We are blessed with a growing economy in Colorado, where we benefit from a hard-working, highly educated, highly employed population. Unfortunately, we’re struggling to make sure that those who need growth the most are getting their fair share. It is a travesty that we are cutting budgets for vital services like transportation and education because of the constraints that TABOR puts on the state budget. Many of our solutions must start there, and I am very supportive of the initiatives put forward to De-Bruce our state budget.
Furthermore, I will work to ensure that Colorado is a friendly place to start, maintain and grow a business, but this does not mean pursuing unfettered growth. Instead, we need to strike a thoughtful balance between incentivizing business growth, protecting Colorado’s precious natural resources, and guaranteeing the rights of employees, employers, and customers. As an experienced business owner with roots both in urban and rural parts of Colorado, when I speak to the Senate on matters of business and development, I will speak from personal and professional experience, not theory.
We need to ensure that all Coloradans have a job that they’re proud of and that businesses will look to Colorado as a place where their employees can work, live, and play for a lifetime. This includes strong protections for Unions, the rights of workers to be paid a living wage, and the benefits workers deserve for a hard day’s work.
Every child in Colorado deserves the best education available, in a safe space with teachers who are qualified, accountable, and passionate about their profession.
I think that our current funding levels for both K-12 education and higher education are embarrassing and hurt our state’s economy as we continue to import employees with expertise in skilled jobs. Our state budget priorities are bound by the shackles of TABOR, but I will fight to make sure that every student who wants to excel, regardless of whether in preschool, K-12 or postsecondary schooling, has the ability and the resources to do so.
By focusing on solutions that provide teachers with consistent curriculum requirements, clear and relevant testing expectations, and fair wages, we can bypass some of the fights that have divided Democrats for years and start passing fresh, common sense legislation that teachers and parents can believe in. All education legislation will have one simple litmus test for me¬– “Is this the best way to help our kids succeed?”
As a doctor and a believer in equality, I will always stand up to extremists’ attacks on reproductive freedom. Coloradans have emphatically defeated “personhood” ballot initiatives multiple times by overwhelming margins. That hasn’t stopped Senate Republicans from attempting to pass legislation establishing personhood, while also trying to mandate invasive trans-vaginal ultrasounds for folks seeking an abortion. I will fight to defeat any legislation that threatens to take away a person’s right to make their own health care choices.
In my decade of experience in health care policy and leadership, I am an unequivocal supporter of expanding health care options so that everyone can lead a healthy life, not just the few who can afford it. I was the lead author of the American Medical Association (AMA) policy that established coverage for the uninsured as the highest priority for the AMA, paving the way for the AMA’s eventual support of the Affordable Care Act. I know firsthand the kind of work it takes to develop good policy and good law that helps people live better, healthier lives. I imagine a Colorado where folks can go to bed at night knowing that they can take their loved one to a doctor without worrying about being bankrupted by out-of-control medical costs. One of the greatest failures I see in our society is the fact that we allow people to go bankrupt by illness through no fault of their own. We can do better than that as a country, plain and simple.
Our embrace of the Medicaid expansion means Colorado stands on the cutting edge of health care policy; however, we must continue to examine the way we treat some of our most harmful public health problems. Our public health dollars should begin by focusing on preventative care and education, starting with our children, which can decrease the risk of major medical issues later in life.
Colorado’s pay gap is getting worse, not better. That is unconscionable. Two people who do the same work deserve the same pay – period, end of story. I want my daughter to grow up in a Colorado where she has equal access to every opportunity, is paid equally for equal work, and can help provide for her family’s future. As your state senator, I will fight to expand maternity and paternity leave, as well as time off from work to participate in kids’ lives and go to parent-teacher conferences. In our family, where both parents work, we’ve lived these challenges up front and personal. In my business, I offer unlimited paternity and maternity leave to my employees, allowing them to be supported at their time of greatest need in their new children’s’ lives.
Every Coloradan deserves every opportunity to live a full and happy life – free from discrimination. Unfortunately, homophobia and other forms of discrimination continue to cause harm every day. I will do all that I can to ensure that an individual’s sexual orientation, zip code, able-bodiedness, immigration status, or skin color does not dictate one’s opportunities or expectations of success. I am unabashedly pro-marriage equality and live by the tenant that a person’s sexual orientation should bear them no harm in the eyes of our society or government. Our LGBTQIA friends should be afforded the same protections offered to all other Coloradans. I’ve fought for these principles for years, and was integral to the AMA amicus brief which supported overturning the Defense of Marriage Act, as the only straight ally who signed on to the original policy that lead to the ultimate result.
As a physician, I see the impacts our regressive policies have on the transgender and gender-nonconforming community everyday. I have and will continue to support legislation such as the Birth Certificate Modernization Act, and making sure that we expand anti-discrimination protections to all Coloradans. When it comes to expanding our healthcare services and coverage, I will work to make Gender Confirming Surgery and Hormone Replacement Therapy included in Medicaid expansions and to incentivize a more trans-inclusive healthcare environment here in Colorado.
Here in Senate District 31, we have a strong legacy of being the state leader on LGBT protections, and you can expect me to continue and expand that legacy at every opportunity. Our current Senator Pat Steadman is a shining example of this legacy, and his support of our campaign is demonstrative of his knowledge that we will carry on the work he put into protecting ALL people in our community.
Our state and country are plagued by the problem of institutionalized racism and a criminal justice system that is often driven by misinformation and the willingness to be tough on crime without providing support to folks who just need a hand up. I admire Sen. Pat Steadman’s efforts to do away with mandatory minimums and his unwavering support for abolishing the death penalty. I’ve always said that killing people to show people that killing people isn’t ok just doesn’t make sense.
The numbers on these issues don’t lie: people of color are vastly overrepresented in the Colorado prison system and the entire inmate population of Colorado’s Death Row are African American men. The issue is multi-faceted, and has roots in educational and socio-economic disparities, gang violence, drug policy, and more. It is clear that we need another leader like Sen. Steadman to continue the fight, and I will do everything in my power to fill in the giant void he leaves in the Senate.
The protection of our environment is one of the fundamental places where our legislature can and should protect the public good. I believe the state legislature has a responsibility to protect our state’s land, air, and water from special interests, and that the people of Colorado deserve their fair share of the profits wrought from our shared natural heritage. Whether it is ensuring there are enough protections and inspectors to monitor drilling operations and enforce punishments for spills, or promoting residential conservation of water, I will work at every level to help guarantee Colorado stays a special place to live for generations to come.
Growing up in rural Colorado, I have always had a deep respect for the resources and beauty of our state. I will continue to push Colorado onto the leading edge of policy when it comes to natural resource extraction and keeping companies accountable for the impacts they make on public lands. At the same time, we must respect the current economies of our small communities in rural Colorado that rely heavily on fossil fuels, and help them to transition to a new, green energy future. We need to be ready to provide resources to retrain workers and create/attract the industries that will allow these communities to thrive in the new renewable energy economy.
In Colorado, we have lost too many to gun-related incidents and mass shootings. I will support and protect the reforms we’ve put in place in the last few years, and I will look for more opportunities to pass critical, life-saving legislation. I believe that the right of gun ownership should not over-shadow the right of our children to be safe in their communities. We can do better as a state and a country on this issue, and I expect to help Colorado continue to lead on this.
The voters in Colorado are clear in their opinion on this subject. I want to ensure that marijuana continues to be carefully and thoughtfully regulated, and is kept out of the hands of children. We in Colorado are and should continue to be leaders in this industry, outpacing every other state in our ability to safely produce a product that has been freshly brought out of the shadows in our economy. I would like to see the ability for studies to be done on the efficacy of marijuana for assorted medical uses, which will require federal reclassification, something I intend to lead on in whatever way possible. I will also lead the charge to make sure that our marijuana businesses have legal access to banking institutions. Denying hardworking, legal business owners access to a bank forces businesses to operate in an unsafe all-cash environment and makes operating a successful and safe business difficult.