Speech to Gilpin County Dems

On November 11th, I was invited to address the Gilpin County Democrats candidate forum meeting in Black Hawk. Here is what I said:

Thank you Gilpin County Dems Chair Eric Douglas and Vice Chairs Linza Douglas, Julie Shaw, Whitney Doss and Liam Donahue. Whitney and Liam represent a new generation who were called to step forward because they know that remaining on the sidelines is no longer an option.

Whitney Doss and Ken Toltz at Gilpin County Dems FR

Also thanks and acknowledgment to a number of smart, dedicated, committed candidates who are joining us today — including 2 of my fellow 2nd Congressional District candidates Mark Williams and Kris Larsen. I’m honored to be present with you.

These candidates are offering thoughtful and compassionate ideas to ensure Colorado remains a great place to live — they accept responsibility of addressing challenges that impact people’s lives every day — they inspire me!

You inspire me — as did the 200,000 women who marched in Denver on January 21st — for the Women’s March. And in the Climate March in April, the March for Science the week before and the Tax March the week before. I joined them and continue to work with the leadership today. Just two weeks ago I was re-energized by attending Colorado’s Womens March Summit held in conjunction with the national Women’s March Summit in Detroit.

As a lifelong activist I’m inspired by the thousands who stepped forward this year. Their determination to be heard leaves me hopeful that new energy, fresh perspectives can be directed to our common goals.

That inspiration is why I’m here today. I am inspired, hopeful and most of all — determined!

But it was the horrible news 6 weeks ago from Las Vegas of yet another horrific mass shooting — that propelled me to make a decision to enter the race for CD 2 I had considered since Jared Polis’ announcement in June.

Since my announcement people have rightly been asking me to be more specific in what I am advocating to address ongoing deadly gun violence. As I wrote in the Daily Camera on October 6th, “let’s put the energy and dedication which is put into finding the motive for each mass shooting, into finding the solution. We must treat and label gun violence as a national public health crisis.

A public health crisis requires the same level of national commitment the president used to announce his plan to comprehensively address the opioid epidemic”

Now just a few words about me - my life has never been defined by personal political ambition. I’m not a career politician or lawyer with a fancy Denver law firm.

When I take on a cause that aligns with my values, I’m consistent, committed, able to define a vision that engages concerned citizens to join and carry the banner — such as working on gun violence prevention. I have never wavered in 18 years of activism to make Colorado, our community and our nation safer from gun violence.

I’m a 3rd generation Coloradan — raised in public schools — and raising two daughters educated in public schools. I have passed on to my daughters the Colorado values passed on to me.

We look out for each other and for the public good, take care of our natural resources and very special environment, accepting our responsibility to be good stewards for the next generation.

My great grandparents moved here for the same reasons people move to Colorado today.

· Opportunity

· Tolerant Society

· Quality of Life

· Great business environment

I have also been fortunate…having had the opportunity to work with some of our state’s leaders.

Talented, dedicated and creative people who truly put Colorado on the national political map. The 2nd Congressional District has a long history of sending outstanding leaders to Washington — Tim Wirth, David Skaggs, Mark Udall and of course Jared Polis.

From these leaders I learned a simple lesson…

That ideas do matter…

And if you work hard enough,

You can make a difference.

We have the opportunity as Democrats to Grow The Party. 2018 may be our best opportunity — by attracting new activists to vote in the 2018 Democratic primary.

– if we welcome their participation and encourage them to have a voice. We can begin a transformational reinvention of the Democratic Party — by applying the lessons learned from our 2014 and 2016 failures.

I believe that engaging and welcoming new Democratic voters should be a top 2018 priority.

Let that begin in the 2nd district

Let it begin now

Let it begin with us!