Michael Merrifield is a long-time resident of the Pikes Peak region. Having raised a son and a daughter, he now lives in downtown Colorado Springs. Michael was born in Ottawa, Kansas in 1947. He attended the University of Arizona as both an undergraduate and a graduate student. He earned his Master’s degree in Music Education.
Michael is a retired teacher, former small business owner, former City Council member, family man, and outdoor enthusiast. He has long enjoyed mountain biking and backcountry skiing and has worked to preserve the qualities that make Colorado a great place to live.
Merrifield operated two successful businesses: a theatre production company in Arizona and The Annex, an espresso bar, in downtown Manitou Springs. He sold each business in order to pursue other interests, but these experiences gave Michael a first-hand perspective into the rewards and challenges of being a small business owner.
From 1996 to 2000, Michael served as an elected member of the Manitou Springs City Council, where he co-authored a bond initiative to purchase areas along Fountain Creek that became open space trails and a skateboard park. He is also a past board member of the Trails and Open Space (TOSP) Coalition and currently serves on its advocacy committee.
Michael was elected to the Colorado House of Representatives for District 18 in 2002. Merrifield had been the first Democrat elected to the legislature from El Paso County in over a dozen years, and he was proud to open two outreach centers to facilitate communication with his constituents. Michael served as HD 18 Representative until he was term-limited. While in the State House, he served as Chair of the House Education Committee and also served on the Transportation and Energy committee and the Local Government committee.
Because of his ability to work effectively with all members of the state legislature, Michael was able to secure the passage of dozens of important bills. Here are some brief summaries of a few of the bills he carried while a Colorado State Representative: He assured protection for grieving families from protestors at funerals; he expanded the free and reduced lunch program for poor children; he expanded CHP+ (health care) to more than 50,000 poor children; he gave more power to tenants in dealing with slumlords; he created restorative justice alternatives for juvenile offenders; he devised legislation that allowed Colorado Springs to purchase Section 16 from the State Land Board; and he introduced a bill that required that the Arts be considered in a Colorado school district’s graduation requirements.
In November 2014, Michael was elected to the Colorado State Senate from the 11th District.