WHY I AM RUNNING FOR HOUSE DISTRICT 18 REPRESENTATIVE
We have a wonderful quality of life here in House District 18 with our incredible open spaces and trails and a thriving economy of small businesses and entrepreneurs. We are a diverse community of amazing people who support and genuinely care for each other. For 24 years my wife Kelly and I have lived, worked and raised our kids in this district that we are fortunate to call our home. I am proud to have led the effort with countless others to build and maintain this wonderful quality of life.
I am running because now more than ever we have to roll up our sleeves and work tirelessly to preserve and promote our community’s shared values and interests. Several issues, here in Colorado and beyond, are increasingly threatening our way of life that we so cherish. As your State Representative, I am committed to using all of the experience and knowledge that I have gained through my 20 plus years in public service to address these issues and to create an exciting future for both House District 18 and the State of Colorado!
By many measures, Colorado has the strongest and fastest growing economy of any state in the country. Yet we are falling further and further behind in funding for education and transportation. Approximately one half of the school districts in our state have been forced into four day school weeks. Funding for higher education has fallen by 50% over the last 20 years. Less than a third of Colorado high school graduates go on to earn 4 year college degrees. We need to invest in vocational and apprenticeship training that will give young people the skills needed for the jobs of today and in the future. Despite recent modest funding increases, the backlog of needed transportation and infrastructure improvements continues to grow.
We must seriously address TABOR reform now. There are parts of TABOR the we should keep in place. Everyone, especially governments, should maintain a balanced budget. But several draconian TABOR provisions hamstring our ability to meet the needs of a growing population and an expanding economy. We must pursue every available option to sustainably fund these critical needs.
We should all be proud that Colorado continues to lead the nation in addressing the health care crisis. We expanded Medicaid before the adoption of the ACA and created an exchange that serves as a model for other states. Yet heath care and insurance costs continue to skyrocket with seemingly no end in sight.
We need a Colorado public option for heath care needs now. Only by increasing the pool of insured can we achieve the economy of scale necessary to drive down costs. A public option is the only way to insert competition into the marketplace and force private providers and insurers into competitive business practices.
Colorado currently spends more on the Department of Corrections than we do on higher education. We have become a state of mass incarceration. We lock up too many people for too long a sentence. Some minority communities have incarceration rates over 7 times that of non-minority populations, which devastates families and communities.
We need criminal justice reform now. Our focus must be on rehabilitation, restorative practices and skills training that will allow offenders who have served their time and successfully completed their parole a fair opportunity to re-enter society.
The 2012 Waldo Canyon fire and the resulting flash flooding are clear examples of how vulnerable we are to the effects of climate change. Colorado is a leader in all forms of energy production. We must also be a leader in carbon reduction and environmental conservation. It is our responsibility to leave a clean and healthy environment for future generations.
Addressing these issues will be my top priorities if I am elected to represent House District 18. Our greatest asset is our many smart, talented and engaged citizens who are willing to work toward together for a better future. Between now and next November’s election, I hope to hear from as many district residents, voters and taxpayers as possible. I need to learn from you what are your most pressing issues and challenges so that I can most effectively address your needs in the Colorado House of Representatives. Working together there is no limit to what we can accomplish.
Thank you for your time.