On the Issues
Environment & Energy
I accept the scientific consensus on man-made climate change, and will use my position to ramp up development of renewable energy and protect our air, water, and soil from pollutants.
Climate science denial in government at this point is unforgivable.
It is appalling to me that we continue to have political figures in this state who deny that this crisis is even occurring, even while we are choking on the haze of record-breaking wildfires, feeling the effects of increased ozone and other hazardous toxins in the air, and dealing with the fallout of climate-impacted environmental disasters.
I fully support the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction roadmap, and look forward to defending and accelerating our efforts to get Colorado on all-renewable energy.
P-20 Education is an essential public good that strengthens our communities and our democracy, and should be fully funded for all Coloradans. Public dollars should go to public schools, and no charter should be able to skirt the standards that we require of our neighborhood schools.
Public school teachers in Colorado are among the lowest paid in the country, after adjusting for cost of living. A statewide educator pay raise fund, and a higher first year wage for new teachers, would be good measures to address this. Attracting and retaining dedicated teachers is well worth the investment, and also ensures that teachers are able to live where they work.
I also respect the academic integrity and professionalism of our educators in regards to teaching difficult topics -- from history to health education to the sciences -- and believe we should always follow the best available evidence and emphasize critical thinking skills and a broad, pluralistic worldview that does justice to our diverse and multicultural country. Teachers should not be forced to portray a particular vision of our country to suit a partisan political agenda.
Coloradans need more viable transportation choices than our car-centric model allows for. I support Front Range rail and robust investment in regional public transit.
Public transit studies indicate that more people will begin to use public transportation voluntarily when run times are about fifteen minutes apart, and full service is available throughout nights and weekends. This is the kind of robust investment in transit infrastructure that we need to be making if we’re going to take on a growing population and balance our immediate needs against our long term sustainability, as well as our responsibility to protect wildlife and the natural environment. There’s also a return on our investment to be considered. Every dollar invested in public transportation generates up to $4 in economic return.
Transportation equity is also closely tied to our housing challenges, and the interaction between the two has to be considered every step of the way.
Healthcare is a right -- it’s a basic human need that should be covered for absolutely everyone, regardless of who they are, where they’re from, or how much money they have, in order to ensure their right to live.
Healthcare simply does not function well as a market good, and one needn't even be anti-capitalist in order to see why. The demand for healthcare is not like other kinds of demand in a market setting. It is non-negotiable and often extremely time-sensitive. You need what you need, when you need it, in order to carry on living. We can all budget for cheaper versions of most other essentials, like food and clothing. But we can't decide which illnesses or injuries we'll need to have treated, or when that need will arise, and budget accordingly.
We’ve made some progress on this in Colorado, with a re-insurance program that helps rural hospitals stay open, and a standardized plan on the individual market that will bring down costs. But there’s still a lot more we can do, and we can’t afford to wait for a Federal single-payer plan.
This is a deeply complicated, multifaceted problem, but the first step is fairly obvious: we need to put our government to work for us, and stop allowing a profit-driven market to be the sole arbiter of who does and does not get to be housed.
Some gains have been made in recent legislative sessions to give local government more tools, such as inclusionary zoning and permitting creative uses for untapped resources like publicly owned lands and underutilized motels. In my work as a housing ambassador with a local non-profit, I have a binder of resources: transitional housing or shelters, charity-based assistance, income-qualified rent that you can get on a list for. These kinds of resources are great, but the most we can do with them is offer patchy relief to select individuals in an environment that is, on the whole, unsustainable for a whole population of underpaid workers with ballooning living expenses.
Underpinning this unstable situation is a power imbalance between landlords and tenants that simply can’t be overstated. As a renter myself, I’ve run the whole gamut of landlords -- independent owners with a small number of properties who were great, and those who were terrible; property managers who hold up their end of the bargain, and managers who left the property in disrepair, or taken over by mold and roaches. There are those who do the right thing without having to be coerced, and those who need to have consequences for willful negligence.
I aim to forward legislation that will level the playing field for people who rent their home and the landlords who lease to them, and promote mutually beneficial relationships between the two.
Voting Rights & Democracy
Governments get their legitimacy from the consent of the governed, a principle foundational to the establishment of this country, despite our founding generation’s imperfect application. Thankfully, here in Colorado, we at least have an election system and voter rights protections that are second to none.
But we have gone down a dangerous path toward authoritarianism in this country recently, with one major political party and its base attempting to steal elections, diminishing voting rights wherever they’re worried they’ll lose, and even breaking our longstanding tradition of a peaceful transition of power between Presidential administrations. One participant in the insurrection at our capital on January 6th, 2021 is still a sitting member of the Colorado General Assembly. This is unacceptable.
Recent bills proposed by Republicans in our state legislature show that they would like nothing better than to shrink the electorate in Colorado in a sad attempt to win back power that the people are not interested in granting them. They are also more than willing to tout the Big Lie about the 2020 election, and pander to an unfounded belief in “massive voter fraud” -- a belief which exists specifically because of their own refusal to accept the results.
I consider it an honor and a privilege to go out into our community and win the votes. Public trust in government is not meant to be awarded to the ruthless; it is meant to be earned through conversation, compassion, and cooperative action. This is how I intend to run, and to serve.
Criminal Justice Reform
Government intervention into ordinary people’s private lives and behavior should be strictly limited to that which is necessary to protect others from being harmed. Punitive incarceration is not making us safer, and comes at a higher cost, morally and economically, than restorative and rehabilitative methods.
Constitutional rights to due process and freedom from warrantless search and seizure should be fairly applied to all. Unfortunately, for too long, we’ve perpetuated a policing model that was born in slave patrols and has been repeatedly wielded against communities of color.
I support limiting arrests and jail sentencing for non-violent crimes, and leaning into more restorative methods of correcting problem behaviors.
Black Lives Matter. The phrase has caught on because it needs to be said.
Like many Americans, I received a largely whitewashed education that skimmed over, or skipped entirely, unflattering events and patterns that reveal our great nation’s dark side: a vein of white supremacy and anti-black racism that is so deeply embedded in our institutions, it is impossible to tell the American story without grappling with it. It is our core injury as a nation, and one that will take more than token gestures to truly heal.
I believe it’s the responsibility of all real patriots, of all skin colors, creeds, and walks of life, to stand in solidarity with Black Americans’ struggle for justice and equality, not because we don’t love our country, but because we love it very much. To quote journalist Adam Serwer: “The American creed has no more devoted adherents than those who have been historically denied its promises."
As a white American this is not an issue I am qualified to lead on, so I defer to and support the goals of Black leaders and communities who know better than I do. Common themes include: ending the war on drugs that was conceived specifically to disenfranchise Black citizens; protecting and maintaining voting rights; and investing fewer public dollars in excessive policing and diverting those funds to true investment in communities of color.