GOVERNOR CANDIDATES ADDRESS MENTAL HEALTH AT FORUM
Some of the candidates for governor addressed mental health policy issues March 23 at Mental Health Colorado’s gubernatorial forum.
About 400 people heard the candidates answer questions on topics including school mental health services, taxes for mental health and substance use programs, and extreme risk protection orders.
Nine candidates attended — Republicans Stephen Barlock, Cynthia Coffman, Lew Gaiter, Greg Lopez, Vic Mitchell and Doug Robinson, and Democrats Mike Johnston, Donna Lynne and Erik Underwood.
Former State Treasurer Cary Kennedy, a Democrat, was slated to attend but was sick, and Democratic U.S. Congressman Jared Polis was in Washington, D.C., after voting late the night before on a budget bill. Both sent policy staffers to give brief statements on their support of mental health programs and services for Coloradans.
Republican State Treasurer Walker Stapleton declined to participate.
All nine candidates agreed that Colorado should have an extreme risk protection order law that would allow authorities to temporarily take guns away from people who are a danger to themselves or others. Mental Health Colorado is proposing this to state lawmakers this session.
Another question asked at the forum had mixed responses. When asked if they would support state or local tax measures dedicated to mental health care, Gaiter, Johnston, Lynne, and Underwood said yes. Lopez said yes, if the citizens voted. Barlock, Coffman, Mitchell, and Robinson said no.
“Put nine candidates on a stage together, and you might not expect them to agree at all. But when it comes to improving mental health care, we found at least two points of consensus: Colorado ought to make it harder for people who pose a danger to themselves or others to get guns — and easier for them to get treatment,” said Andrew Romanoff, president and CEO of Mental Health Colorado.
Mental Health Colorado is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that advocates for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of mental health and substance-use disorders.
Article originally appeared in the Lakewood Sentinel.