Next month, Coloradans will cast their votes to choose who will represent us in the U.S. Senate. With the race still neck and neck, the stakes are just too high for any of us to sit this election out.
The tragedy in Ferguson and, closer to home, the abuse in our Denver jails has shown us how hard we must continue working to make sure that every single person, no matter the color of their skin or the size of the parents’ bank account, has an equal opportunity to succeed.
That’s why I’ve worked every day to stand up for working families and move Colorado forward. That means working to make college more affordable, improving access to job training programs, and fighting to make sure that no family that works hard and plays by the rules is forced to live in poverty.
That’s why I’ve fought to raise the minimum wage, something my opponent, Congressman Gardner, has stubbornly opposed.
It’s why I fought to stop interest rates on federal student loans from doubling, and why I put forward a plan to allow students to refinance their current loans at lower interest rates, just like a homeowner can.
I’ve also fought to fully fund Pell Grants, which hundreds of thousands of Coloradans rely on to attain a college degree. My opponent, Congressman Gardner, on the other hand, voted to slash Pell Grant funding by $5.7 billion, threatening college opportunities for 149,000 low-income students in Colorado.
We also need to close the gaping skills gap that hinders too many unemployed workers from beginning new careers. Expanding job training and workforce development programs are essential to spurring economic growth, which is why I worked to pass the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which helps states and cities bolster job retraining programs.
I’ve also fought against partisan efforts to place undue burden on disabled Coloradans, and am proud to be a cosigner of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. I’ve also been a strong proponent of the Community Choice Act so that Coloradans with disabilities and older Americans can have equal access to community based attendant services.
Its issues like these that have helped me gain the support of the Greater Metro Denver Ministerial Alliance, which formally endorsed me earlier this month, and elected officials like former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb and former Denver City Council President Elbra Wedgeworth. I’ve relied on Wellington and Elbra’s friendship and counsel for more than a decade and am honored to stand with them as we fight for Colorado families.
Not only do we continue to seek solutions to the struggles that have gone on for far too long, but we are also fighting to preserve the progress we have already made. Back in 1948, my Grandfather Levi Udall wrote the majority opinion on the Arizona Supreme Court that gave Native Americans the right to vote.
Unfortunately, the right to vote recently suffered a significant setback as the Supreme Court issued a decision that gutted the Voting Rights Act. As recently as 2006, the Senate overwhelmingly reauthorized the Voting Rights Act and its commitment to equal rights by a vote of 980. That’s 100% agreement.
I will push Congress to renew the Voting Rights Act and affirm that our nation will never forget the hard-won victories of the Civil Rights Movement.
Every election is about choices, and this one will be no different. It’s about whether we choose to stand up for our community and our families, or whether we let Tea Party radicals take our state backwards. I hope you don’t sit this election out. Working together, we can continue moving Colorado forward.