Here's What I'm Fighting For
We are on the cusp of transformational change in where our energy comes from. The cost of solar is quickly becoming the cheapest source of energy and wind power continues to drop in price. This is an exciting moment where we can build an energy system that reflects our best values and addresses our deepest concerns.
Our clean energy future is attainable, but we have to choose it. Building this future requires more than a commitment to clean fuels or prices continuing to fall. To ease the transition to clean energy, we must begin investing in a smart grid and in energy storage. Our clean energy future demands an energy system built for it. And in making this choice, in choosing clean energy over dirty fuels, we will build an energy system that brings jobs to our rural communities and makes sure that future generations will avoid the consequences of further inaction.
Public School Funding
Public education is essential to building our economy and expanding economic opportunity. It is the most important investment we make as a society, yet years of budget fights have left us with an education system that ranks near the bottom of the country in terms of funding. When we fail to invest in our classrooms, fail to pay our teachers a competitive wage, and underfund important programs like music and the arts, we miss out on the entrepreneurs of the future and we fail far too many children by denying them the opportunities that they deserve.
But it’s not only our elementary and high schools that need attention. For years, we’ve been cutting funding for higher education. We need to invest more in our community colleges and begin restoring funding to our public universities as well. We need to make college attainable for every Coloradan without the crushing debt of student loans. And we need to invest in our universities’ research and laboratories. Universities are a key driver of innovation and new businesses. When we invest in our colleges, we’re investing in our community, in our workforce, and in our economy.
Paid Family Leave
Support for new parents should not be a matter of luck or the generosity of an employer. It should be a given. We need policies that support working families and aid in work-life balance and we should start with Paid Family Leave.
It’s simply unacceptable to expect our parents to return to work immediately after childbirth or with a seriously ill family member at home. It’s wrong to place this burden on families and it’s wrong to expect businesses to cover this public policy failing. In my first year in office, I will introduce legislation that guarantees for all employees 12 weeks paid leave, protects workers, and makes sure that no family lives in poverty while caring for a newborn.
We need Paid Family Leave in Colorado not only because it’s the right thing to do for our families, but because it is good policy for our economy and our small businesses. We lose far too many talented women each year by making them choose between work and family. Far too many women are denied the opportunity to advance in their careers because of this choice and we pay far too great a cost in public health, behavioral problems, and early childhood education.
It’s time for Colorado to join other states and invest in our workers, to invest in our economy, and ultimately, to invest in ourselves.
The time has come to give every person the opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way to our community. We need to choose good policy – policy aimed at solving the problem instead of simply managing it. Fortunately, this isn’t a matter of discovering the policy to fix the problem. We know the cure to homelessness – it’s housing. It is not acceptable that each year nearly 5,000 of our neighbors in Denver live on the streets, under bridges, in alleyways, in cars, or in shelters. We must implement policies such as rapid rehousing for those on the brink of homelessness and provide supportive housing to those that are chronically homeless. It’s not just the right thing to do, it also costs less than the failing policies we now employ. This isn’t a question of devoting greater resources. It’s about using our resources on policies that work. We can do better.
Criminal Justice Reform
Our criminal justice system is broken. It wastes far too much money and prevents far too many people from contributing to society. As someone who has advocated for civil and constitutional rights, I know that we can do better without sacrificing safety.
I will pursue policies that place public safety – not retribution – at the heart of our justice system. We should explore alternative courts and punishments that place at their core the goal of rehabilitation and restoration. When our institutions focus on the success of those within the system, we reduce crime and invest in our communities. As part of this focus, we must close private prisons in Colorado. Profit motive has no place in our public safety system.
And we must work to end mass incarceration. Policies such as mandatory minimums lead to results that help no one such as a 96 year sentence for a theft of $9,000. With better policies, we reduce our prison population, reduce crime, and make sure we’re spending our resources where they will do the most good.