Dear Friends, Family, and Supporters,
Since launching my campaign for Governor over a year ago, I have traveled more than 30,000 miles across our state. I’ve met thousands of Coloradans and learned about the issues that are most important to them. Indeed, this campaign came to exemplify the message: All Voices Count.
I held roundtables focused on healthcare, education, renewable energy, transportation, affordable housing, public lands, water conservation and more. Not a day has gone by without me learning something new, and that knowledge has influenced my platform to strengthen Colorado’s future. I have insisted that any proposal I would make as a candidate would be both aspirational and actually possible to achieve. No false promises!
Colorado has made great strides under the Hickenlooper administration, but we have great challenges ahead. Over 50% of our school districts operate four days a week, primarily due to a lack of funding. It’s likely that, within three years, state funding for Colorado’s four-year universities will entirely dry up, which will further accelerate the opportunity gap in our state. The GOP has dismantled the Affordable Care Act, leading to tens of thousands of Coloradans losing their healthcare and pushing costs even higher for those who have insurance. The infrastructure in our state is overused and, in some places, literally crumbling. Where we should see mountain vistas, all we notice are brake lights. Our natural resources and our Colorado way of life are threatened by climate change and by decisions made in Washington. We can no longer kick the can down the road: our children are counting on us to take action.
These issues require thoughtful solutions and fearless leadership. My proposals include:
- Manage Colorado’s state government with transparency by building systems that will enable Colorado to use existing tax dollars more efficiently and effectively to meet the needs of our citizens.
- Go to the voters of Colorado to reform TABOR by stripping it of its destructive elements while maintaining the right of Colorado voters to vote on any new taxes.
- Go to the voters of Colorado to reform the Gallagher Amendment. Changes to the amendment could continue protecting people of low or fixed income from being taxed out of their homes because of rising property taxes, while allowing the amendment to function as it was originally intended by permitting property taxes to rise and fall when home values change throughout the state.
- Support the development of a statewide youth apprenticeship system (CareerWise Colorado) to serve 20,000 students per year within the next decade. This innovative system provides students with a path to a great career, starting with an apprenticeship in high school and ending anywhere from a middle class career to a Ph.D.
- Engage with all 64 Colorado counties to design an integrated vision for the next 50 years that includes water, infrastructure, multi-modal transportation, affordable housing, school construction, economic development and the preservation of natural resources as our state population grows. Then, match the vision with a funding plan that will define the investment required to ensure its successful implementation.
- Work with other Western state governors to develop an interstate healthcare compact that results in the creation of a basic universal healthcare system to cover 100% of our population. If Washington won’t do its job, the next governor must!
- More than double Colorado’s current renewable energy generation from 21.8% to 45% statewide within the next eight years. This goal is among the most aggressive in the nation and puts our state on the path to a 100% renewable energy future. The next governor should be measured on their achievements while they are governor, not years later. Accountability matters!
- Move Colorado to a model of buying electricity that allows every home and business to choose where their electricity comes from and how their electricity is generated, whether by wind, solar, geothermal, hydro, or natural gas. This gives the people of Colorado the power to transition quickly to a renewable energy future. Eighteen states use this model for selling and buying electricity. Colorado is an innovative state – we should find a way!
- Make the case to the people of Colorado that we must increase our investment in education from preschool to our universities if we want to pay our teachers a professional wage, educate our children in schools that are maintained and up to date, and ensure that there is equity in education for all children. Nothing is free!
To address these issues, we must come together to find common ground. Innovation should drive real solutions for all of Colorado and set an example for our country. We must take responsibility for the world we want to live in. As I learn of yet another school shooting today, this time in Maryland, I think it is important that we listen to the students from the Parkland, FL shooting. They give me hope that the next generation has the wisdom and strength to put country over party and speak truth to power. It’s time that we all do the same!
When I made the decision to run for governor, it wasn’t the fulfillment of a lifelong goal. For me, it wasn’t about being governor that mattered; it was about making a difference. I have fought hard to get my message across to the people of Colorado and believe that I have left it all on the field. I have come to the conclusion that, after the results of the statewide caucus, it is no longer viable for me to continue my campaign for governor and I am withdrawing from the race.
Although I am at peace with this decision, I must acknowledge that I do so with a tear in my eye and a heavy heart. I love the campaign that we built and the platform it gave me to have a voice on issues that matter at such an uncertain time in our country. I will continue my lifelong quest to build a better world and fight to make Colorado an even better state. This journey is not over… not even close!
I want to thank my family for being such an integral part of my campaign. The truth is, when I was contemplating my run for governor, they were at “yes” months before I was. Leslie will always be my first lady, but I know without question, she would have been an awesome first lady of Colorado. My son Corey has been an amazing surrogate for me on the campaign trail and a passionate warrior against the wrongs he sees in our society. My daughter Ali continues to be an inspiration to me, both on the campaign trail, and in life. She deals with challenges with humor, grace and determination that is both unique and powerful. Whatever the future holds, I am so grateful that I have them at my side.
Although this campaign has drawn to a close, I am deeply thankful to all of my supporters who have helped me along the way and to my incredible staff who fought long and hard to make my campaign relevant. I have met so many Coloradans who have pushed me to become a better person, a better politician and a more informed citizen. We would not have come this far if it weren’t for their unwavering commitment to a long-shot candidate. I will always cherish the investment they made in me.
I promise to continue my efforts to fight for those issues who will make a difference for the people of Colorado and our country! While no one person has all the answers, I am confident in the leadership displayed by the other candidates. I will fight for whomever wins the primary to ensure we have a democratic governor in Colorado.