Opinion | John Hickenlooper: Let’s get Washington back on track | SummitDaily.com

Opinion | John Hickenlooper: Let’s get Washington back on track

John Hickenlooper
U.S. Senate Democratic candidate
John Hickenlooper
Photo by Evan Semón / Evan Semón Photography

When I launched my campaign for Senate, I did so because I saw how broken Congress had become. Instead of moving our country forward, elected officials in Washington were too busy playing political games. I knew that another six years of Sen. Cory Gardner was a direct threat to our Colorado values. Colorado needs someone who is going to protect access to health care for people with preexisting conditions, lower the cost of prescription drugs, protect our public lands, fight climate change with the urgency it deserves, take a stand against the gun violence epidemic plaguing our communities and address systemic racism.

I didn’t think the stakes could get much higher, and I was wrong.

The 2020 election will be the most important election of our lifetime. In just the past six months, a global pandemic accelerated across the globe, Americans took to the streets to fight for racial justice, and wildfires ravaged communities in Colorado and the West Coast. And now the Senate is rushing to confirm a new justice to the Supreme Court who could overturn the Affordable Care Act and Roe v. Wade. In these turbulent times, Colorado deserves a senator who will take action — not one who caves to President Donald Trump 100% of the time.

I know how to lead through a crisis by putting people ahead of politics and solving problems — as we did when Colorado was facing historic floods, wildfires, mass shootings and the Great Recession. I will bring that same leadership to ending this pandemic and helping us build back better than before. When I took office in the wake of the Great Recession, Colorado was ranked 40th for job creation. By working together with a bottom-up approach, we built the top economy in the country. I have a record of bringing people together to get things done, from expanding access to health care for half a million Coloradans and fighting climate change with “gold standard” methane regulations, to signing universal background checks on gun sales into law and passing in-state tuition for Dreamers. Now, I am running for the U.S. Senate to bring these same Colorado-driven solutions to Washington.

One week after the election, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in Trump’s lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act. Now the ACA isn’t perfect — our mountain communities know that too well — but throwing our entire health care system into chaos, ripping 400,000 Coloradans off their insurance and ending protections for people with preexisting conditions is unacceptable, especially during a pandemic. I have a plan to build on the ACA by passing a public option, which could lower costs and expand coverage. Meanwhile, Gardner has voted 13 times to destroy the ACA and is ramming through a Supreme Court justice who could gut coverage for 2.4 million Coloradans with preexisting conditions.

In Summit County, our mountain towns have faced staggering damage from both the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing threat of wildfires. Virtually overnight, our small businesses had to shut their doors and tell visitors from around the world to stay home. It was a decision that saved lives but has left our mountain towns with some of the highest unemployment rates in Colorado. Yet the Senate left unemployed Coloradans and struggling small businesses behind by failing to pass additional pandemic relief. Action is long overdue.

This summer, as we adjusted to a new socially distanced normal, Summit County saw wildfires cloak the air with the ash. It’s not enough to fight for funding and resources; we need an administration that will address the threat of climate change and a senator who will stand up for science. I support moving to a 100% clean energy economy as soon as possible and will make sure we move aggressively to tackle this existential threat.

By supporting Trump 100% of the time, Gardner has shown that he won’t stand up for Colorado. Instead of being forthcoming about his record, Gardner has tried to deceive Coloradans about his votes to roll back protections for clean air and water, and to gut health care coverage for Coloradans with preexisting conditions.

We have a long road ahead to get our economy — and our country — back on track, but at every tough moment, Colorado has always met the challenges of our times. And I will always stand up for you.

John Hickenlooper is a geologist, brewer, small-business owner, former mayor of Denver and governor of Colorado. He is running for U.S. Senate.

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