What counties do you represent? If this is a statewide office, please put statewide.
Parts of Jefferson, Parts of Douglas, Park, Lake, Teller, Chaffee, Fremont, Custer
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?
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. But the answer is not just legislative. There is a part of our society that is predatory and often the side effect of this is lost people, lost willpower, lost hope. This can only be addressed by shining a light on it. Therefore, some legislative “fixes” will be in areas that seem unrelated. But everything is interrelated. More funding for health care of all kinds is imperative, but ending the “economy as a game for some to win and some to lose” is a requirement to even begin to make people feel safe enough to start healing.
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?
Pretty self-explanatory. This is the most popular opinion on this subject, and those who disagree need to explain why they think that some wing-nut’s privilege of possessing an instrument of death is more important than the need to protect the innocent from same.
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?
These overdose deaths are mostly coming from folks who are hooked on highly-addicted substances by doctors and pharmacists who, so far, seem immune from penalties for creating an addict class and then abandoning them. When the addicted person is left to find relief “in the wild” they are unprepared for unregulated doses that may be massively higher than their bodies are used to. These people do not need to be punished- they need to be helped. We have to open up to give them the drugs and therapies that can safely wean them from an addiction created by a broken medical system. Someone may deserve punishment, but it’s not out mothers and fathers, brothers, sisters, uncles and aunts who, but for dumb luck might be ourselves one day- victims of uncontrolled pharma.
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?
Until smartphones contain gaschromotography capabilities how are they to know? This is Political grandstanding, We all (conservative and liberal alike) seem too eager to punish those who may, in fact, be the real victims. Maybe we need to have methadone clinics for recovering addicts where doctors and pharmacists know what is in medicine they are dispensing. This bill is pathetic.
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. This needs to go to first responders (and maybe a new class of first responders) as well as clinicians. There are too few counselors, too few beds, too few professionals who can de-escalate matters for the safety of all parties involved.
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?
Yes, but someone is going to sue that that violates “deeply held beliefs”. We need to promote compassion and wisdom so that society will more often naturally make the discrimination of brotherhood over separation and labeling. Again, as much as we wish, you can’t force this by law. It must be shepherded. Which makes it all the more sad that those who should be teaching compassion and inclusiveness are the very one’s preaching division and intolerance. Perhaps we should face the real meaning of separation of church and state and tax religion like any other business. Their actions belie the myth that they are somehow better guardians of morals and charity. There is a discussion to be had that that money could help fund actual professionals in social services.
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?
I would add that the privatization of corrections has further eroded the ability of the criminal justice system to provide meaningful and even adequate mental health services.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
I think I’ve covered it pretty well. I look forward to working with you on these issues after I am elected!