What counties do you represent? If this is a statewide office, please put statewide.
Larimer & Weld
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?
Children struggle with mental health as they grow and change. Add the social pressures, increase in bullying, and nearly 2 years of social emotional growth lost due to COVID19, increased funding and policies for mental health services is a priority of my campaign.
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.
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?
I have faced the barrel of a firearm by a loved one who was in crisis. It was something I worried about happening and I had no recourse to prevent him from harming himself, me, or others. I was lucky I was able to talk him down, but it would have been much better if I could have eliminated that potential threat until he received help.
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 don’t think increased penalties is the answer, however I do believe our criminal justice system is not working. It does not provide for real rehabilitation or help in re-entry in a meaningful way. Additionally, laws have change to remove any safety nets in place during supervision (parole and probation). At last check, overdose deaths among parolees had increased 150% since the relaxation of supervision standards. We need to revamp how we approach criminal justice, supervision, and rehabilitation.
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 do support this because the person must “KNOWINGLY” be in possession of a substance that contains fentanyl. That clarification will allow for exceptions for people who purchase illegal substances who are unaware the distributor has added fentanyl. It’s an important distinction. Fentanyl deaths are dramatically increasing. We must find a way to save lives.
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. I would want additional funding to be directed to DOC, probation departments, schools, communities and anywhere we can meet people where they are at in their struggles.
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?
Discrimination is NEVER productive. It is vitally important we remove the stigma of mental health and substance abuse conditions. This is the only way to truly reach people when they need help the most.
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?
Mental health is prevalent within the criminal justice system. It lacks empathy or individualized care, if any care is given. It is essential we begin to provide help without a jail cell when possible.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
I would like this group to know I have experienced the real effects of untreated/mistreated mental health issues, substance abuse issues, and the failures of the criminal justice system. My ex-husband was bi-polar, an alcoholic, and a substance abuser. This was all to self-medicate. He was in and out of prison his entire adult life. He died of a drug overdose (meth/heroine combo) while out of town. His struggles destroyed our marriage, destroyed his relationship with all of our kids, and left him a sad and lonely man who died alone at the age of 46. It didn’t have to happen this way.