One of the most important issues for women and families today is reproductive rights. The prominent reason to support reproductive rights is to enforce bodily autonomy, but there are other reasons to offer support. The number one indicator of the future socioeconomic success of a woman is her ability to decide when, and if, she has children. An unplanned pregnancy or poorly spaced childbirths can severely restrict the economic potential of a woman. In addition, these circumstances can lead to higher levels of depression, relationship failure, and poor outcomes for the children.
When women and families are forced to have unwanted children, generations are permanently affected. The adults have a harder time making ends meet, the children can have difficulties in school, and all this helps to increase the chance that they will also be unable to move out of poverty. This causes an increase in the need for social programs. Yet, when we spend $1 on reproductive resources, we can save over $7 in social programs. Reproductive rights help both the individual and the community.
In 2020 we need representatives that will work towards helping women and families to live to heir full potential. By electing a candidate who supports reproductive rights, we can not only help our friends and neighbors, but all of our community to become more economically stable.
Oil and gas is a big business in Colorado, Weld county especially. Many of our friends and neighbors rely on these jobs to survive. When we discuss moving away from oil and gas it can be very frighten for families and bring up uncertainty.
While we need to examine oil and gas industry and their affects on the environment and the public, we also need to look at the treatment of their workers. While OSHA, COGCC, and Workers Comp are suppose to ensure the safest working conditions we can obtain, they fall far short of this goal. These agencies cannot even agree on the number of injuries or fatalities that happen every year. In addition, they have little authority to force companies and subcontractors to enact safety policies or follow the ones that they do have. In fact, many times these agencies must get a warrant to even inspect a work site, this gives the employer time to cover up any infractions that they would have been fined for.
Workers have very little support if they do happen to get hurt. They are “encouraged” not to report injuries and when they do report, the employer usually files a dispute. Many times they are not given appropriate safety equipment and have to pay out of their own pocket if they choose to try to be safer. For example, a recent study showed that 1 in 3 oil and gas worker will suffer from hearing loss due to noise exposure on the job. This can be mitigated if we demand better working conditions.
To create a better, safer, and greener Colorado, we need regulations that protect our oil and gas workers, retraining programs for those that want to move on from these unsafe conditions, and well-paying jobs that can support our friends and neighbors.
Our children deserve more. They deserve to have full bellies so that they can focus on learning. They deserve to to have high quality teachers who are adequately compensated. Finally, they deserve to learn in a safe and comfortable environment.
In our communities, 1 in 4 children go hungry (as stated by Feeding America). While we do have a free and reduced lunch program for our students, this does not reach far enough. Some families with hungry children do not qualify, others will not sign up due to feeling ashamed or embarrassed. This is why we need to supply all children a breakfast and lunch to ensure they are in the best position to learn. This gives them a better chance of succeeding as adults.
Colorado ranked 31st in teacher pay (2017), and is suffering from a teacher shortage. According to the Colorado Department of Education, "81 percent of urban/suburban districts, 60 percent of rural/small rural districts, and 63 percent of BOCES [Boards of Cooperative Educational Services] that responded had vacant educator positions unable to be filled at the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year." In addition, they stated that 95% of rural teachers' salaries are below the cost of living, while the cost of living in urban and suburban areas has out paced teachers' salaries. Our schools and communities have seen an increase in racial and ethical diversity, yet our pool of teachers lacks equal representation. Now is the time to invest in our schools, so that our children have more opportunities for their future.
We once thought that LGBTQ+ rights were set and safe; unfortunately, we were wrong. The changing Supreme Court and the assault on the laws protecting human rights are discouraging. We must do whatever we can to codify and set in stone LGBTQ+ rights. I will increase education on LGBTQ+ issues to help others understand that LGBTQ+ rights are human rights. In conjunction with my stances on women's rights, I want to make the Colorado Constitution clearly state these inalienable rights so that they can be safe from hateful legislation.
On the surface, TABOR (and the Gallagher Amendment) looked like a perfect way to reduce government spending and taxes, while promoting economic growth. Unfortunately, this has proved to be a flawed experiment that has hurt our state in numerous ways.
The Great Recession exposed how harmful TABOR is for our state. We are still feeling the aftershocks of the massive cuts that we needed to make during this time. The basic premise of TABOR, the "popu-flation" index, has proved to be an inadequate tool for calculating taxes. In addition, TABOR makes it harder for Colorado to recover when the economy take a down-turn and impossible to save for a rainy day when the economy is good.
The Gallagher Amendment has also hurt Coloradans, especially our schools.
While Referendum C, passed in 2005, helped to ease the "ratchet effect" that prevented schools and other public services from having adequate funding, it did not address the underlying problems with TABOR that has caused. Colorado is still not bringing in enough money to pay for the public services that it provides. Eventually, this will catch up with us and we need to fix this now, before the problem gets worse.
Taxpayers need transparency, we need to be able to see that our taxes are going where they are suppose to go, that they are buying what they are suppose to buy. As taxpayers, we need to have a say in what our taxes are used for, but we also need to ensure that our schools are properly funded, our roads and bridges are in good repair, and our most vulnerable citizens are taken care of. It is time to take a hard look at our tax laws; we need to remove and rewrite the parts that are causing our system to fail and keep the parts that are supporting the taxpayers.
We all love our children and we all want them to be as safe as possible. Unfortunately, the increase in mass shooting violence has created an environment that does the opposite.
During his time in office, President Bill Clinton signed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. This bill created a 10-year ban on the manufacture, transfer, or possession of semiautomatic assault weapons. These weapons were defined by their make, model, and specific characteristics. It also banned "large capacity ammunition feeding devices" that could be modified to accept more than 10 rounds of ammunition. While ownership of these items were prohibited, there was a grandfather clause that allowed for possession and transfer of weapons that were obtained before the act went into effect. In short, you could keep the guns you already owned, but could not buy certain new guns. This simple act worked. A recent study found that “mass-shooting fatalities were 70% less likely to occur during the federal ban period.”
We cannot keep our children safe from all dangers, but we can work to reduce the occurrence of mass shootings. Common sense gun laws protect our families and friends while still protecting our Second Amendment Rights.