He may have been preaching to the choir, but Andrew Romanoff, Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2020, outlined a campaign that focuses on climate change, health care and mental health, as well as collaboration between major parties.
Romanoff challenges the Republican incumbent Sen. Cory Gardner.
Former Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives, including two terms as Speaker of the House, Romanoff earned recognition from more than 50 state and national organizations as one of the most effective leaders in America.
For the past four years, Romanoff served as the chief executive officer of Mental Health Colorado, but resigned his position for the Senate run.
“There are a million people in our state who are facing a mental health or substance abuse issue,” he said. “Only half of them will get the treatment they need, and too many are dying as a result of suicide.
“Colorado has one of the highest rate of suicide in the nation,” he added. “In Colorado, 1,800 residents will die this year from suicide.”
Speaking to the Teller County Democrats May 5 at the Woodland Park library, Romanoff touched on a variety of topics:
“Health care costs are the single biggest cause of bankruptcy in the United States. If you want to get to universal health care you’ve got to take the profit out of an industry that isn’t adding to our health. I would rather put people to work providing health care than denying it. It’s not that we don’t have the best doctors and nurses in the world for those who can afford them, it’s just the system. We’re spending upwards of $10,000 per person on health insurance in the United States which is twice the rate of our competitors in the industrialized world. We’re leading the world in spending and we’re going broke.
“One proposal that a proponent of Medicare introduced 50 years ago is to lower the age of Medicare eligibility gradually and eventually everybody gets in the same pool. Doing that will require us to take on a very powerful industry because the private insurers are not going to give up without a fight. Unfortunately they’ve got their hooks in lot of members of Congress. I wish I could tell you that our party was free of that influence. We’re not because they have become seduced by the special interests that have bankrolled their campaigns.”
CLIMATE CHANGE AND JOBS
“We have shown in Colorado that there are more good jobs in renewable energy than in fossil fuels and you get cleaner water and air and a more habitable planet. I don’t want to leave folks in the fossil fuels industry, where jobs are going to be disrupted, behind. We ought to invest in job skills training and education to help them get jobs in the clean-energy economy to help them with the transition.
“If we’re going to make a case for a Green New Deal to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy, it’s not enough to point out that we’ve destroyed more of the polar ice caps in the last 20 years than the previous 10,000, or that we’ve wiped out habitat for about 40 to 50 percent of the wildlife on the planet. It’s really a national security issue; there are millions of people uprooted from their homes because they can no longer eke out a living on the land because of the change beneath their feet.”
“What drives me in public life is the recognition that there are plenty of folks who have been knocked down and counted out but have just as much a right to representation as anybody else. At the end of the day we ought to be able to value people according, not to their net worth, but to their basic worth as human beings. I think we’ve lost sight of that principle in the pay-to-play politics that has corrupted democracy and soured people on voting.”
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