He’s been a theoretical physicist, a financial software executive and a candidate for governor of California. But to Coloradans, Ron Unz wants to be known as the man who saved a generation of immigrant children from dead-end lives.

Unz calls himself politically conservative but pro-immigrant.

He was born in Los Angeles in 1961 and showed an early talent for science: He was a Westinghouse science contest winner. After studying physics at Harvard, Cambridge and Stanford he founded Wall Street Analytics, a financial-services software provider, in New York in 1988. Unz says public policy attracted him, and he ran an unsuccessful proimmigration campaign for governor of California in 1994.

He then decided to make himself an expert on bilingual education and set out to meet the country’s leading bilingual-education experts.

He says those briefings only deepened his impression of such programs: “They’re crazy and they don’t work.” Unz largely self-financed his ballot initiatives in California in 1998 and Arizona in 2000. But the campaigns were relatively cheap, he says, because his publicity came mainly from news coverage.

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