Tara Menza

What counties do you represent? If this is a statewide office, please put statewide.

Boulder County

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?

I would support these policies as long as caregivers/parents are involved. We need to ensure the youth’s whole network of adults in and out of school is involved in helping and not just part of it if we are to accomplish anything productive.

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.

These issues are affecting everyone everywhere. Domestic violence has increased, crime has increased and overdose has increased. This is a crisis that needs to be addressed ASAP. We need faster and easier access to mental health and we need to get drugs off our streets and addicts into treatment centers.

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 support ERPO as long as it is being used for what it was designed to do, which is to keep firearms out of the hands of someone having a true mental health emergency. I would also like to see more non profit programs, such as holdmyguns.org, supported by the community that put the onus on the firearm owner to be encouraged to voluntarily and temporarily relinquish their firearm when they are going through a mental health crisis. I would also like to see more firearm owners engaged in the community providing more education about gun safety. I support programs like Moms Demand Action when they offer safety incentives to firearm owners such as gun locks and safes.

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?

This is not a simple yes or no answer in my opinion. The people who use drugs should be offered addiction treatment and help. If the user is continually committing crimes and refusing help, then they should have criminal penalties. This drug addiction and overdose problem is a serious crisis that will require strict attention until we can curb the use and deaths from it. But we cannot continue to allow drugs to run rampant on the streets in our communities that are easily accessible to the user. We need to remove as much of the drugs as possible off our streets and out of our community.

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?

We have got to get drugs off our streets if we want to make any difference in helping the overdose and addiction crisis here in our state. Allowing drugs to remain on the streets only ensures continued addiction for users.

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 support more funding to mental health and substance use. Right now, there are not enough workers in the industry. I support incentivizing students to enter the mental health and substance abuse profession. I support funding the police departments to be able to hire mental health professionals so they can help deescalate mental health situations and be a liaison between the public and law enforcement agencies. Our jails are not mental health or substance abuse facilities and we need to look at options for partnering with private facilities to help find supports for mental health and substance use patients that will allow them to be treated accordingly.

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?

I don’t believe in any form of discrimination.

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?


Is there anything else you would like to share?

As a candidate who grew up in a home impacted by mental health and substance use, it is incredibly important to me to do all we can to help. Too many people in our communities have been impacted by these kinds of challenges and it’s important to ensure they are offered the help and care they need in a timely manner without the bureaucratic red tape.