Rural High-Speed Internet
Access to high-speed internet is no longer a luxury, and it’s not just a tool to stream our favorite TV shows. Lack of internet access in our rural areas means that schools aren’t able to give students a fair opportunity to prepare for college, or the workforce. Entrepreneurs are being told to live elsewhere to pursue their dreams, and medical patients are being forced to travel to far-away hospitals instead of utilizing telemedicine.
- Our Broadband Deployment Fund could be funding internet projects across the state, but the law surrounding it is vague and murky, resulting in slow-moving investments in building out high-speed internet. We will speed that investment by changing the law to move resources faster.
- We’ll give rural towns and citizens the freedom to plan for and invest in broadband by removing the antiquated requirement to conduct costly and time-intensive elections to do so.
- Colorado will partner with local governments to create strategic regional broadband plans and support partnerships by encouraging state agencies to collaborate in building reliable internet across the state using existing resources.
- I will nominate Public Utility Commission members that support building out rural broadband and side with consumers over well-funded special interests, and will encourage CDOT to coordinate with local governments in using existing fiber lines and resources to close service gaps.
A Dignified Retirement
Every Coloradan deserves the healthy, dignified retirement they’ve earned through a lifetime of hard work.
- We’ll help Coloradans without employer-supported retirement programs invest in their future by creating a retirement savings plan for workers to enter into. In 2016, The Bell Policy Center found that 45 percent of workers in Colorado lack a retirement savings plan at work. Colorado can help people plan for a dignified retirement by providing them a portable savings account to make it easier to save for the future.
- Over 500,000 Coloradans rely on PERA benefits they earned over a lifetime of service to the public. In fact, $3.8 billion in benefits were paid to retirees in Colorado alone. I believe that we must preserve PERA as a defined-benefit pension system, and would do everything in my power to honor the committments we have made to workers. Any changes made to PERA need to be as fair as possible to all involved – retirees, current employees, and employers.
Colorado will hold irresponsible corporations accountable when they try to take advantage of our laws and our workers. Too many special interests game the system by seeking exemptions to paying their taxes, resulting in millions of dollars being cut from our classrooms and local economies, and often pay poverty-level wages that force Coloradans to rely on public assistance. We need bold ideas that change our economy from the bottom up to be pro-worker, reward responsible corporations, and give every Coloradan the opportunity to earn a good life.
- Corporations filing their taxes in Colorado shouldn’t be able to hold their earnings in off-shore tax havens. If we ended this practice, it’s estimated that we could bring $70 million in revenue to Colorado’s infrastructure, classrooms, and neighborhoods.
- Making Colorado first-in-the-nation for Public Benefit Corporations that measure their impact on our economy, community, and our environment, and then make investments in keeping Colorado the best place to live.
Adapting to a Changing Economy
In Colorado, we know that work isn’t just about the paycheck — it’s also about dignity and having pride in how we support our families. Though many of our communities are thriving in parts of our state, too many families and communities are being left behind
- We will help rural and coal communities find meaningful work in their field retrain for a new career if they choose, and become entrepreneurs by establishing Workforce Development Commissions across the state.
- Coal workers deserve the healthcare and retirement benefits they were promised and we will fight for miners to receive the healthcare and retirement benefits they are owed
- We will give shut-down factories and mines a new mission and create jobs by bringing local governments and business together to bring new industries to rural Colorado. Some of the highest-skilled and hardest-working men and women in our workforce come from coal country. We will revitalize rural communities by bringing jobs in manufacturing, forestry, agriculture, and renewable energy development to rural Colorado in a way that takes advantage of the skills our workers already have
- We’ll create a blue-ribbon commission of business leaders, Labor leaders, and citizensto work with the state’s top economists and researchers to put Colorado in the best position to confront the challenge of automation.
In recent decades, the cost of home ownership has vastly outpaced incomes, and after the Great Recession, thousands of young Coloradans chose to move back home rather than moving out on their own. With rents skyrocketing, and homeownership for families being delayed for years, it’s time that we took the serious steps necessary to lower the cost of housing across the state.
- We will create a permanent affordable housing fund in Colorado. Colorado will partner with realtors, developers, homeowners, and other stakeholders, to create a permanent funding source for housing programs, and will work with companies to invest in affordable housing projects by bringing profits held overseas back to Colorado.
- The low-income housing tax credit has helped thousands of Coloradans find housing across the state and is set to expire in 2019. I will work with the legislature to extend this program to support the development of housing.
- Colorado will make transit-oriented investments in housing. Any conversation about infrastructure must also include affordable housing. With strategic city planning, and responsible investments in transit-based housing, we can help Coloradans live closer to their jobs, and reduce congestion on our roads.
- We will cut red tape, and reduce barriers to building affordable housing by partnering with local governments to address zoning, environmental, and community needs that will result in responsibly built development.
- Protecting Colorado’s historic neighborhoods, and keeping people in their homes. As our economy grows and more people move to our state, we need to be responsive, respectful, and diligent in helping Coloradans who love where they live stay in their communities.
- Create good paying Colorado jobs by hiring the best-qualified builders in the state to ensure quality construction of homes using Department of Labor-registered apprenticeship programs, and hiring Coloradans first.
Read my full policy position paper on profit sharing here!
- Colorado can be first-in-the-nation for companies that share their profits and success with their workers. Income inequality is worse than it was in the “Gilded Age,” and ensuring workers see the results of our state’s economic success is an important step in solving the problem.
- More employees should have access to stock options, profit sharing, and company ownership. The companies I started shared ownership with employees, and I want to make it easier and reduce red-tape for businesses across Colorado to do the same. Colorado companies like Leever’s Supermarkets, New Belgium Brewery, and Namaste Solar are great examples of how companies of all sizes can adopt this practice.
- Colorado should support Employee Ownership Business Centers that provide expertise and mentoring to foster the retention of good employees and encourage better performance from workers while leading to better pay and benefits.
Every election cycle, we hear from politicians promising to “strengthen our economy,” but often all they offer are vague plans and platitudes. I’m running for Governor of Colorado to turn bold
ideas into real results. I know Colorado can lead the way in creating an economy that works for everybody, not just those at the top, and I have a plan to do it. I support allowing cities and counties to raise the minimum wage, providing paid family medical leave, and ensuring equal pay for equal work, and we can do even more to address rising income inequality and ensure that workers share in the value they help create.