Inspired By Colorado’s Pioneer Spirit

Colorado’s ever evolving business and culture requires an experienced touch.

Here’s where we begin.

First, you should know I am a fierce advocate for public education and will always stand for our public school teachers and our students, because I have done this all my life. I am the only candidate in this race with children who attended K-12 Denver Public Schools — Dora Moore Elementary, George Washington High School and East High School.

I grew up on a ranch in Montana with no plumbing. Because of a strong public education and through my service in the military, I was able to have the opportunity to afford college and eventually graduate from the DU School of Law. When elected, I will fight everyday to make a strong public education available for all Coloradans.  A strong public education system is the great leveler of opportunity between the rich and poor in our society. It is the best tool we have to address wealth disparity in our Nation and should be cherished.

I know the foundation of a strong education is not just in school funding – but in developing, retaining and empowering high quality educators across Colorado and investing in their success. We must value their role as the spark of curiosity among our next generation and support their unified voice on behalf of our children in our community and the halls of Colorado’s legislature. After all, few people spend more time with our children than teachers – and it’s imperative that we have the best in Colorado’s classrooms.

While the cost-of-living in our state has dramatically increased, teacher pay has lagged. In 2019, teacher pay in Colorado was determined to be the least competitive in the nation.  This is a formula for destruction of our public schools.

As your voice in the State House, I will work to:

  • Increase teacher pay so we can attract the best educators to Colorado 
  • Ensure our classrooms have fewer students to encourage individualized care and goal setting.
  • Fill our public classrooms with the most up-to-date technology.

I will fight to properly fund K-12 and Higher Education as your new member of the Colorado House of Representatives. And I won’t let the archaic limitations of TABOR and Gallagher stop our students from maximizing their potential. When elected, I will work with our fellow Democratic lawmakers to lead the charge in retiring TABOR and other falsehoods veiled in legislation which have been told to Coloradans.

As a small business owner myself, I believe tax increases should be rare and justified. But Colorado has grown far too large to justify a statewide question each time we seek to raise teacher and first responder wages to stay competitive nationally.

Our children, our educators, and their future employers deserve our best effort to provide meaningful, world-class learning experiences. As your next representative in Colorado, I’ll make sure we get it done.

Once our children graduate from our DPS system, they need avenues that lead to success. Some want to pursue higher learning. We must provide for these students by having affordable, high quality state colleges and universities. We cannot have our children entering the workplace burdened with crushing, unconquerable debt. For those who do not seek higher education we must provide opportunities to enter careers that will support them and their families through apprenticeships like those offered by the unions and internships.

Protecting the environment and swiftly tackling climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing our planet. In 2019, the Colorado State Legislature made huge strides in reducing greenhouse emissions. HB 19-1261 puts us on a path for a zero-carbon future by reducing our carbon pollution 26% by 2025, 50% by 2030, and by 90% by 2050. In Denver and across the state, we still have work to do to reduce the brown cloud, and ensuring our local businesses can seamlessly meet the challenges ahead.

As your representative, I will introduce legislation to restore incentives that convert us to renewable energy. I will vigorously oppose laws like the one in Nevada that taxes renewable conversion and makes it unaffordable. Here in Colorado, we are proud of our clear mountain air, our beautiful mountains, our sandstone formations, and our streams. Burning fossil fuels is a major threat to all of these, especially our air. We already have a brown cloud but the invisible particulate caused by fossil fuels is even more dangerous. If renewables were receiving the same tax breaks as fossil fuels receive, or if the fossil fuel incentives were removed, renewables would be comparable in cost. I would work to level the playing field for renewable energy.

Everyone in Colorado deserves clean water to drink and clean air to breath.  Ensuring a clean and healthy environment and protecting our public lands is a common goal of most Coloradans., and most recognize that we must do our part to reduce our carbon footprints.  When we are faced with issues that impact our environment we are faced with a common problem.  We must learn to collaboratively devise workable pragmatic solutions and not simply form positions and try to force them through. We must recognize that simple solutions lead to unintended consequences. For example, banning fossil fuels will create a hardship for those who currently own gas furnaces. We must find a way to allow them to use gas for the remainder of their furnace’s life or subsidize their replacement costs. As a mediator for over 30 years, I have the skillset to bridge the divide that is too often preventing us from having all hands on deck to protect our environment in a meaningful way and solve many of the other issues that face our State.

For many people, the key to achieving the American Dream is to one day own their own small business or have the security of a good paying job that comes with a strong union. I strongly support the right to organize and form a union and believe organized labor, along with small business, is the backbone of the entrepreneurial spirit of our country. Together, we can strengthen the middle class and ensure local entrepreneurs can compete with big box stores.

Small business has never been harder to define. From tax accountants to doordashers, Denver’s entrepreneurial community is famous for supporting new ideas to establish our financial stability and innovating a better future for Coloradans. For example, my daughter and I run a small family-owned business where we sell innovative products to brain researchers all over the world. I’m proud of my daughter’s work in this business and will fight everyday to do more to enable women and minority-owned businesses to flourish by making it easier for people like her, young entrepreneurs, to start their own small business — and to put into place new incentives that enhance startups.

But first, we must level the playing field for working and middle class families by ensuring our laws allow small businesses to compete with big box stop stores.  The recent stimulus package that benefited CEO’s and large corporations is one example of how our current economy is rigged against small business owners and middle class Americans. A one size fits all approach does not fit all when drafting legislation. Living in HD6 for over 40 years, I’ve met many small business owners and one recurring theme is how little our legislature pays attention to how the laws we pass affect small businesses. When I am elected, I will work to make sure that Colorado’s local HVAC, plumber, and similar trade professionals are considered by our lawmakers when enacting new legislation so they can compete against large, national chains and help Colorado’s small business community grow into a robust point of local pride.

Healthcare is the number one cause of bankruptcy in the United States. In Colorado, we value people. And we don’t believe you should lose your retirement savings and your home just because you get sick. Health care is not a luxury, it is a necessity, and it should be accessible to every person regardless of economic status.

As the current administration is seeking to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, it is pushing what is rightly called “junk insurance,” that is insurance that offers almost no coverage, has high deductibles, and too many exclusions. In fact, the only thing these insurance policies offer is a false sense of security. When I am your representative, I will insist that any company wishing to do business in Colorado offer coverage that is comprehensive and affordable. I will also vote to increase penalties on companies that deny or delay claims.

Additionally, healthcare is often the largest cost for small businesses. Many people who dream of being an entrepreneur and small business owner are hamstrung by the ever increasing cost of healthcare. When the cost of healthcare has such drastic effects on our economy – we are doing it wrong. I will work to find solutions to ensure older citizens and their families are able to obtain quality and affordable healthcare.

I will take the fight to bullies like Rocky Mountain Gun Owners and enact hardline measures to protect our children and families from gun violence. We need to continue bold leadership on this front to support common-sense bills like the Deputy Parrish Red Flag Law named after a Douglas County deputy murdered by an unstable Coloradan with free access to purchase and use any gun he wished.

When elected, I will support common-sense gun violence prevention legislation by:

  1. Passing legislation that requires gun owners to report the loss or theft of firearms.
  2. Enacting a 3-day waiting period for all gun purchases.
  3. Passing legislation requiring gun owners to purchase insurance policies for their guns to ensure that if a weapon is used to hurt an innocent person, that person has the opportunity to receive compensation.

A good step made by our legislature this year was the end of the death penalty, but we still have a lot of work to do in criminal justice reform. A big piece of this involves rebuilding trust with our community police departments and ensuring officers have the proper training and resources to be effective in our community.

When elected, I will work to support several key criminal justice reforms in Colorado that will show our community that Black Lives Matter.

Mass incarceration is defined by the high rate of imprisonment among young, African American men living in neighborhoods of concentrated disadvantage. These incarceration rates weaken lower income families and keep people socially marginalized with the systemic racism existing in our country.

The school to prison pipeline is the criminalizing of behaviors in a school setting or of persons of school age, because inadequate school funding renders the classrooms too large for a teacher to control, much less teach. When funds are inadequate, counselors and special education gets cut. The education environment deteriorates. As the classroom and the school become harder to handle, schools have turned to zero tolerance policies and school resource officers (essentially police) to clamp down on behavior. Disciplinary actions for minor offenses turn into suspensions and expulsions rather than interventions.

Finally, when elected, I will address private prisons. Of the prison population in the In The United States, in 2016, 8.5% of the inmates were incarcerated in private, for profit prisons. From 2000 to 2016, the private prison population increased at a rate of five times that of normal prisons. In Colorado, the rate of private prison incarceration increased by almost 70% from 2000 to 2016. Private prisons cut costs in order to offer returns to owners and shareholders. As a result, the correction officers and other staff are paid an average of $23k less than public officers. They tend to be less well trained.

All these issues go hand-in-hand. When I am elected I will work to bring criminal justice reform by:

  1. Revising overly harsh mandatory minimum drug sentencing
  2. Diverting substance abusers to treatment
  3. Limiting or eliminating the use of private prisons.
  4. Finding creative ways to ensure fairness and equity for all students no matter what situation  they are in – poverty, disabled, or students of color.

Colorado has led the nation in LGBTQ equality and when elected, I will fight tooth and nail to protect the gains we’ve made in the LGBTQ Community and advance legislation that expands the health and well-being of our LGBTQ neighbors and families.

Some of the issues I will work on include:

  • Adding Gender Identity and Expression to Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act
  • House Bill 20-1061 HIV Infection Prevention Medications Bill to help eradicate AIDS
  • Gay and Trans Panic Defense Ban to abolish the act of someone citing someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity as the casual factor for a defendant’s violent reaction.

Additionally, we must protect and expand a woman’s right to choose and ensure that women and their doctors are the ones deciding what is best for them. I oppose Initiative 120 as an intrusion on a woman’s privacy and a violation of women’s right to self determination. And I stand against “crisis pregnancy centers” — fake healthcare centers that don’t use science based data and shame women about their reproductive health options. I’ll fight to ensure women have full access to the form of birth control they and their doctors feel is best for their situation, and that it is fully covered by insurance.

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