Donovan: Planning for the Colorado comeback
Editor’s note: Kerry Donovan represents Senate District 5 in the State Legislature and serves as Senate President Pro Tempore.
Over the last few weeks, the Capitol has been quiet. During the pause from debating and passing bills, I spent time listening to constituents and the other folks from around Colorado who have reached out to me to share their thoughts, stories and concerns.
From ranchers in Gunnison who are worried about drought to small business owners in Buena Vista who have been hit hard by COVID, and Coloradans who can’t afford to pay for the health care they desperately need, people are struggling.
I’ll be carrying those stories with me throughout the session, and my plans for legislation will boldly address the challenges that Coloradans are facing.
My colleagues and I will continue to address the immediate needs of folks most affected by the pandemic, and work to revitalize our economy. And as we acknowledge just how devastating this time in our state’s history has been, we can begin to discuss the lessons that we’ve learned and the inequities and weaknesses that this horrible virus has revealed.
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Skyrocketing health care costs and inconsistent broadband service have left some of our neighbors and communities vulnerable. In 2021, fast, consistent internet is a necessity, not a privilege. And yet, nearly 200,000 Coloradans, especially in rural parts of the state, don’t have access to any wired internet connection. This bill gets us closer to ensuring that all Coloradans can get online and that the important systems that rely on broadband never fail.
For the Coloradans who live without the safety net of health insurance, we’ll push providers to do the right thing and finally bring down the cost of their plans. If they don’t, the bill that I’m excited to be working on with Representative Roberts will give Coloradans the option of purchasing an affordable, state-sponsored plan — the Colorado Option.
I’ll also introduce a bill that will help get much-needed services to veterans experiencing homelessness. And we’ll address the state’s shortage of skilled wildlands firefighters, and combat our unacceptably high recidivism rate through my bill to help former State Wildland Inmate Fire Team members get jobs serving their state as they reenter the outside community.
Over the next few months, we’ll work together to tap into the resilient spirit that so defines Colorado, holding hope close as we plan Colorado’s comeback. I’m thrilled to get going.