FEEDBACK | Three hot buttons: education, abortion and global warming
Author: Colorado Politics - June 14, 2018 - Updated: June 14, 2018
Cary Kennedy is the real leader on education
Having seen Jared Polis’s misleading campaign ad attacking Cary Kennedy for the umpteenth time, I am sharing some direct insight about his claim that he “led” the effort to increase funding for every school in Colorado – and from where the actual leadership came. I was the campaign manager for that effort – Amendment 23. Cary Kennedy conceived the amendment, wrote it and led the effort to explain it, debate it and advocate for it. Working with a crew of tenacious women, they fought for and won the Amendment 23 election. Cary’s ability as citizen leader was clear: She identified a problem, identified a solution and built momentum to fix it.
To be sure, Polis wrote some big checks (from a seemingly bottomless account) that greatly assisted the effort. Good for him that he is in a financial situation that enables him to provide that support, as well as for his campaigns. But writing checks isn’t leadership – despite what his ad claims. And a man (again) claiming credit for the vision, work and successes led by women doesn’t make it so.
Then the Polis campaign ad goes on to “credit” Kennedy for an ad that an outside group is running – a group that does not/cannot coordinate with the Kennedy campaign. Take credit/give credit – in both cases the Polis campaign is wrong and does a disservice by intentionally misleading us.
It’s great that education has become such a central issue in the governor’s race. The credible answer as to who has provided the most important leadership over the past two decades is Cary Kennedy. She was the creative and driving force behind the two most important and successful education initiatives in Colorado – Amendment 23 and the BEST program. Cary’s vision, leadership and commitment have gotten things done. That’s just the kind of person, the kind of leader, we need as governor.
Where do the candidates stand on abortion rights?
Reproductive rights and abortion access matter to voters — and they matter to me as a young woman of reproductive age. As a recent college graduate, I and my friends are embarking on a critical period of life in which we must solidify our economic independence and build strong foundations in our careers and personal lives. The right to choose is a critical part of this period of construction and this right is increasingly under attack.
The Trump administration has made attacking abortion rights a priority. VP Mike Pence is a known opponent of Planned Parenthood and abortion access. In the last weeks, restrictive legislation across the country has undermined a fundamental right that I and my peers had previously taken for granted. We will no longer take this right for granted. Instead, we will vote on it.
So why don’t we know where the gubernatorial candidates — Democrats and Republicans — stand on these issues? Why haven’t they been asked if Colorado’s Initiative 3 — which bans state funding for abortion care — should be overturned? Or if the Hyde Amendment, which bans abortion funding for women on Medicaid nationwide, should be overturned? Or whether they would sign a 20-week ban? Why haven’t AG candidates been asked if they will challenge the Trump administration’s domestic gag rule on abortion information being provided to patients?
These are all critical questions that voters are concerned about — because the threats to abortion rights are very real. The answers will determine whom I chose to vote for. I deserve to be informed about issues that are important for me.
Voters have a right to know, and candidates should be asked the questions.
Set partisanship aside to fight climate change
When I worked for Gov. Bill Ritter in his communications shop, I once drafted his remarks for a speech to the Colorado Association of Ski Towns. They had two main concerns: immigration, because they need seasonal workers, and climate change. Colorado’s legendary champagne powder becoming scarcer and scarcer has a direct effect on our economy.
Right now southwest Colorado is bone dry and on fire. The San Juan National Forest is closed. Rivers are at a trickle. Our snowpack this season was abysmal — and climatologists are telling us the snow season is getting shorter and drier every year. The interior mountain west has been in drought for the better part of the last decade.
Human-caused climate change isn’t a partisan issue – or it shouldn’t be. It’s an economic one critical to the future of this state. Yet Republicans in the Colorado General Assembly regularly refuse to acknowledge it or address it. This year they went so far as to introduce a resolution that “prohibits the governor from involving Colorado in any state-level climate collaboration that attempts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions or to otherwise promote the goals of the Paris Agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.”
Pretending the facts don’t exist won’t make them go away. And it leaves us facing a brutal wildfire season and the costs that go with it. This should be a collective effort to address a crisis, not an excuse to pick partisan fights.
Laura K. Chapin
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