Murder victim’s mom opens up about running for office

Rhonda Fields talks about son’s legacy and her statehouse campaign

08/19/2010 – KDVR – Rhonda Fields, a woman who has spent a good part of the last five years in courtrooms, is spending Thursday night at the public library.
In a large meeting room, she stands near a wall with her mother, daughter and three granddaughters as other people there to attend the public meeting with her and state Sen. Morgan Carroll begin to file in.

Some of them recognize her face; and most of the people register her name. And that, of course, is all because of what happened to the family member who isn’t there: her son, Javad.

“The hardest thing for me is living without my son,” Fields said. “And if I can live without my son — I just don’t have fear. So that’s what gives me the motivation and the courage to step into this new arena.”

It’s been five years since Javad Marshall Fields, a college graduate who was set to testify as a witness to another murder, was gunned down in his car along with his girlfriend, Vivian Wolfe.

The two men responsible for the murders have been brought to justice and are now on Colorado’s death row. Rhonda Fields, appointed by Gov. Bill Ritter to a state commission on juvenile justice in 2007, has also testified in support of two successful bills to ensure that witnesses to crimes are better protected.

But until a phone call last month from state Rep. Karen Middleton of Aurora, Fields herself never considered running for office herself.
Middleton, a Democrat, recently abandoned her reelection bid in order to take a job in California. Almost immediately, she focused on Fields as a possible replacement. “I had to talk it over with my family, with my employer; I had to really understand what it would mean,” Fields told FOX 31 in her first television interview of her new campaign.

“It wasn’t in my aspirations, but I think all of us as citizens, we have more courage and power in us than we realize,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity for me to represent the people, to represent families, and to have the opportunities to have some bold conversations with people about issues that are important to them.”

Fields, who said she feels like she was born into the Democratic Party, is passionate about issues beyond criminal justice and public safety.

“My passion is about education, taking care of families, making sure people have jobs so they can provide for their families,” said Fields, who is suddenly spending her weeknights soliciting campaign donations on the phone and her weekends walking around Aurora and knocking on doors.

“I’m going to be knocking on doors, I’m going to be talking to voters,” Fields said. “I’m not taking anything for granted about this campaign.”

Fields said that her story helps voters identify and relate to her, but that it doesn’t entitle her to any elected office.

“People might have some doubts, some hesitations, but I don’t,” she said. “But I know I have to earn their trust and their votes and the right to be their voice at the Capitol.

“I don’t want to just be known as the mom. I want to be known as the state representative for House District 42.”