The economic, moral, and environmental ramifications of climate change are not just something we read about anymore–they’re now something we experience on an all-too-regular basis in Boulder County and throughout our state. Whether it’s a 100-year flood that leaves utter destruction in its wake, forest fires which threaten habitats and residents’ homes, the Pine Beetle epidemic, or a shortage of snowpack, climate change is a problem that requires aggressive intervention by our government to solve. There’s a lot we can do as individuals, but even more that we can do together. I’ll fight for proactive solutions to address the systemic problems facing our community and planet right now:
Although fracking is not a separate issue from climate change, it’s important enough to receive its own parallel political and policy strategy. In many ways, Colorado is ground zero in the fight against the unsafe, destructive, and short-sighted fracking boom that we’re seeing in regions across the country. At the absolute minimum, we need stronger statewide regulations that effectively limit where, when, and how fracking can occur in our communities. However, I also think it’s imperative that we give more control to local communities to regulate fracking within their boundaries. Allowing private industry to take what they will without regard for a local community is against the ideals we stand for as Americans.
Although Colorado’s economy has been and continues to be performing better than most states across the country, it’s clear that it’s still not working for all of us. We need an economy that benefits not just the wealthy, but everyone. The most critical change we need to make as a state is to untangle the fiscal knot created by restrictive policies such as TABOR. Aside from this, I’ll support further limiting the latitude of predatory lending institutions–whether it be payday lenders, private student loan companies, or banks. Our government shouldn’t be shy about cracking down on institutions and companies that make unfair profits off of the backs of the workers who allow our state to run each and every day of the year.
I’ll aggressively defend the rights of public and private workers to organize and collectively bargain for working conditions and wages. But, that’s not enough; it’s time we also raise the minimum wage statewide and allow municipalities to increase local minimum wages even higher. Further, nobody should fear losing their job or wages because of being sick. We need stronger requirements that allow workers to use paid sick days and have increased access to affordable childcare.
I believe the fundamental building block of a strong economy and a vibrant democracy is our public education system. However, Colorado ranks right near the bottom in terms of level of investment in k-12 and higher education. Although there are always going to be many areas for improvement in terms of evaluating outcomes, curriculum standards, etc., I think the absolute most pressing issue is increasing funding for our public schools so we can begin investing in more modern classrooms, paying our teachers competitive wages, and adequately funding not just the core, but also programs such as art, music, physical education, etc.
Further, higher education needs to not only be taken off the chopping block for budget cuts, but we need to double-down on the amount of public dollars available for further investment. If we continue to rely on only private dollars and repeated tuition increases, we’re only going to make higher education further and further out of reach from the average Coloradan. Runaway student loans with double-digit interest rates are not the answer and we need to make college more attainable for everyone.
One would think we wouldn’t still be having the conversation about a woman’s access to birth control and the right to make decisions about what’s best for her health and family. But, we are. And that’s why it’s even more critical to have strong voices in the legislature ready to stop conservative politicians from getting in between decisions best left to a woman and her doctor.
Further, we shouldn’t only be standing our ground, but also moving forward and expanding access to comprehensive birth control. For instance, the government should fund the successful and proven program that provides IUDs for low-income women in Colorado. This program is a no brainer–it saves money, reduces teen pregnancies, and reduces the number of abortions.
We’ve made huge strides in the past several years when it comes to treating LGBTQ individuals as equal, respected, and valuable members of our community. However, we must remember that this fight was never only about marriage. Discrimination is very much still a reality for many LGBTQ Coloradans and we need to be steadfast in supporting policies that create a more fair, just, and equal state for everyone, with an extra focus for Transgender Coloradans who often suffer the brunt of discrimination in the healthcare, criminal justice, and education systems.
Additionally, there are still too many racial disparities across our state. People of color make up too high of a portion of the prison population, suffer disproportionally from police brutality, and are much more likely to experience economic disparities. Policies to blunt the negative impacts of gentrification, to increase affordable housing, and to put in place real, tangible criminal justice reforms are in order to create a more fair and just state for everyone.