On the Issues
Environment & Energy
I accept the scientific consensus on man-made climate change, and will use my position to expedite development of renewable energy and protect our environment from pollutants. Our government should prioritize air quality control and environmental protection when they are odds with short-term profits.
Climate science denial in government at this point is unforgivable.
It's astonishing that we have political figures in this state who continue to deny this crisis and its human origins, even while we're choking on the haze of record-breaking wildfires, getting poisoned by elevated levels of ozone and other hazardous toxins, and dealing with the fallout of worsening 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. Oil and gas developers need to be held accountable for their environmental impact on our beautiful state.
We also cannot continue to expose ourselves to dangerous ozone and particulate levels every summer, especially for the sake of children and other vulnerable persons. The long-term effects of these hazards are difficult to measure, but it won’t be free or easy to deal with and the suffering is avoidable.
Public education is a public good, not a private commodity. It strengthens our communities and our democracy, and should be fully funded for all Coloradans.
Public school teachers in Colorado are among the lowest paid in the country. 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 greatly 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, or be censored 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 air quality, wildlife, and the natural environment, and promote public safety. 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 often budget for cheaper versions of 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 reduces premiums and helps rural hospitals stay open, and a standardized plan on the individual market that will bring down costs more. 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 complex and multifaceted problem, but every viable path forward involves putting our government to work for us, not continuing to allow a profit-driven market to decide by itself who will and will not not keep a roof over their heads.
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. Much of what needs to change in order to produce enough housing, and ensure it stays affordable, rests in local government, but the state’s spending and regulatory measures are indispensable. I’ll be watching closely to see what’s accomplished in the 2022 session and go from there.
In my work as a housing ambassador with a local non-profit, I developed a whole binder of resources: transitional housing and shelters, charity-based assistance, income-qualified rent that you can get on a list for, and more. 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, marked by constant struggle. It doesn’t change the fact that a good third of our population is underpaid and overworked, struggling with ever increasing costs, and trying to get by in a legal system that overwhelmingly sides with landlords and lenders.
Correcting the power imbalance between landlords and tenants is a critical piece of housing justice. As a renter myself, and in advocating for my neighbors, I’ve seen it all -- independent owners with a small number of properties who were great, and those who were terrible; corporate property managers who hold up their end of the bargain, and those who left the property in disrepair, or taken over by mold and roaches.
I aim to forward legislation that will promote fairness in leasing and resolution of disputes, 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 foundational principle of this country. Thankfully, despite the efforts of some anti-democratic politicians, Coloradans enjoy a level of election security 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 attempting to overturn an election, diminishing voting rights wherever they’re afraid of losing, and even breaking our longstanding tradition of a peaceful transition of power between Presidential administrations.
Recent bills proposed in our state legislature show that those individuals would like nothing better than to shrink the electorate in Colorado in an 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 public refusal to accept the results.
I consider it an honor and a privilege to go out into our community and win the votes, and be a representative for all people in our community. 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 disproportionately 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.
There is so much more to public health and safety than punishment. We're already spending large sums of tax payer dollars reacting to problems. At some point, we have to start putting those dollars into more proactive and constructive expenditures.
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.