Every election, they say, is the most important election of your lifetime. To some degree it’s true.
Every election gives you another chance to change the direction of the world around you, to shout your hopes and dreams and demands at the powers that be. This year we face some difficult decisions, a workaround the lesser evil voting conundrum, and the clear opportunity to vote fierce, active passion over slow but steady bureaucratic incrementalism.
We put this guide together with hope to inform you, not only of our take on this year’s election, but hope that it arms you with the information you need to get involved and vote for a brighter, greener future.
2018 is the second to last election that will matter in your lifetime. That makes it the most important one today. Study up, prepare, take the day off, vote by mail. Who we elect, what we vote (or don’t vote) for will set us on course for 2020.
Jared Polis (D) *
Polis is a Boulder-born entrepreneur. He’s served six years on the state board of education and started several nonprofit public schools which works with English language learners and at risk kids as well as co-founded academy of urban learning that works with local homeless youth and youth in transitional housing.
“I’m running for governor because I believe we can’t afford to wait as a country until we have a president and a Congress that are moving the right way. We need to roll up our sleeves right in Colorado and invest in our schools, and if we’re going to make healthcare more affordable and save people money we have to do it here. Colorado is also going to be the real focal point of whether protecting our public lives and our environment.”
112: Against. “I think we need to do more to make sure our local communities have a formal seat at the table around the decisions that affect the quality of life.” “[It] would apply a one size fits all set back statewide…You know, we are not new to this, I’ve represented Northern Colorado which is where a lot of the activity is taking place, and I look forward to supporting homeowners and communities and making sure it’s done in a way that doesn’t take away from our safety or detract from our quality of life.”
73: For. “I would say if it passes we would work to implement it in the most efficient way possible and make sure that the money reaches the classrooms. If it fails, we will start to build a coalition that succeeds with the business community and the Republicans and the Democrats to end decades of underinvestment in our public schools. There’s a stark contrast between my education plan and Walker Stapleton’s. I want to invest in our schools, it’ll be a priority for general fund expenditures, we want to achieve a full free day of preschool and kindergarten in Colorado because the high costs of early childhood education are real factor for many young families and not being able to afford their home or their rent, or even to have kids.”
Prop 109 & 110: “I have taken a position on 109. I have taken a position against 109 because it would drain money from our schools, and make healthcare even more expensive, because it would bond for our roads without any new or dedicated revenue source. So it’s a very dangerous initiative that would drain money from our schools, decrease teachers’ salaries, and increase class size. The other one is one that the Denver chamber is putting forward, again if it passes I will work to implement it as efficiently as possible. If it fails, I will work with Republicans and Democrats in the business community to figure out how we can pay for 21st Century infrastructure. Because we can’t afford the high cost of traffic. The cost to the average Coloradan is $600 a year in lost time in traffic and additional wear and tear on their car.”
Affordable Housing: So we talked a little bit about the income side, how we can make sure that we increase people’s money that they have by saving them money on healthcare, saving them money on preschool and kindergarten, and gives them more disposable income, the more money you have the more you can afford to live. We should also talk about the cost and quantity side. As a Congressman I’ve partnered with Summit County to do a four- eight year line exchange at Lake Hill to provide affordable housing opportunities to people that work in Breckenridge and Frisco that face even higher costs of living than the Denver metro area. We would look at a similar strategy of partnering with our State Lands including rededication of some of our commercial holdings, to provide real middle class affordable housing options and also look at dedicated funding sources for the state affordable housing fund.
Healthcare: Expansive, visionary goals for a western regional consortium. “Whether its using the leverage we have through several states to negotiate for better prescription drugs, or whether it’s one of our policies in Colorado in our 100 day plan, it’s establishing an insurance program similar to Alaska, Oregon and Minnesota. There might be a way to do that in an interstate way to create even larger risk pools for some of the highest class cases that drive the cost of healthcare that can reduce it for the rest of us.”
Renewable Energy: On board with a “bold goal for our state is to achieve complete 100% renewable energy by 2040 or sooner,” but hedges with regulations targeting Oil & Gas. “Our bold goal for our state is to achieve complete 100 percent renewable energy by 2040 or sooner. We have a plan from the ground up to make sure that we can develop the wind and solar and hydro resources we need to improve the quality of our air, to do our part on climate, and also to save people money and create good green jobs.”
#Me too: “Every workplace, private sector or public sector should be a safe place for women and everybody regardless of their gender. We should have workplaces, public and private free of discrimination and harassment as well as of course our colleges and higher education institutions.”
Why you?: “Well, first of all our state can’t afford a Donald Trump Yes man like Walker Stapleton as governor. I’m willing to stand up to this president or any president of either party to put Colorado first. We have a bold vision and goal of achieving 100 percent renewable energy, of universal kindergarten and preschool for every family which will make our state more affordable and treat real opportunity to give every child a strong start. You know, Coloradans are tired of getting ripped off on healthcare. I’m the only candidate with an aggressive plan, a 100 day plan to help Coloradans with healthcare today, so they have more money to afford the Colorado that you love. So it’s really about having a bold goal and a plan to achieve it. I’ll always fight every day against the special interest to put people first.”
Lieutenant Governor: “I wanted a partner to help me save people money on healthcare and expand coverage. And there’s no one better than Dianne Primavera. Not only was she the former executive director of the Susan G. Komen Foundation funding groundbreaking research in breast cancer, and not only was she a patient advocate, as a member of the state legislature. But she also has a very powerful personal narrative as a four-time cancer survivor who herself had to deal with losing healthcare, risking loss of healthcare, and the high cost of out of pocket care at the hardest time in her life, but she fought as a single mother for her own recovery.
Walker Stapleton (R)
Refused repeated requests for interviews
Helker has lived in Colorado most of his life. He has a J.D. and served in the Navy. He’s been a small business owner.
“My main reason for running at the time, is that there’s no Libertarians running, and I felt we needed to get the message out.”
112: Against. “It appears that 112, the setbacks and stuff, are just an attempt to do away with what some people see as a problem. Having said that, I really believe in compromise and working with people. Even though I don’t think 112 is gonna pass, I would work even if doesn’t pass, for compromise, the simple fact is with their horizontal drilling and stuff, they don’t need to be really next to you at all.”
73: Against. “I’m more of a pragmatist. The people don’t wanna get rid of public education, but they want efficient public education. And, my problem right now is we’re paying a lot of money and not getting results. In education, we have the worst schools and they keep paying the teachers there less. My alternative would be take your best teachers, and if they want to get paid more, let them go to the worst schools. They can get paid more by going to the worst schools and bringing the standards up. Which is completely possible. We gotta work with what we’ve got, so let’s clean up the mess and just put in some common sense stuff that any business would do.”
109 &110: 110, kind of. “I don’t want a whole bunch of bonds that we have to pay off. So I’m not a huge supporter of 109. 110 however, the interesting thing about 110, it takes money away from the general funds, and gives it directly to counties. If you go on the western slope they have small counties there, they still have dirt roads because they can’t afford to pave them. But if their funding came in on 110, they could pave all their roads and it would take money away from the general fund. If 110 passed, I think it’d be a great thing and it would increase the sale taxes and I’m not big on taxes but at least it’d put the money where it needed to go and more importantly the money wouldn’t go toward the general fund.” If neither pass, Helker would want to subscribe particular taxes to highways particularly in smaller counties as well as a licensing fee for bicycles to help fund bike lanes and trails.
Housing: Supports tiny house communities. “Allowing an increase of tiny houses would let people own their own house and have an equity in it. It would force rent down over time because people are choosing to go out and get their own home that they can afford. If you’re looking at a tiny house that costs you $10-40,000, and equity with it, that’s affordable for most people. It also takes care of some of our homeless problem. Granted, they’re not huge places but how much do you really need to live? I would happily facilitate tiny houses as the solution.”
Renewable energy: No, can’t commit to the idea. “The basic reason is the technology’s not there yet. Historically when we built railroads, cities and states got really involved and they built railroads that went nowhere and nobody made any money off of them, and they were just drains on the economy. When the technology is there, sure why not? We need to be a little more patient, maybe it’ll come in the time period people are hoping for.”
Major issues we haven’t addressed: “Ok, these are my issues. I can raise the water levels of river basins by ? to ?. How do I do that? Beavers. When they did the Colorado compact, all those years ago, they had a 10 year period where they had two jobs. Job number 1: was to record to the water levels in all the river basins so they know what water is going where. Second, was to get rid of as many beaver ponds as they possibly could. After they measured they went down by ?. Why? Because they got rid of the beavers, which put water into the aquifers. We need the beavers back so we can raise the water levels in the aquifers. Number Two, PERA. Obviously all government pension funds fail when they run out of other people’s money. I propose to put a [pillar system] based on the Dutch example, when they took the government pension funds and made them available to anybody in the Netherlands. I would take that out and make it available to anybody in Colorado. Widening the base, and bringing the money out. Final one is student loans, I would make use of state power for exemptions on student loans.”
ENDORSEMENT FOR JARED POLIS: It’s important to note that we view a 2040 renewable energy goal, coupled with an unwillingness to support 112, as a weak position. The future of our species is at stake and a tech magnate should be on board with scientific consensus. Jared is, however, leading in other areas; notably, healthcare. We want more from Polis, but acknowledge that he is the best option to lead us forward today.