Opinion | Linda Harmon: Please vote down ballot
Summit County residents could have a substantial effect on the current threats to our national democracy from Trump-supporting conservatives. Since they haven’t been able change things on a federal level, those who fund and organize the extreme conservative movement are systemically targeting state legislatures. Their goal is to manage gun legislation, health care costs, abortion laws and national election results. If they gain leadership of state legislatures, they can undo what voters choose.
Extreme conservatives are counting on low voter turnout this year because it isn’t a presidential election year, plus in off-year elections voters don’t vote down ballot as much. That’s why it’s so important to vote all the way down the ballot where state legislative races are listed.
If you aren’t registered to vote yet, go on the Colorado Secretary of State’s website and register. You can register online up to 8 days before the election or register and vote in-person up to election day.
If the Republicans gain control of the state legislature and perhaps the Governor’s office, judging from the type of bills these Republicans have historically introduced, our lives will change. It is very likely that they will relax gun laws, change our abortion laws and undo many of the environmental protection laws.
For the most part, today’s Republican party has no moderation. Only a small number of the party represents moderate conservatives. The party is largely controlled by the supporters of Donald Trump and his election deniers. David Pepper’s new book, “Laboratories of Autocracy: A Wake-Up Call from Behind the Lines,” addresses this issue of extreme conservatives trying to control state legislatures. If voters elect state legislators who are aligned with this ultra-conservative side of the Republican party, they will likely enact more autocratic laws within their states.
Summit County can play an important role in preventing this from happening. Summit County has more registered unaffiliated voters than Democrats or Republicans and more registered Democrats than Republicans. If our county turns out to vote and they vote all the way down ballot we could easily influence the makeup of the Colorado 2022-2023 State Legislature.
By reelecting our state house representative, Democrat Julie McCluskie and electing Democratic candidate for State Senate Dylan Roberts, we will keep Colorado blue. Plus, we will keep two highly accomplished and talented people who care deeply about Summit County.
Since Dylan Roberts has served as a State Representative in nearby Eagle and Routt counties for the last 4 years, McCluskie and Roberts have worked hard to address issues that are unique to mountain communities. They both effectively address affordable housing, transportation, child care and health care issues. More importantly, both have been recognized for reaching across the aisle.
The conservative Independent Bankers of Colorado even gave Roberts their highest Spirit of Independence Award.
Most recently, McCluskie and Roberts worked on the Colorado Option Healthcare legislation, HB21-1232, which gives Western Slope residents more options in their health care choices.
“This is very important now since the U.S. Senate passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, which eliminated the coverage of insulin costs. Our Colorado Option covers insulin costs so Coloradans with diabetes can still receive help for their insulin expenses,” said McCluskie.
Roberts and McCluskie have worked to ensure that $428 million of the federal relief funds were allocated to make housing more affordable. Roberts has also chaired the Affordable Housing Task Force.
“This task force delivered the largest single-year affordable housing investment in state history,” said Roberts.
McCluskie is also a rock star, serving this past year as Chairman of the powerful Legislative Joint Budget committee.
Additionally, they worked on legislation to make more than $100 million available to increase childcare capacity and affordability. Furthermore, they worked collaboratively to enact Colorado’s roadmap to Building Back Stronger — embarking on a statewide listening tour to gather input on how to allocate nearly $4 billion in federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act.
It is obvious these two amazing leaders care deeply about issues facing Summit County and Colorado. Registered voters in our county have an important job this fall when ballots are mailed out, since both McCluskie and Roberts are in highly competitive districts. Don’t allow autocracy to rule Colorado. Vote with common sense and vote blue down ballot.
Linda Harmon's column "Positive Progressive Thinking" publishes biweekly on Fridays in the Summit Daily News. Harmon is a former broadcast and print journalist who has been involved in Democratic Party politics since she was 18. She lives in Silverthorne. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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