Building a Better Colorado

As a homegrown Coloradan, I believe in that frontier spirit of standing your ground and finding common ground. As your State Senator, I stood up for our kids, parents, and teachers by bringing in more than $1.5 billion of new funding for our state's schools. I found common ground in a bipartisan transportation bill that will increase investment in our roads, bridges, and transit by $3.5 billion—without raising taxes.

I've stood up to Democrats in my own party and worked with Republicans across the aisle, because who came up with an idea isn't nearly as important as how it impacts our community.

I look forward to continuing the fight to protect our Colorado way of life.

 
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Committee Assignments

  • Education Committee

  • Local Government Committee

  • Joint Technology Committee

  • Water Resources Review Committee

  • Interim School Finance Committee

  • Chair, Smart Communities Public-Private Partnership, National Conference of State Legislatures


Education

"We have a responsibility to ensure that every child has the same opportunity to succeed, no matter where they're from. Everyone benefits when more people have the tools they need to get good-paying jobs to support themselves and their families. My grandma, mom, aunt, mother-in-law, and wife are all teachers. For me public education isn't just an issue, it's a family value. And it's pretty much all we talk about at Thanksgiving!"

Accomplishments

  • Sponsored the historic bill to provide full day kindergarten for every Colorado kid, and got it through the Senate unanimously!

  • Successfully fought for $1.5 billion in new funding for our public schools over the last four years.

  • Sponsored the largest expansion of concurrent enrollment eligibility in Colorado history so that more high schoolers can take college classes before they graduate.

  • Sponsored legislation to create a $30 million school safety disbursement program covering facilities upgrades and mental health training for teachers, administrators, and staff.

  • Sponsored legislation to create a "Return on Investment Report" showing cost, average debt load, and earnings 1, 5, and 10 years out for every degree at every public Colorado college and university. (You can view the results online here.)

  • Cosponsored legislation to expand teacher training and recruitment programs, because half of all new teachers leave the profession within the first few years.

Up Next

  • Expand vocation and career training programs in high schools to help get more kids career-ready.

  • Improve teacher pay so we can better compete with other states to attract and retain the best teachers.

  • Reduce the cost of public higher education so graduates don't start their careers under mountains of debt.

  • Create a continuing education fund for workers to use throughout their entire lives.


Transportation

"I-25 shouldn't be Colorado's largest parking lot, and we shouldn't have to wait until after midnight for reasonable weekend traffic on I-70. Colorado's transportation infrastructure is woefully inadequate for today's population, and that's true across our entire state. While new vehicle technology may help, we need to invest more in our roads, bridges, and transit starting today."

Accomplishments

  • Cosponsored a historic bipartisan transportation plan to invest $3.5 billion in our roads, bridges, and transit—without raising taxes.

  • Sponsored an autonomous vehicle bill that will protect Colorado drivers while putting our state at the forefront of this developing industry and the new jobs that will come with it. (Click here to see my op-ed in the Denver Post.)

  • Sponsored legislation to allow different locations for our front license plate, creating room for crash avoidance sensors that make our streets safer for everyone.

  • Sponsored legislation to streamline vehicle registration processes at the DMV, saving Coloradans time and money.

Up Next

  • Continue to invest in Colorado's roads, bridges, and transit so families don't have to sit in traffic and goods and services can move freely into and out of our state.

  • Make sure that Colorado is ready to implement new vehicle and road technology in a way that capitalizes on existing transportation infrastructure.


Jobs + Economy

"Anyone willing to work hard at a full-time job should be able to pay for housing and put food on the table. Over the past few years we've seen the cost of healthcare go up. We've seen the cost of housing and student loans go up. The only thing we haven't seen go up is wages. Colorado is one of the fastest growing states in the nation, and we must ensure that our strong economy works for all of us."

Accomplishments

  • Cosponsored legislation to create a statewide family and medical leave insurance program for all Colorado workers.

  • Cosponsored legislation to create a universal retirement savings plan for the nearly 1 million Coloradans don't have access to a retirement program at work.

  • Sponsored a “Renters Bill of Rights” to ensure that landlords provide basic necessities like heat and hot water.

  • Sponsored legislation to create a tax credit for the development of affordable housing for home ownership.

Up Next

  • Investigate ways to make benefits like healthcare and unemployment insurance portable across jobs and employers in order to encourage the creation of more small businesses and give independent contractors and "gig economy" workers the same benefits and protections as everyone else.

  • Give companies a tax credit for providing their employees with ongoing certificate-based job training.

  • Simplify the tax code for small businesses and create a fast track for people interested in starting new businesses.


Energy + Environment

"Climate change is real, it's caused by humans, and as a state that will be hit hard by climate change, we have an even greater responsibility to act. Renewable energy also means jobs, and our State House district has more renewable energy jobs than any other district in Colorado. Increasing wind and solar production means more good-paying jobs for Coloradans, and a healthy environment we can all enjoy."

Accomplishments

  • Cosponsored one of the strongest climate bills in the country to cut Colorado's greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2030 and 90% by 2050 based on 2005 levels.

  • Worked with Xcel Energy on their plan to close two coal plants in Pueblo, replace them with expanded wind and solar, and achieve zero carbon by 2050.

  • Cosponsored legislation to allow homeowners to install on-site batteries, boosting our at-home renewable energy market and the jobs this sector creates.

  • Cosponsored legislation to test for lead in the drinking water at our public schools.

Up Next

  • Fully fund the Colorado Water Plan to keep our water clean and protect one of our state's most precious—and threatened—natural resources.

  • Bring down the cost of housing by right-sizing the cost of new tap fees.

  • Continue to protect and grow our parks and open spaces, and prevent any effort to privatize our public lands.


Healthcare

"While out knocking on doors, I met a woman who can't afford to pay for her prescription medication on top of her rent and food. No one should have to face those kinds of choices. We must do more to bring down the cost of healthcare for all Coloradans, because access to affordable healthcare is a right. As someone who has suffered from asthma throughout my life, the fight over coverage of preexisting conditions is a personal one. No matter what happens in Washington, I will fight to keep that protection here in Colorado."

Accomplishments

  • Cosponsored a bill to create a reinsurance program that has already cut costs on the individual market by 18%.

  • Cosponsored legislation to study the feasibility and impacts of creating a Medicaid buy-in option.

  • Increased funding for opioid and substance abuse programs across the state.

  • Cosponsored legislation that will provide a tenfold increase in residential and inpatient substance abuse treatment through Medicaid coverage, mostly by drawing down federal funds.

  • Cosponsored legislation to bring more transparency to prescription drug pricing.

Up Next

  • Increase preventative care by finding creative ways to connect doctors with patients.

  • Investigate whether joining together with other Western states could allow for a reasonably-priced Medicare- or Medicaid-style public buy-in option.

  • Remove barriers to telemedicine so that all parts of our state have access to the high quality healthcare and specialists they need.


equality

"'I don't just support choice, equal pay, child care, and sexual harassment laws because of the women in my life. I support them because women's issues are everyone's issues. Ensuring that we have equal protections for all members of our community, regardless of race, religion, gender identity, or sexual orientation is a cornerstone of our Colorado and American values."

Accomplishments

  • Cosponsored legislation requiring equal pay for equal work.

  • Cosponsored legislation banning conversion therapy, and making it easier for transgender Coloradans to change their birth certificates.

  • Fully funded Colorado's long-acting reversible contraception plan, a nationally recognized program that has dramatically reduced unplanned teen pregnancies.

  • Removed serial sexual harasser Rep. Steve Lebsock from office.

Up next

  • Continue working to help women access the resources they need to reduce unplanned pregnancies, while protecting their rights to make personal reproductive health care decisions without government intrusion.

  • Continue to protect an individual's First Amendment right to peacefully protest for what they believe in—no matter where they work.