A Colorado Plan for Economic Action

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  • Promoting Economic Justice and Fair Workplaces
  • Ensuring Just Transitions for Workers in Evolving Industries

BACKGROUND

Working People Are In Crisis

  • A precipitous rise in housing costs.
  • Significant and persistent increases in health care costs.
  • Decreases in medical insurance benefits.
  • Skyrocketing tuition costs keeping low income people out of higher education and exacerbating the problem.
  • The opioid epidemic.
  • Child care costs are unaffordable for many, and affordable quality care is not widely available.
  • Gaps in Internet access and technology access.
  • Incarceration and criminal justice policies that criminalize poverty, exacerbate poverty, and trap people in a cycle that is difficult to break.

Redefining How Economic Health Is Measured

Although GDP and unemployment data traditionally have been the go-to indicators for policymakers, there is widespread agreement that these measurements do not fully reflect economic reality for most Americans. As a legislator, I will view our economy through a much more comprehensive lens, and consider the bigger picture of Coloradans’ quality of life based on broader indicators such as:

  • Costs and accessibility of essential human needs: housing, health care, transportation, child care, etc.
  • The availability and success of our education and job training institutions.
  • The savings rate.
  • The home ownership rate.
  • The gap between executive pay and median pay.
  • The gender pay gap.
  • The health of our air, water and public lands, all of which have profound impacts on well-being.

CREATING STRONG COMMUNITIES

Health Care

I believe Colorado should transition to a single-payer health care system and disconnect health care from employment status.

Housing

I believe Colorado should stimulate more affordable housing, encourage home ownership, and protect the rights of renters.

Education

I will work to promote education excellence in Colorado.

Transportation

I will work to increase options for cheaper, cleaner and more efficient mobility of our workforce and recreational users.

Criminal Justice

I will support substantial reforms to ensure our criminal justice system is equitable, wise, and financially sound.

  • The top offense for prison admission in 2016 was drug possession. Drug offenses alone accounted for 1 in every 7 admissions.
  • Thousands of people are being held in jail without being tried or convicted. I will work to eliminate cash bail. Anyone not a threat to society should not be jailed awaiting trial due to bail money.
  • Colorado ranked 9th in the country for the rate of black people imprisoned and 4th in the country for the rate of Latinx people imprisoned in 2014.
  • There was a 579% increase in general fund spending on corrections between 1985 and 2016.
  • These failures are wholly unacceptable, especially in light of Colorado’s 50 percent recidivism rate, which is 10 points higher than the national average rate of 40 percent.

Internet Access

I will support reliable and affordable Internet access and telecommunications parity for our rural communities, and more equitable technology access for all Colorado students.

Stop the Outsourcing of Critical State Services

I will work to stop the outsourcing of critical services, and reassume their management by the state.

  • Mental Health. Much of the Medicaid money that comes into our state for mental health services is administered by private insurers. This is proving to be a disaster. In 2019 some insurers announced a 20% reduction in reimbursements for mental health providers. At a time when providers are in short supply and mental illness is rising, this is the exact opposite of what we should be doing. Real patients in desperate need of services are being denied access while investor’s are reaping the benefits. The arrangement has failed taxpayers on every conceivable level. I will introduce legislation to create a public mental health system that creates community mental health districts, streamlines funding and allows communities to provide wrap around services on a capitated basis. We also must encourage communities to implement jail diversion, mental health courts, co-responder models and other programs that keep patients with mental illness out of the judicial system.
  • For Profit Schools. In Colorado, as in the rest of the country, many (though not all) for-profit schools have taken advantage of students, increasing their debt while delivering low educational and job readiness value. Many of these schools adopt predatory practices that target poor communities of color and non-traditional learners. In Colorado, our workforce retraining needs are increasing, especially in the clean energy sector. Historically, for-profit schools have taken advantage of the need for rapid retraining caused by workforce shifts. In Colorado, we must continue to shore up our non-profit universities, community colleges, and high schools to help prepare people for work.
  • Transportation. Taxpayers should benefit from toll lanes, not private companies. Revenues should be put back into transit.

Retirement Security

I will work to improve retirement security for all Coloradans.

  • Increasing financial literacy at an early age, so young people understand the value of savings.
  • Promoting home ownership for wealth creation and savings.

Banking Fairness

I will support greater financial literacy programming by the state to empower Coloradans to decrease personal debt and increase savings.

Home Health Care

I believe now is the time to dramatically strengthen Colorado’s home health care workforce.

PROMOTING ECONOMIC JUSTICE AND FAIR WORKPLACES

The state has an important role to play in protecting and ensuring workers’ rights. I will propose and/or support the following:

Fair Pay

We must take measures to ensure Coloradans’ wages enable people to be self sustaining.

Paid Family and Medical Leave

I will work to ensure paid family and medical leave for all Coloradans.

Worker Classification

To prevent workers from being taken advantage of, we must properly classify their status.

Balanced Executive Pay

The state should encourage balance between executive pay and median pay.

Child Care

Colorado should expand greater child care support to lower and middle income families.

LGBTQ Protections

Colorado must ensure workplace protections for LGBTQ persons.

Regulations

We must strengthen regulations that protect workers and the environment.

ENSURING JUST TRANSITIONS FOR WORKERS IN EVOLVING INDUSTRIES

Colorado’s energy sector is rapidly evolving to clean technologies, and changes in the health care industry are likewise emerging. To ensure just transitions for these and other workers, I will propose and/or support the following:

Energy Sector Jobs

Energy transition is happening; we must ensure it is just.

Automation

We must ensure the benefits of automation are shared equitably.

Climate Change

Addressing climate change is critical to the health of Colorado’s economy.

Since the 2008 financial crisis, the very wealthy have made incredible financial gains in this country. But our policy choices around jobs, compensation, housing, health care, and criminal justice have rigged the system against those at the bottom of the economic ladder.

But there is hope.

Today’s policies are not set in stone.

Coloradans can come together to create foundational change.

I am determined to be a positive force for progress and bold action.

Candidate for Colorado State House District 13

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