Politicians tend to spend time talking about symbolic issues which are great for generating money, support and anger
Let's tune-out this type of noise
In truth, these are distractions more than they are real issues. Yes, the Colorado legislature could propose legislative reform on any of the topics listed on this page, but the odds of that are low. The main reason a legislator would address such an issue would be to signal to her most loyal party followers that she 'cares about' their issues. I care very little about these issues because I know they are not likely to turn into law in the near future. To extent these issues come up at all while I am in office, it will likely only be in the news media and in the courts.
Many of the issues I have included here are on topics about which I tend to get a lot of questions - I urge you all to consider that the we have been trained by partisan politics to focus on these issues because doing to benefits the major parties. Let's turn our attention to the things we can agree on, to the things that require our attention and energy. Let's agree to to shout a loud and collective "no" to identity politics.
The Second Amendment
I do not own a gun, but I have shot them many times. I understand the concerns that many people have about guns in our society; after all, they are responsible for lots of the bad things that happen on our streets, our homes, and our schools.
Guns are dangerous tools that require respect and great care in their use. But in my experience, the vast majority of gun owners recognize and respect these facts. Curtailing the right of responsible gun owners in an effort to weed out those among us who mis-use these dangerous tools is unproductive and silly. Guns are NOT going to be taken away from responsible people in the US, period. So the continual drum beat from the political right should be seen for what it is: a scare tactic to generate anger and donations.
But while I support the rights of our citizens to bear arms, I reject the notion that any and all constraints on the use and sale of guns is tantamount to repealing the Second Amendment. I have more respect for our constitution than that. We the people of Colorado are smart enough to see the difference between responsible restrictions on guns (like not selling them to those suffering from mental health issues) and a fictional effort to take the guns away.
I am pro choice. I also think abortion should be safe, legal, and more rare than it is today.
No doubt about it: the world is a dangerous place. That said, I have visited and/or worked in 99 countries, and my impression of just how dangerous the world is depends on what I have been doing. If I have been reading the new reports or watching tv I tend to think the world is a lot more dangerous than when I am actually experiencing other parts of the world face to face. I firmly believe that a better understanding of other people and other countries would do a lot to reduce our collective anxiety about the dangers we face as a nation.
But for the most part, the dangers we face as a nation have very little to do with state government. For this reason, my views on military spending, foreign aid, trade deals, and a host of other related issues are largely irrelevant. I am a patriot. I thank and honor the people who keep us safe. But I also know that my views on national security and terrorism are irrelevant to this election or to my work in the Colorado State Senate.
I have never smoked or been around pot and I did not support our state being at the vanguard of this policy change in our country. That said, I deeply respect the will of the Colorado voters, and I do not think we should push to substantially change direction on this issue. Pot is here to stay.
But I do think we should follow through on the commitments made when Amendment 64 passed. We were told pot tax would be used for public schools, but it tuns out the money has gone directly into the general fund. We should pass a law that requires the legislature to track and report the collection and use of pot revenue so that the voters can see that the money generated from pot is being used as it should be.
I also support changes to the banking laws that currently make this legal business very difficult.
And like most people, I think we should think carefully about how to keep pot and its derivatives out of the hands of our kids.
Freedom of Speech
I am a firm believer in free speech. I am not made uncomfortable when other people express views I find abhorrent. In fact, I am happy to defend their rights to express such views.
But as much attention as this issue gets during campaigns, free speech is not under threat in Colorado.
The 2016 Election
I voted for Evan McMullen for President because I was not happy with the other choices. Like many of you, I voted with a heavy-heart.
I did not vote for our current president and I think many of the things he says and does are reckless and ill-informed. I also object to his style of leadership, his tone, and the deliberate impression he creates about all who oppose him. In short, I do not think he is a leader whose actions, temperament, and character are befitting of our great nation.
But the man is our president and I think we need to treat the office with respect, even when we dislike the person who holds it. If I ever get a chance to meet the man in person, I will respectfully address him as "Mr. President", I will thank him for his service, and then I will politely but firmly begin pressing him on a host of issues I think he needs to re-consider.
But as much as people in the media talk about the 2016 election, and as relevant as it was before the election, it has absolutely no bearing on the real challenges that lie ahead of us right here in Colorado.
It is time to put the labels and the judgement and the past behind us for a few years so that we can let our politicians get down to the real business of governance.