FREE PRESCHOOL AND KINDERGARTEN FOR EVERY COLORADO CHILD
Every child should be able to attend preschool and full-day kindergarten, regardless of their economic background. Universal pre-K would also allow parents to stay in the workforce, giving economic freedom to lower-and-middle income families. In fact, everyone in society benefits when our young ones are educated: For every $1 invested into preschool, communities see a return of $5.
PREPARE EVERYONE FOR A 21ST CENTURY WORKFORCE
Apprenticeship programs need to be encouraged and utilized more frequently. Colorado is a growing state and automation is coming, changing the workforce rapidly. We need to evolve with training programs for our youth, as well as for people whose jobs are being replaced with technology. The Colorado legislature should lead on this front to keep our economy strong and our citizens prepared for the 21st century workforce.
ECONOMIC FREEDOM THROUGH WORLD-CLASS PUBLIC TRANSIT
Since 2000, Colorado’s population has increased by nearly 10%, but infrastructure projects have not kept up with the pace of growth. It is estimated that every $10 million in capital investment in public transportation yields $30 million in increased business sales. Repairing our crumbling roads coupled with the investment of a world-class and affordable public transit system would increase economic mobility for Coloradans and provide a net positive to the state’s economy.
ALLOWING LOCAL MUNICIPALITIES TO RAISE THE MINIMUM WAGE
While keeping the $12 per hour floor Colorado voters set in 2016, the legislature should also ask voters to overturn restrictions on letting local municipalities set their own minimum wage. A minimum wage based on local cost- of-living is both a progressive and economically sound policy.
PAID FAMILY LEAVE
Coloradans are struggling with ill family members and bonding with newborn children. Investing in the time to take care of family is an important part of general wellness benefits that should be provided to all Coloradans.
Coloradans who raise their families here should be able to stay here. We should better work with Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA) to utilize their resources to work to expand affordable housing to all in the State. The Senior Homestead Exemption should be protected, and additional programs are needed so that our seniors can stay in their homes, whether they rent or own. We also need to modify local control to allow our local elected officials and municipal electeds to develop programs that can help control sky rocking rental costs in their communities.
PRIORITIZING UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE FOR COLORADO’S RESIDENTS
Understanding that Congress is not going to pass universal healthcare in the foreseeable future, Colorado must take the initiative at the state level to ensure every Coloradan has access to safe, affordable, and high-quality healthcare. Programs such as the public option, negotiation of drug prices, and joining a multi-state insurance exchange should be a priority while we explore more universal options at a state level.
FULLY FUND COLORADO’S FAMILY PLANNING PROGRAMS
Family planning is a necessary component of healthcare. From 2009 to 2014, the Colorado Family Planning Initiative reduced the state’s teen birth rates by half and saved the state approximately $66.1-$69.6 million. Colorado must fully fund its free long-acting reversible birth control (LARC) program for teenagers and low-income women and expand access to include middle-income women.
HEALTHCARE PROGRAMS FOR CANCER PATIENTS
Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act has provided coverage for over a million Americans with cancer. In addition to defending the ACA, Colorado should expand coverage under its Breast and Cervical Cancer Program. The state should also consider a similar initiative for prostate cancer, which is as common as breast cancer and disproportionately affects African-American men.
While there has been progress made in sentencing reform, we need to create incentives and the tools to assist people trying to change their lives. Whether it’s substance abuse, mental health, or social behaviors, we do not invest in programs to adequately address these needs. Using corrections as a mental health treatment provider is not the right answer. I believe the investment is in the people and the programs who wish to support those that want to change themselves.
PROTECTING THE RIGHTS OF NEW AMERICAN COMMUNITIES
Every person, regardless of citizenship, has the right to equal treatment and due process under the law. Colorado must resist white nationalism and stand with undocumented immigrants in our community, particularly youth. In addition, the prohibition on state services for its adult undocumented immigrants place an unjust burden on the Coloradans that have $10.8B in spending power and paid $33B in taxes in 2014.
1 in 5 Coloradans were born in another country, but the American Dream belongs to all of us.