What counties do you represent? If this is a statewide office, please put statewide.
Have you or someone you loved ever experienced a mental health and/or substance use condition?
Question #1: Colorado, like the rest of the nation, is facing a youth mental health crisis. Do you support school policies and funding that increase the availability of mental health services and supports in schools and early childhood settings?
Would you like to explain your response to question #1?
We know that our youth are in crisis. In order to help our children, we need to bring the resources to where kids are. We need safe places for kids to access help, without parental consent required. And there’s no age too early to provide these supports – our youngest kids’ mental health needs are real, and the earlier we intervene with children, the better off our kids and families will be.
Question #2: Do you believe mental health and substance use are serious issues your constituents are experiencing that deserve legislative attention and action? Please explain.
Yes, these were critical issues prior to the pandemic, but have been exacerbated by the economic, health and other challenges that the pandemic has produced. People have trouble accessing mental health services at all, let alone affording it. Treatment options are too scarce as well.
Question #3: Extreme risk protection orders, also known as red flag laws, allow law enforcement to temporarily remove weapons from individuals at significant risk to themselves or others. Colorado has a red flag law. Do you support extreme risk protection orders?
Would you like to explain your response to question #3?
ERPO is an important tool that we must have to keep Coloradans safe when we know there is a real possibility of harm coming from possession of a firearm.
Question #4: Overdose deaths are at an all-time high nationally and in Colorado. Many believe increasing criminal penalties for people who use drugs is the answer. Do you support increased criminal penalties for people who use drugs? *
(*Please note that we are asking about personal use, not distribution)
Would you like to explain your response to question #4?
I do not support increased penalties for substance use, and I believe the lowering of the threshold for possession in the fentanyl bill from the 2022 session was the wrong policy choice.
Question # 5: As a follow up question, did you support legislation in the 2022 session that drastically increased the criminal penalty for possession of any substance over 1g if that substance contains any amount of fentanyl?
Would you like to explain your response to question #5?
I appreciate the good things included in the bill, but I saw no benefit to criminalizing drug possession. I was supportive of the funding for test strips, narcan, and treatment that was included, but ultimately those things could not overcome my opposition to the criminalization of possession at 1 g.
Question #6: Do you believe the State should invest more funding for mental health and substance use? If yes, please explain where you would want additional funding to be directed. If no, please explain why.
Yes, the state should invest more in mental health and substance use treatment and prevention.
Question #7: People needing care, supports, and services for their mental health and substance use often experience discrimination as a result of their health condition. Would you support legislation that would protect people needing care, supports, and services for their mental health and substance use conditions from discriminatory practices?
Would you like to explain your response to question #7?
Question #8: For too long the state’s criminal justice system has acted as a substitute for a comprehensive mental health care system. Would you support policies that would disentangle mental health from the criminal justice system and promote the expansion of programs like Denver’s STAR program?
Would you like to explain your response to question #8?
Many times, a police response is not the needed response to an emergency call. If we could allocate more resources to programs like STAR, I believe we’d have a healthier population, connected to resources and supports that will help them, instead of criminalizing them.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Thank you for your consideration. If you have any follow up questions or would like to further discuss any of my responses, please don’t hesitate to reach out!