Fountain Valley News - Your Hometown Community Newspaper

Time to Do What's Best for Colorado

 

December 19, 2018

In November I was fortunate to win my fourth, and last, election to the Colorado State Legislature. This was possible due to the hours and hours of support and help I received from a core of 12 people. These 12 walked door to door, delivered literature, put up signs and made phone calls.

Unfortunately for the Republicans, this trend didn't hold true across the state. Not since 1936 have the Democrats held all state-wide offices. And, of course, they also took control of the Senate and kept control of the House. Why did this happen? They had a great plan that they have worked for years while we, the Republicans, had none. While the Democrats had 100's of volunteers knocking on doors, raising money, and making phone calls, we had precinct leaders who basically said "my candidate didn't win the primary so I'm not helping the one who did." Democrats do a great job of seeing the big picture. They know how to adjust their priorities in the short run to achieve successes for the long haul. Republicans don't seem to be capable of doing that. Instead too many of us adopt a "my way or the highway" attitude and that gets us exactly where we are now. Republicans now have the lowest number of state legislators they have had in decades. We lost seats that had been Republican forever.

This all happened because we (at least many of us) stopped paying attention to what the people of Colorado care about. Many of the current Republican leaders have lost sight of the fact that we need to focus on the "kitchen table" issues that resonate with voters. The average voter is concerned about issues that affect their family; educating their kids, paying for their health insurance premiums, putting food on the table, school safety. Their primary focus in not on social issues. Something many Republicans can't seem to get away from. It is one thing to have personal strong beliefs on social issues, it is quite another to try to inflict those beliefs on others. It's NOT important!

Another reason we lost was a complete lack of understanding as to who would be voting and how to reach that person. The Democrats started reaching out to unaffiliated voters a long time ago. Getting their message out. We did not. They targeted women voters, appealing to them through issues important to them. They started this years ago by running bills in the legislature that they could point to and say, "see I care about you." In short, their messaging was great, ours was not.

However, having said all of that, while the people of Colorado generally voted for Democrat candidates, they did not vote for Democrat principles. They adopted a Republican philosophy when it came to ballot initiatives. They voted against all tax increases. They voted against regulations that will have a crippling effect on Colorado. In short, when it came to ballot initiatives, they voted Republican!

What does this mean for the upcoming session? Both sides better beware. If the Democrats bring forth some of the legislation that failed last session because it was clearly "bad for Colorado," they could lose it all in 2020. If the Republicans keep going down a far right path where guns and gays are the issue de jour, they will quite possibly end up in a bigger minority.

It's time for both sides to realize that doing what is best for Colorado means looking at what is best for our citizens, not what suits our own personal agendas. For Republicans, it is time to change our message. Put the social issues in a box and leave them in a back closet somewhere. It's time to adopt a more moderate approach that considers our constituents and what is best for them. In short, it's time for Republicans to start offering solutions! For Democrats, it's almost the same. Quit pounding on extreme left issues and get down to the job at hand. Create solutions that help people without bankrupting the state. Yes, you are in charge. But we all saw how fast that changed when you decided to infringe on our constitutional rights in 2016.

In other words- my advice to both sides...be reasonable, be thoughtful, legislate with a head and a heart.

Wishing one and all a very Merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year!

 

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