BETTER JOBS & MORE ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY
Coloradans deserve good-paying jobs that can support their families. Despite Colorado’s relatively low unemployment rate, too many families within the 6th District are facing economic hardship. Wages and benefits have failed to keep up with the cost of living in Colorado, especially in the expensive Metro area. Hardworking Coloradans are struggling to raise their families and achieve the American Dream. By investing in workforce development, apprenticeship training, and growing industries like healthcare, technology, and renewable energy, we can open the door to career advancement and better opportunities for Colorado families. We must also attract better jobs that have good wages and benefits to ensure that Coloradans can afford to purchase a home, finance a college education or specialized job training, access health care, and save for retirement. I fought alongside other veterans to bring the new VA hospital to Aurora and will continue my fight to bring similar high-paying jobs to the 6th District.
CIVIL RIGHTS AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM
We cannot ignore inequities that still exist in many communities and the effects they have on communities of color. It is the duty of anyone who believes in our nation’s core values, to stand up with one voice and clearly denounce all forms of bigotry and hatred. American communities have been torn apart by injustices facing communities of color. We must acknowledge this and tackle inequities where they exist so that we can provide safety, opportunity, and dignity for all Americans. I fought beside soldiers who came from different racial, religious, and economic backgrounds – people who forged bonds and became brothers and sisters. We need to move toward a place of respect, understanding, and honesty so that we can make those same strides in Colorado communities. We must protect and strengthen our communities. We must work to fight discrimination in our criminal justice sentencing. We must protect voting rights and all civil rights. In my civic work I’ve helped bridge the trust divide between law enforcement and our community. I’ve worked to reform law enforcement training to better address the inequities facing our communities of color. In Congress I will continue this work to protect civil rights and community safety.
DEFENDING OUR DEMOCRACY
America’s democratic institutions and the Rule of Law must be defended. One of my proudest accomplishments is leading paratroopers in combat for this country. Wearing the American flag on my shoulder and fighting for America is something that left a lasting mark on my life and my values. I saw countries that struggled to enforce the Rule of Law, due process, and individual rights. When I came home, I continued my fight for these same values as I began my legal career and took another oath to uphold and defend the Constitution. I have experienced first-hand the strengths and weaknesses of our criminal justice system – including prosecuting criminal cases and representing those accused of crimes, and conducting legal investigations. We are faced with unprecedented challenges to our institutions and democratic norms. I will never waver in my fight to ensure that our democracy is strong and that Americans can trust their government and elected representatives. I am proud of my commitment to democratic values and in Congress I will draw on my prior service to this country and my legal skills to continue that fight every day.
Health care is a right, not a privilege. No American should suffer because they cannot afford health care. It is that simple. For too long, career politicians in Washington have played politics with the lives of Americans whose survival depends on affordable health care. We need to move past gridlock and work toward a bipartisan solution. The Affordable Care Act needs improvement in certain areas, but unlike Mike Coffman, I want to fix the system, rather than abandon it in favor of a tax break for the wealthy. We can begin by stabilizing the individual market and lowering prescription drug prices to increase competition and make them more affordable for consumers. We need to protect the health care of the tens of millions of Americans who now have coverage under the Affordable Care Act. The recently proposed House Republican plan would have eliminated affordable health care options for an estimated 23 million Americans. No American should go bankrupt to afford health care for themselves or their family.
Young people should have access to high quality education, regardless of where they live or their ability to pay. I owe much of my success to strong public neighborhood schools. Every child deserves the same. Colorado’s public school funding system has left too many children behind. In Congress, I will fight cuts in funding and voucher proposals that will only make this problem worse for Colorado’s families.
Hardworking students too often face the choice of bypassing higher education or taking on the burden of overwhelming student debt. Our young people should not have to make this choice. America has the best colleges, universities, and technical training in the world, but all too often our students cannot afford to pursue their education. All hardworking students should have the option to pursue education or advanced training without fear of a massive price tag or crippling student debt. In Congress, I will support legislation to allow people to re-finance and consolidate student loans, lower the costs of education and advanced training, and provide loan forgiveness to those who work in public service careers.
We must fight climate change and protect the Colorado that we love. Climate change is the defining issue of our age. This is not just a vague idea for my family or any family that enjoys Colorado’s beautiful outdoors. My children are 5th generation Coloradans and our family has seen the state change over the decades. Coloradans can already see the effects of long-term drought, higher temperatures, and natural disasters.
America must again be a global leader to help solve our world’s most pressing problems, and climate change is no different. We must re-engage with other nations to work towards climate solutions, including encouraging clean energy transitions. Pushing for renewable energy development will also help grow our economy and create good-paying jobs. I will also fight to ensure that our public lands are not sold off to the highest bidder or destroyed by irresponsible drilling and mining. We must fight to protect our clean air, clean water, and public health. Communities across America depend on government funding to help treat drinking water, detect lead contamination, clean up abandoned mines and waste sites, and for other important projects to ensure our families are safe from pollution.
Our immigrant neighbors deserve to be treated with dignity and respect and our laws should reflect that. During my time in the Army, I served with people of all backgrounds, political persuasions, and nationalities.I served with immigrants whose commitment to our country was never questioned. All that mattered was that we had each other’s backs. The 6th District is home to over 100,000 immigrants who help make our community such a special place to live. These immigrants came to America in pursuit of a better life for their families. In Congress, I will fight for immigration reform, to protect people who came to this country as children, and to keep law-abiding families together. We must provide a clear path to citizenship for those who continue to strengthen our community.
No American should face discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation. In 2012 I was honored to speak at the Democratic National Convention in support of the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” I was extremely proud to speak on behalf of President Obama and to stand up for equality in the military. We should continually strive to expand marriage equality, workplace protections, enforcement of hate crime laws, and protections for LGBTQ military personnel and veterans. In Congress I will continue fighting to ensure that LGBTQ Americans have the same rights and protections that all Americans should have, and to prevent the rollback of the progress that so many Americans have fought for.
We must fight for those who fought for us by protecting their health care and their benefits. I was proud to fight alongside some of the finest men and women this country has to offer. These veterans have earned their benefits and deserve the best care for them and their families. We must fulfill our promises to the brave men and women who fight for us by protecting their medical care, access to mental health resources and education benefits, and by helping them transition to civilian life. When I returned home after serving in the U.S. Army, I struggled to access my own benefits. This inspired me to begin my fight for veterans in Colorado. I worked with other veteran leaders to secure the funding for the new VA hospital in Aurora. I help veterans as they transition to civilian life. I also donate hundreds of hours of legal pro bono work for veterans and organizations that work to help veterans with substance abuse and other issues. I will never stop fighting for those who served our country.
Equal pay is not only a women’s issue – it is also a moral, family, and economic issue. As of 2015, nearly 45 percent of women mothers were the breadwinners for their families, yet they are still making .84 cents on the dollar in Colorado. In our country it is a moral issue to treat everyone equally for the work they do. Equal pay will also help grow our economy and support families by making home ownership, education, advanced training, and retirement more accessible for more Coloradans. Mike Coffman voted against equal pay for women. In Congress I will always fight to ensure that women are paid equally for the work they do.
I will fight to protect a woman’s right to choose. Women should have the right to make health care decisions that are right for them and their families. It is truly shameful that we still have to defend a woman’s right to make her own health care choices. Stripping women’s health care funding from the federal budget and removing protections for women’s health care from our laws will hurt families across the country and in Colorado. In Congress, I will protect a woman’s right to choose, while simultaneously working to continue funding critical resources like Planned Parenthood. I will also fight to ensure that protections for maternity care are not removed from our health care laws and that families are able to take paid sick leave. I look at my daughter and cannot stand to think that she will have to wage this same fight when she is grown. But you do not have to have a daughter to support women and families across the country.