Please forgive the length of this letter. There is simply so much happening and I have heard from so many of my constituents in the last couple of weeks with a range of questions and concerns. I wanted to share with you a letter about the future of our democracy and suggest a few ways you can help shape it.
Like so many of you, I am scared, outraged, and sad. Every day seems to bring a new terrible action from President Trump that runs completely counter to who we are as a country and where we need to go. The reaction to these terrible un-American actions has been for many of you to call me and ask me to resist and obstruct. I have been reflecting on our current political realities and dynamic a lot and what everyday citizens can do to help keep making progress. While I would not claim to have all the answers for what lies ahead for our country, here is my current thinking:
Resist — Yes!
There is no doubt that all Congressional Democrats, myself included must resist Trump’s efforts to stack his cabinet with unqualified billionaires with massive conflicts of interest who hold dangerous views on world affairs, public education, and civil rights. There is no doubt we must resist his Muslim ban, his effort to waste tax payers money on a border wall, and his plan to deport law-abiding, aspiring Americans who call our communities home. With every tool available to me, I will resist the Republicans’ efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act with no replacement, defund Planned Parenthood, and roll back the progress we’ve made combating climate change.
Periodically, you will be receiving from a Swamp Report from me because we can not allow this President repeat his lie that he is “draining the swamp” while he stacks the government full of Goldman Sachs executives and walking conflicts of interest. And we can’t let him claim to be putting America first while at the same time, he refuses to release his tax returns or resolve his numerous personal conflicts of interest or even clarify his personal relationship with Russian banks and oligarchs. You can count on me to vote no, use my megaphone to call out this administration, and march in the streets along side of you when this Administration pushes hateful and harmful policies.
Since the 2010 election, I have served in the minority in the House. That experience is often frustrating because we are not able to implement a full, proactive agenda. But as I have gained experience and built relationships with my Republican colleagues, I’ve been able to make progress and pass legislation that will better people’s lives. I am proud of that. In the last Congress, Republicans and Democrats came together to repeal and replace the dysfunctional law No Child Left Behind with a federal framework that works. I was able to pass my email privacy legislation, secure a TIGER grant to fix I-25, and a bill to define I-70 as a transportation priority paving the way for future funding. I will continue to try my best to be effective for our district and state while taking on Trump on core issues of our identity and security as a country. This Congress I am excited to be the Ranking Member on the Early Childhood and Kindergarten Through Twelfth Grade Subcommittee.
I ran for Congress to get real things done and to take my experience as an entrepreneur and innovator and apply that knowledge to our public policy challenges. As a personal act of resistance, I’m not going to let Donald Trump take that away. I will continue to push ahead and expand opportunities for everyone wherever that opportunity presents itself.
What can you do to help? Show up!
Calls and emails are great, and if that is all you have time for, do it. Make your calls personal, share your unique personal story about why the issue you are calling about matters to you and your community. But showing up in person is by far a better way to have an impact, not just to your federal representative, but also to your City Council, your State Representative and State Senator.
Join a campaign now. In order to see the change we want, we need to win elections. Plain and simple. In 2017 we will have City Council and School Board elections all across our state. Some are held in the spring and some will be in November. While we need to resist on a federal level, we can make progress right now at the local and state level. Our people and our planet cannot endure four years of an administration trying to reverse course from the progress we’ve already made. We need to start moving forward now in the states.
Contribute to our campaign and to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to help Democrats take back the house.
In the Colorado State Senate, Republicans hold the majority by one vote. That one vote will allow them to kill important reforms unless we organize and make our voices heard. Your activism and pressure on the State Senate during this legislative session could have a huge impact on school funding, fracking regulations, climate change, and immigrant rights here in Colorado. Last week, my DC office received over 500 calls over 3 days. An average State Senator will not receive 500 calls all legislative session, the result is that lobbyists have an outsized influence over our state legislature. A small amount of activism at the state and local level goes along way. So while we push to resist on a federal level, we need to push for progress on a state and local level — the stake are too high to not do both!