Accomplishments & Priorities
It’s been an incredible honor to serve as your state representative these last five years. During that time, we’ve accomplished so much to make people’s lives better from increasing our investments in public schools to reducing the high cost of health care to reducing our negative impact on the environment – and many of these accomplishments have been bipartisan.
2020 brought unique challenges with an unprecedented global pandemic, and the people of Colorado are still reeling from its devastating effects. As I update this pace on December 6th, 2021, there have been 9,449 COVID19 deaths in Colorado including 999 deaths right here in Jefferson County. Hospitals continue to be overwhelmed. Students are still struggling to catch up from last year’s learning loss. Parents are grappling with frequent school quarantines to prevent outbreaks. Changes to consumer behavior have disrupted the economy such that we’re seeing higher-than-normal prices for certain products and workforce shortages in many sectors. And the new Omicron variant leaves us questioning how much longer we’ll be dealing with this before we return to normal.
Through it all, I believe that Colorado’s government has risen to the occasion by prioritizing public health, promoting science-based solutions, and working to mitigate the economic repercussions by investing in helping people stay in their homes, afford their utility bills, and access both physical and mental health care.
In these difficult and uncertain times, it’s more important than ever to have representatives who will prioritize protecting those who need help the most. I first got involved in public service because I wanted to be in a position to change the world for the better, and I do my best every day to take on the tough decisions and make sure every hardworking Coloradan is able to support their family, be rewarded for their hard work, and get back to enjoying the Colorado way of life.
For more information, you can read:
- The bills I sponsored in the 2021 legislative session
- My reflections on the 2020 legislative session
- My reflections on the 2019 legislative session
Overview of Accomplishments 2017-2021
Legislation is a team effort, and I’ve enthusiastically supported the work of my colleagues including investing in education, transportation, and affordable housing; accelerating our transition to clean energy; making our schools safer; expanding mental health access; standing up for the rights of every Coloradan – voting rights, reproductive rights, rights to self expression, and more; reforming our criminal justice system; and protecting the clean air, clean water, and beautiful open spaces that make Colorado such a special place to live.
For my part, I’ve focused most of my efforts on health care reform, fiscal reform, climate change, and election systems. I’m most proud of my work on more robust cost transparency requirements for hospitals, a reinsurance program to reduce health insurance premiums on the individual market, a prescription drug affordability board, stronger consumer protections at free-standing emergency departments, increased supports and protections for renters and utility customers, improved prevention and treatment for substance use disorders, initiatives to combat climate change, and multiple innovative democracy reforms.
I believe health care is a human right. We have made tremendous progress reducing the cost of health insurance by increasing transparency, curbing outrageous billing practices, and reforming insurance markets to address some of the highest cost risk pools and regions. Moving forward, we must build on this progress to bring about a transition from fee-for-service “sick care” to a health care system that pays providers for value, not volume.
We have also made significant progress on reducing youth access to tobacco vape products, expanding substance use prevention, treatment, and recovery programs, and requiring better coverage of mental health care.
The rapid growth in the Denver metro area has made it too difficult for too many Coloradans to afford to buy a home or even rent an apartment. We have significantly improved Colorado’s renter’s rights laws and increased our investment in affordable housing, but we must do more by partnering with our cities and counties to increase the availability of affordable homes, townhomes, condos, and apartments. And we must do it in a sustainable way through the prioritization of transit-oriented development. By building mixed-use residential/ commercial communities near light rail stations and bus routes, we can make it possible for people to live and work without needing to take a car everywhere they go.
We must also maintain programs that help seniors afford to stay in their homes. Colorado’s Senior Property Tax Exemption is not working as well as it could be. It doesn’t give enough help to low-to-middle income seniors, and the ten-year residency requirement discourages seniors from downsizing. Furthermore, the growing cost has made the program vulnerable to cuts during recessions. I have been working on a plan to restructure the program to focus our limited resources on giving more help to senior owners and renters who need help the most and to make sure the program is around for the long run.
From 2017 to 2019, we made steady progress in reducing our education funding shortfall, including paying for full-day kindergarten for every Colorado kid. Unfortunately, the COVID19 recession stopped that progress in its tracks. We worked hard to close special interest tax loopholes to preserve more funding for our schools. Furthermore, I was a vocal advocate for Initiative #271 which would have put in place a progressive income tax structure, reducing taxes for 95% of Coloradans while asking the wealthiest to pay their fair share. Had this initiative qualified for the ballot, we would have brought in enough revenue to catch Colorado up to the national average on school funding. I am disappointed that this effort failed, but I believe we must try again. Assessing a fair tax on the biggest corporations and wealthiest Coloradans is the only way to avoid future cuts to K-12 and higher education.
As 2022 begins, our economy is rebounding and we’re starting to restore some of these critical investments into our public schools. But even a booming economy leaves the state with a long-term structural deficit because of TABOR and generally low tax rates. I continue to support a progressive income tax that asks the wealthy to do their part to help us finally fund K-12 and higher education at levels that would truly offer opportunities to every Colorado kid.
Energy and Environment
Climate change is a serious threat to our way of life. The carbon pollution we’re putting into the atmosphere is heating the planet and increasing the frequency and severity of wildfires, droughts, and hurricanes. Colorado has long been a leader in renewable energy, and our early investments have made wind and solar so competitive that Xcel is implementing their own plan to get to 100% renewable without needing to increase utility bills. We’ve taken some more big steps by establishing enforceable carbon pollution limits on all industries and putting in place stronger regulations of the oil and gas industry. Moving forward, we must do more to modernize our grid, increase the use of electric heat pumps in homes, and build out a more robust infrastructure for charging electric vehicles.
While we were in the midst of crafting our responses to the pandemic, our nation experienced a spike of violence against communities of color by law enforcement officers sworn to protect them. The murder of George Floyd drew attention to the long history of violence by police officers, and the Colorado General Assembly responded by passing landmark police accountability legislation. This conversation is far from over, but I’m proud that we took such a significant step forward to ensure that law enforcement officers are held accountable when they commit unjustified acts of violence.
And much more…
I could write pages and pages about the variety of issues we work on every year at the capitol, but instead, I’ll just note that we have also done some great work on affordable childcare, criminal justice reform, transgender rights, equal pay for equal work, immigration, gun violence prevention, election reform, campaign finance reform, and protecting reproductive health care access. You can read more about all of the bills we passed in the end-of-session reports linked below.
If I didn’t cover your issue here and you want to know where I stand, I’m easy to reach! Just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Learn more about:
- My Committees
- Community Resources
- Legislative Updates
- Upcoming Events
- Other work of the Colorado House Democrats
- Full list & language of bills I sponsored
- 2021 End-of-Session Report
- 2020 End-of-Session Report
- 2019 End-of-Session Report
- 2018 End-of-Session Report
- 2017 End-of-Session Report & Highlights Video