii, Virginia, and Texas, and he’s helped clients in those states with a wide spectrum of legal concerns. He’s assisted the Governor of Hawaii and the Supreme Court of Virginia and appeared before various courts. While in Law School, he received the Appellate Advocacy Award and served as an editor for the Regent Journal of Law & Public Policy. He now practices law and advocacy in Texas, and he’s glad he gets to go home every evening to his lovely wife, Bethany, and their two precious children.

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