What bill or bills are you most looking forward to working on in the 2021 session? With how hyper-divided the nation seems to be right now, I am excited to work on bipartisan-sponsored bills that …
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What bill or bills are you most looking forward to working on in the 2021 session?
With how hyper-divided the nation seems to be right now, I am excited to work on bipartisan-sponsored bills that will honor the service of our amazing men and women in our military, while also addressing problems that can arise when transitioning from the military to civilian life. Being the only Colorado legislator in a wheelchair who faces accessibility issues daily, I am also excited to work on a bill that will facilitate increasing the accessibility of our government services and buildings. I will also be working on supporting our working families and good-paying jobs.
After a proposal for a “public option”-style health care program in Colorado was derailed by the pandemic last year, do you anticipate that the proposal will be debated during this session? What’s your opinion on it?
Exact timing is up in the air, but I know the debate to make health care a right through a public option will continue. Having survived a catastrophic helicopter crash while deployed to Afghanistan, I understand the necessity of having access to quality and affordable health care. That access allowed me to go from being near death and totally dependent to living completely independently and having the duty and privilege to represent the amazing people in HD38. I will always fight to make health care more affordable and accessible until it becomes a basic right.
What is the issue on which you feel you have the biggest disagreement with legislators on the other side of the aisle?
On the surface, the largest disagreements will be on the role of government in solving problems like creating greater equity and opportunities. That being the case, there have been times in our past as a nation where both sides clearly agreed on the power of cooperation and the role of government in fostering that cooperation. The space race is an iconic example in history. We should not fear disagreeing and debating with each other. Our different points of view, when used constructively and with mutual respect, can lead us to more efficient and more effective legislation.
On what issue or issues do you expect the two parties to be able to work across the aisle to accomplish something significant?
I believe there are a number of issues that should and can be bipartisan. Combating this once-in-a-century pandemic should be one. We need to be able to accept best practices based on scientific fact and data. As elected leaders, we should be able to be the example by taking our daily rapid tests, getting vaccinated and wearing a mask. That is the foundation to being united in getting back to school in person safely and opening our businesses. I have had great success across the aisle with veteran issues.
In terms of economic recovery amid the pandemic, what’s the most important step the Legislature can take during this session?
The most critical goal to foster an economic recovery is to support measures that are proven to combat the spread of COVID-19. We need to be liaisons within our districts to inform and support the governor’s office in an effective and equitable vaccination program. This includes using our platforms to communicate clear and concise information to our constituents. We should also create pop-up vaccination clinics that can capture the segments of our population that are not linked into a network due to lack of insurance coverage or those that do not have access to or do not use the internet.
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