The power of a parent’s influence on a child’s education and life cannot be overstated. I believe parents are the best decision-makers for their child’s education. This means I support all forms of choice — from choice within neighborhood public schools and public charter schools to homeschooling and private options. Classroom teachers are a vital part of our public education system and should be fairly compensated for their skills and outcomes. I believe in high-quality school initiatives that focus on individual student improvement. I did not support HB-1032, the Comprehensive Sexuality Education bill which takes the power away from local districts, parents and families.
Individuals should have control over their health care options, including choosing a physician and the type of coverage we want. This is a particularly big issue for small businesses and individual policyholders. Before Obamacare, groups were allowed to associate in order to take advantage of better group policy benefits. The current system is not only very costly, it is confusing to most users. Policies offered on the current Exchange are not desirable nor affordable. We need insurance companies who are not just filling a government required mandate, but instead competing with each other for our business. Additionally, greater transparency and accountability within the healthcare system itself is needed in order to ensure a quality product for each of us as consumers.
Mental Health and Substance Use
Targeting our right to be innocent until proven guilty (the way the current Red Flag Law does) rather than getting to the cause of the problem does not make the community safe. Discussion needs to center around increased help for those who suffer from mental illness. We need to change the mandatory hold laws to allow for longer detentions when needed. We need to educate families and communities on how to help each other and remove the stigma folks often feel when faced with mental health challenges.
Mental health issues and substance abuse co-exist. I work with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Jefferson & Gilpin Counties and see the high personal and social cost of substance use. Improving mental health issues requires community and family education and commitment in order to achieve life-changing difference. There are a lot of well-intentioned ideas about how to do this, but providing facilities to allow safe injection has not proven to be one of them.
The US Census Bureau reports that Colorado’s population grew by about 600,000 people between 2010 and 2017. Most of our transportation infrastructure is from the 1950’s, with few updates. While light rail and the bus system help, there is no substitute for a solid network of adequate roads. Policymakers – at all levels – need to work together to find innovative solutions to meet our needs.
The energy industry is an important part of our state’s economy and future. The industry has changed dramatically from the oil wells we saw in the 1970’s. With new technology and research, the impact on our state has pivoted in a new direction. I support all options that would improve our energy independence, while preserving the environment we hold dear here in Colorado.