How I will create solutions

 
 

What I’ve learned in business and life is that solutions need to be specific and actionable. Like many voters, I’m tired of one-liners and talking points and generalities. It’s important to me to have priorities and plans ready to act on the day I begin to represent this district.

The constituents of House District 5 are smart people who value results.  They deserve real plans that can get support from everyone. To make real progress we need someone who has a record  of success on progressive issues.

Here are the areas that I think are the most important, urgent, and strategic for us to tackle now:

Environment/Climate Change

In Colorado, we have a unique connection to our environment. The natural beauty of our state is one of the primary drivers of our economy. It’s also a big part of our health, both because we can grow much of the food we eat here, and because many Coloradans stay active while enjoying the outdoors.

All Coloradans want to breathe clean air, drink clean water, and power their lives in a way that’s sustainable for future generations. Most of us can see that fossil fuels are last century's technology.  

As the founder of one of Colorado’s largest renewable energy companies, I have devoted my career to finding ways to protect the environment and reduce carbon emissions while creating high paying jobs and growing the economy. Renewable energy is an obvious win-win.

The work I’ve done in solar has reduced pollution, created local jobs, and enabled hundreds of Coloradans to earn a living wage doing something they believe in. On top of that, renewables save families money, and that additional income makes its way into the community in the form of increased spending at local businesses.

My plan is to make solar and wind power more accessible to everyone in Colorado by expanding the PACE program - Property Assessed Clean Energy - and allowing everyone to choose solar regardless of their income.  I believe that people have the right to produce their own energy and earn credit for what they produce. To accomplish this, my goal is to adopt statewide net-metering rules, so that every person in Colorado can own the energy they need to fuel their lives, stop climate change, and grow our economy.

Having built my solar business right here in Colorado, I know what we need to do to support the renewables industry in our state to continue to create jobs.  Colorado needs a leader with knowledge and practical experience in renewables at the table. With the environment under constant attack, we’ll fight for renewable energy and we will win!

Additionally, I support Colorado adopting CARB rules, which will reduce automobile emissions and bring the most advanced transportation concepts to Colorado first.  

With the current administration focusing on reviving the obsolete and environmentally toxic coal and oil industries leadership must be strong at the state level.  I’ll propose a quicker transition from coal power plants to renewable energy. And I’ll support the regulation and limiting of fracking in Colorado to prevent fracking companies who spill methane gas and other pollutants from doing harm to our citizens.

Gun Violence

This issue is personal to me. In 1993, a teenage gunman walked into a children's pizza place near my family's home and killed 4 people. Then, in 1999, I remember being locked down in a classroom while SWAT teams swept my school’s hallways during the Columbine shooting.  Acts of mass violence plague our society and have disproportionately affected Colorado. Something must change.

Coloradans understand the importance of putting measures in place to prevent mass killers from buying military-grade weapons to use on innocent people. Here are the specific policies I support:

  • A full assault weapons ban

  • Statewide ban on bump stocks

  • Raising the legal age to purchase a weapon from 18 to 21

  • “Red Flag” (extreme risk protection order) legislation, as five other states have done, which allows a judge to temporarily prohibit someone from possessing or buying firearms while they are deemed a danger to themselves or others based on the recommendation of family or law enforcement.

  • I will also introduce a measure that would prohibit ownership of firearms to anyone who has been convicted of domestic violence or animal cruelty, as we have seen this pattern of behavior in many shooters.

I will not allow the second amendment argument enable mass killers to buy military grade weapons.

Healthcare

I believe that healthcare is a basic human right, not a privilege. The healthcare system should focus on wellness, prevention, public health, and mental health.

Currently, our system is multi-layered and for-profit. This is not sustainable, because it forces doctors and patients to make health decisions based on money, rather than what’s best for the patient’s health. In order to make our current system profitable, premiums are sky-high and coverage in many cases falls short.      

I will work to make healthcare affordable, and put the decisions regarding healthcare in the hands of doctors and patients. In addition, any healthcare solution must cover all healthcare including women’s reproductive health, hormones and gender affirming healthcare for transgender people.

I support a repeal of Colorado’s 3rd amendment and a secondary funding source, so that women who are utilizing the Health First Colorado program (Medicaid) can have access to all healthcare services they choose.

Infrastructure & Transportation

Denver needs bold and innovative ideas to solve our traffic problems. Public transportation needs to be more accessible and affordable. We need to consider the impacts to the environment and our neighborhoods when we make decisions about transportation. Adding lanes to our highways is not always as effective as a long-term solution that includes public transportation, transit-oriented development, and right-of-way improvements for bikes, skateboards, and yes, even rollerblades.

Electric Vehicle (EV) infrastructure must be expanded this will mean mean cleaner air and savings to consumers. I will introduce legislation that will make the advantages of EV’s more accessible, by reducing fees for EV registration, and rewarding businesses that build the infrastructure we need to make clean transportation an accessible reality.

While ride-sharing services are convenient and necessary, they also disproportionately contribute to our traffic congestion. To mitigate this externality, I will propose a small fee to those services, the funds raised by which will be allocated for accessible, affordable, and efficient transportation options.     

Education

Colorado ranks below average in per pupil education funding. This is unacceptable. Our children deserve better. We must  increase per pupil funding to our schools dramatically. Teacher pay needs to be increased in both rural and urban areas. We need to attract more professionals to teach in math and science. Arts and sports are being eliminated from our schools in order to satisfy preparing for standardized testing. Class sizes are often so big that teachers struggle with the number of students, finding it difficult to give students, and in particular those who have special needs the services they deserve.

By reducing the operating costs of our schools, we can divert dollars currently spend on overhead  to our students and teachers. Reducing or eliminating costs for power, lighting, water, and fuel, means more of our education dollars can be spent in the classroom.  In addition to cost savings, we will use this opportunity to upgrade school internet and technology infrastructure so our kids are prepared for the jobs of tomorrow. Kids are our future, and they deserve every dollar we can save to be invested where it truly benefits them.. Imagine students riding to school on an electric bus, powered by a district-owned renewable power plant!

I will fight to protect Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) to  ensure our public servants, including teachers, can retire knowing that the secure retirement they earned will be there for them.

I also strongly believe in early childhood education. It gives our children a strong start while simultaneously relieving their families of the burden of childcare costs.

Higher education should be accessible and affordable for anyone who wants to pursue that path. Many students, particularly students of color, need financial assistance to stay in school due to the high cost.  We must ensure every student has a fair opportunity for higher education. We must also increase access to apprenticeship programs to fill our state’s need for highly paid tradespeople.    

Immigration

No person living in Colorado should be afraid to access resources such as law enforcement, public schools, and hospitals for fear of deportation and having their family separated. As a nation of immigrants, we must ensure basic human rights for every person regardless of citizenship. We must protect DACA, and ensure there is a road to citizenship.

I will fight against attempts by the current presidential administration to apprehend or detain Coloradans.  I will stand in the way of any effort to create fear in our community.

Equality

Women’s health and equal pay are issues that I consider to be non-negotiable. Colorado is a progressive state which has valued women’s rights since its inception, and we will continue to do so. I will fight shoulder to shoulder with my women colleagues and constituents to ensure that no anti-choice measures are ever passed in Colorado. Everyone has the absolute right to agency over their own body - that is the core of our freedom and the core of our Colorado values.  

Women’s voices have been silenced for too long.  I was raised by a single mom who worked with domestic violence victims in the court system advocating for justice for them.  Like her I am a champion for women, and you can count on me to advocate for what matters to you. I will stand and fight with and for women on issues significant to women, and I will fight for equality and to ensure women’s voices are heard.

As an LGBTQ person of color, my success has been possible only because of community activists who fought for justice and equal protection under the law. But the LGBTQ community, women, and minorities still face challenges and inequality. I will fight to strengthen hate crime legislation, and to ensure fair and equitable treatment for all by the criminal justice system.

Currently Colorado’s transgender community faces a disproportionate level of homelessness and criminal convictions, which leads to underemployment. I will fight for “Ban the Box” legislation in Colorado, which will ensure everyone has a fair chance at employment.  

Affordable Housing

Home affordability and accessibility are in crisis in House District 5. We will focus on stabilizing the housing market, keeping families in their homes, and making sure that more Coloradans are benefiting from the building boom.

I will fight to ensure CHFA (Colorado Housing and Finance Authority) is strong and well funded, providing affordable home ownership in our community.  

I will fight to pass a tenant’s rights bill that ensures people who rent have rights in our state.  Furthermore, I support a repeal of state laws that prohibit cities from making affordable housing a reality.    

TABOR

TABOR has had negative unintended consequences limiting our ability to make progress on issues that citizens support. It’s time to get rid of this provision in our constitution so that we can make the necessary investments in our collective future. I believe that given the facts, the people of Colorado will come together to repeal TABOR.

As a legislator, I support mobilizing key stakeholders to come to the table to talk about how everyone benefits when Colorado is properly funded.  If we don’t work to repeal TABOR, our state will continue to fall short on everything we value.  TABOR stands in the way of a robust, well funded education system. It denies funding to services for the disabled. It is the reason you constantly hit potholes and sit in traffic.

Reinstate Net Neutrality and Fix the Digital Divide

The computing and internet revolutions continue to transform every aspect of our lives.  Unfortunately access to and the benefits from these innovations are not available to everyone equally. I believe that our ability to access information is a right, and I will fight to enact state-level net neutrality to preserve the right of people to access information freely.  I will also fight to ensure that internet access become accessible to everyone in our community.