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BOCO Dems Could Do Better | Community Corner

BOCO Dems Could Do Better | Community Corner


By: Kenneth Flowe

As a 10-year-plus resident of Boulder, I have looked on at local politics and have been impressed. The Boulder County Democratic Party (BCDP) has operated like a well-oiled progressive machine. It values diversity, encourages participation and cultivates candidates. A community member with a command of the issues and a passion for progressive ideals can find a home in the BCDP.

When Edie Hooten left office, the BCDP tapped Junie Joseph to take her position. She was a first-term member of the City Council with a reputation for diving right in. She has represented the City of Boulder both within the state and nationally. Always available for town hall meetings and coffee with constituents, Junie conducted herself as the type of representative that Boulder longed for: well-educated, hardworking and accessible.

Junie was chosen during the Dem Party vacancy because she was a competent public policy practitioner with a proven track record of valuing Democratic ideals and a passion for getting the job done. This worked out fantastic. In her new position as a state representative for District 10, Junie enacted progressive legislation such as HB23-1120 Eviction Protections for Residential Tenants, and HB23-1027: Parent And Child Family Time, and HB23-1280: expanding access, quality and fairness in the justice system, just to name a few.

Representative Joseph did an outstanding job. Typically, freshman legislators have an abysmal success rate when it comes to getting legislation introduced and turned into law. But not Junie Joseph. Of the 20 or 21 bills she sponsored in the State Assembly, 19 have been signed into law. Each bill is more progressive than the next. Proving, in fact, that she was ready, willing, and able to take on the job of State Representative. It turns out the BCDP had made a great choice when they encouraged her to pursue the seat. So, what happened, what changed?

Rep. Junie Joseph

It has become apparent, to my understanding, that the Boulder County Democratic Party has decided to run a different candidate for the 2024 election. It may not have been explicitly stated, but it has been made apparent through party leadership’s endorsement of Joseph’s opponent. But endorsements are only one indicator of the lack of support given to Junie. During the Labor Day Parade, her opponent was positioned snugly tight with the BOCO Dem Banner, while Representative Joseph, the incumbent, was relegated to the back.

So, it is clear to me that rather than nurturing the diversity and inclusion that we strive for in Boulder County and empowering a legislator who brought millions of dollars in tax incentives designed to decarbonize the state of Colorado, the BCDP Leadership has been silent with regard to how they see Junie’s contributions to the Democratic cause.

This whole thing smacks of hypocrisy. On one hand, Democrats proudly tout the banner of diversity and then when an opportunity exists to support a highly competent and effective African-American woman, efforts to undercut her progress are made. With Democrats like this, who needs Republicans? It serves as a reminder that you can only get so far if you are not from a certain demographic, or connected with a certain group of friends. I wonder what measures Junie has or has not supported that have been “off brand” for the BOCO Dems.

When Republicans ask why African-Americans toss their support for Democrats in return for zero support when it is really needed, I tend to tell them that the Democrats stand for diversity, stand for equality, stand for inclusion, but most of all stand by their words.

Boulder Democrats can and should do better than this. We have a responsibility to place action behind our rhetoric. We aspire to broaden the tent for participants of various backgrounds, and in Junie Joseph, we have done so. In the process, there has been no compromise with regard to competence, stick-to-it-ness or progressive policy. All of her actions as a representative have been right “on brand” with the stated goals and values of the Boulder County Democratic Party, so why change candidates now? I, for one, call on the BCDP leadership to issue a full-throated endorsement of Junie Joseph for the House of Representatives of District 10.

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