The tensions caused by growth and development in House District 5 are one of the greatest challenges we face. It is critical that we plan for an influx of new residents while maintaining the integrity of our communities. I support identifying ways that we can be more proactive about the rapid growth that Colorado is experiencing and find smarter ways to make it work for everyone and ensuring that no one is priced out of their community. All options are on the table: rent control, more investment in public housing assistance, tiny house communities, not taxing manufactured homes, relaxed regulations on accessory dwelling units, more development, dense housing, more construction defects reform, and incentives for building affordable units. We must work to reduce housing costs while simultaneously respecting the rights of the people living in areas affected by changing neighborhoods.
Access to healthcare is a fundamental human right, and it is the responsibility of the state to ensure equitable access to quality, affordable healthcare. I am horrified that 50% of all bankruptcies in the U.S. are related to medical bills. That means that we and our families are just one accident or one diagnosis away from potentially losing everything we’ve worked for our entire lives.
A few proposals I’ve considered that I think are worth exploring more are:
• Universal healthcare and expanding access to Medicaid • Providing greater financial support for community clinics, especially in mountain communities that have a high cost of care and many un- or underinsured • Implementing a single geographic rating area for the entire state • Implementing a reinsurance pool to lower the cost of premiums • Pushing for greater transparency in drug pricing structures • Expanding options for catastrophic plans
Our economy will ultimately transition to 100% clean energy. My decade of experience working as a policy advocate in the solar industry gives me the experience and knowledge to understand the benefits of clean energy and how best to manage that transition. As a state legislator, I will support measures to enable the technology and innovation we need to make our energy system cleaner, cheaper and more resilient. At the same time, it is imperative that we take into account workers, families and communities that are affected by the transition to cleaner energy and ensure that they have the support and retraining they need to continue to thrive.
Population growth and lack of funding has strained the state’s transportation infrastructure almost to the breaking point. Given that the gas tax hasn’t increased since 1991, it might be worthwhile to consider increasing it to help fund transportation projects. I absolutely do not support the privatization of our roads to provide funding. Instead, we should direct our resources toward making public transportation networks more robust so they can be better utilized by working people who do not own (or want to own) personal vehicles.
Adequate funding for education is one of the biggest issues facing our state. As the daughter of a Colorado public school teacher, the product of Colorado public schools, and a parent to a two-year-old who will one day attend Colorado public schools, I know how important a good education is to a good future for our citizens and our state. Every school should have the tools and the funding they need to adequately pay their teachers and to provide the highest quality education to every student.
Unfortunately, the state’s ability to fund public and higher education is hamstrung by TABOR which limits the legislature’s ability to increase taxes to fund critical programs like public and higher education. As a result, Colorado is 42nd in the nation for school funding and 50th in the country for competitiveness of teacher salaries. We can and should do better.
As a renewable energy advocate who has worked across the country in nearly twenty states as well as Guam, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., I have worked with people from many different backgrounds and political parties. I know that I do not completely agree with everyone but I do believe that I can find shared values in common with nearly everyone. I use those shared values to then discuss desired outcomes (which often align) and potential solutions (which often don’t). And then I work with them to compromise and find a way to yes—to the desired outcome.
America’s astronomically high rate of gun ownership and incidences of mass shootings correlates with some of the weakest laws about who may buy a gun and what sorts of guns may be owned. I support commonsense policies that will allow for responsible gun ownership but limit gun violence. These include:
• A permit-to-purchase policy that requires people to obtain a permit that is contingent on passing a background check before they are allowed to buy a firearm
• Policies that keep firearms out of the hands of perpetrators of domestic violence
• Denying firearms to those with convictions for violent misdemeanors
• Requiring gun manufacturers to be liable for consumer safety so that they are incented to improve safety measures
• Banning ‘bump stocks’ like those used in the Las Vegas shooting
• Banning anything that converts a semiautomatic weapon to an automatic one
• Banning bulk gun purchases
• Tracking the sale of ammunition
• Requiring gun permits and regular training classes to keep those permits
Our state has a responsibility to protect all residents from unfair persecution. The United States has always been the land of promise and no place better exemplifies that than Colorado. Nearly one in 10 people in Colorado is an immigrant and those immigrants brought $10.8 billion in spending power, paid $3.3 billion in taxes, and employed more than 83,000 people in Colorado in 2015.
But supporting immigrants is more than just the smart economic thing to do, it’s the right thing to do as well. Forcing residents to live in the shadows, to deny them access to education, healthcare, or employment is not only unfair, but it hurts our state. Immigrants in Colorado are seeking a better life for themselves and their families, and contribute greatly to our state.
As your representative I would:
*Support a path to citizenship for law-abiding families who live in the state of Colorado
*Work for policies that help defend DREAMERs from deportation
*Push to make Colorado a sanctuary state
*Work with my colleagues from around the state to bring together local governments, the public, and the immigrant and refugee community to ensure that our state is equipped to address issues that come with the settlement of immigrants, including exploring the possibility of creating a state office focused on the needs of immigrant and refugee communities.
I am strongly pro-choice and believe that access to reproductive healthcare is as fundamental a right as access to all healthcare and should never be infringed upon. As the only woman in this race, this is an issue that is deeply personal for me, and it is one of the reasons I identify so strongly with the Democratic Party. It is the responsibility of the state to ensure access to prenatal care, particularly for teens and women of limited means. As funding for family planning and reproductive healthcare continues to be under threat from Washington, it is incumbent upon us in Colorado to ensure funding is made available and access to facilities is ensured to protect the health of our citizens.
Economic justice is an incredibly important tenet of social justice. I believe that there is a significant role for government to play in creating rules and institutions that help ensure everyone has the opportunity to work, create and live a productive, successful life. If a system is set up to support a few (i.e. the 1%) at the expense of the many (i.e. everyone else) then it is not functioning properly. I am concerned that corporations are being treated better than people and that we are in a cycle whereby wealth begets power and wealth while the rest of us are left behind, fighting to survive. I believe that it is the role of the government to help level the playing field, so to speak, and set up a system in which everyone has the opportunity to prosper.
Many Colorado communities are becoming too expensive for low-income workers to live there. I strongly support implementing a living wage, collective bargaining, best value contracting that takes into account livable wages and benefits, and other policies to help workers in my district and our state. Inadequate wages and benefits aren’t enough if people still can’t afford to live in their communities though, and I want to aggressively pursue affordable housing options to help drive down the cost of living.
Plain and simple, LGBTQ Coloradans should be entitled to all legal and anti-discrimination protections as every Coloradan. I am proud of all the legal protections already in place to protect the rights of our LGBTQ community and as a legislator I will work to ensure there is no infringement of these rights. Further, I would support a measure to finally outlaw conversion therapy on minors.
Although Colorado’s legislators have been able to get around some TABOR restrictions and preserve the basic functionality of many services, the fact remains that TABOR severely limits our ability to fund critical programs like education, transportation, housing and healthcare. We are overdue for a bipartisan examination of TABOR’s effectiveness and its place (if any) in our future.
Our campaign is grassroots-based with a focus on engaging the community in new, creative ways. We rely on existing structures within our community to welcome and engage new folks, including monthly neighborhood meet-ups at local businesses and traditional door-to-door outreach. When I am elected, we will continue these community-focused efforts to ensure that every voice is heard and that every person counts.
In order to support low-income Coloradans, the state needs to do a number of things. First of all, people need to be able to access quality housing without paying as much as 50% of their incomes in rent. Also, workers deserve a fair and equitable wage—not just a minimum wage but a living wage. Corporations should not be allowed to take advantage of workers by underpaying them, thereby forcing workers to disproportionately take advantage of state support programs. Corporations who underpay workers should be required to pay a penalty. The state also needs to fund the development of effective alternative transportation options so that low-income workers who can’t afford to purchase a car can still get to work. At the same time, workers should have access to paid family leave so that they can take the time they need to care for themselves or their family in the event of an emergency without worrying how they will continue to pay the bills and whether they’ll lose their jobs. Finally, immigration justice is an important part of economic justice because forcing workers and families into a shadow economy increases the chances that they can be taken advantage of. The state can take a number of measures such as some of the ones outlined above in order to help work toward immigration justice.
Labor unions protect the middle class AND the working class. We need to support more efforts aimed at helping those who are not college-bound, or are changing careers, find careers and not just jobs. Labor apprenticeship programs are one of the best examples of efforts to help those in the trades start successful careers. The state has, in the last few years, funded some grant programs that have helped apprenticeships grow and I would continue to support those efforts, along with others that expand apprenticeship availability.
I also support unions because they do incredible work in the realm of social justice and in narrowing the gender wage gap by paying their workers equal salaries based on job function, not gender.