Letter to the Editor: I am excited to be a part of the 72nd General Assembly and look forward to a productive session with my fellow legislators. Below I have outlined my legislative priorities for this session. I have worked in a bipartisan manner and will continue to do so this session, as well as use my voice to represent southern Colorado.
High-quality education is critical to the success of our communities and our nation. Our students, teachers, and schools must be provided with the knowledge and tools to succeed. Three key areas include proper funding for PK-12 schools, access to affordable higher education for all students, and school safety measures. We know that college is not for everyone, but we must ensure that students have options, including access to vocational and trade schools. Education is the key to accessing opportunities; without a quality education, many Coloradans will not progress in their own desired goals.
Colorado needs a transportation system that benefits every part of the state. Investing in the infrastructure of our roads and bridges, along with broadband access for rural communities in the state is critical to this area.
We need to build an economy that works for all and guarantee that everyone across the state can benefit from a strong economy. All too often, we see Coloradans who cannot keep up with the rising cost of living, particularly as wages remain stagnant. Ensuring the workforce receives fair compensation and providing professional development opportunities will help the workforce qualify for higher paying jobs in their field.
Instead of rolling back environmental protections, we need to protect our clean air and water and protect the Colorado way of life by preserving our natural environment. Let us make sure that future generations can enjoy everything our beautiful state has to offer. We also need to protect our soils and recognize that without healthy soils, we will not have a healthy food system.
Colorado needs an affordable healthcare system that works for everyone. We need to address the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs, increase access to mental health resources, and make sure rural Coloradans can access the care they need.
The opioid crisis has devastated communities across the state. It is vital that our response includes treatment and education as a dual-pronged approach to curtail the impact and reduce future devastation due to the crisis.
Two of the bills that I am sponsoring so far are HB20-1030 and HB20-1042. HB20-1030 creates a single annual fleet overweight permit for fleets that include both quad axle grouping and vehicle combinations with a trailer that has two or three axles. HB20-1042 modifies the dates for a bill that was passed last year, HB19-1279, that limits the use of fire retardant substances (perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances) for training purposes and requires manufacturers to notify purchasers of items that contain these substances. The goal of the bill is to eventually move the state to a less toxic firefighting substance so we can protect our water sources and the communities who depend on those sources.
I have already had the opportunity to meet with various community members from my district at the Capitol, including 4H and FFA leaders on Monday. These are the next generation of farmers in our communities and it is important that we recognize them and support them. My door is always open to meet with members and leaders of the community.
It is valuable that we educate others to register to vote and that they vote in every election, including the Presidential Primary on Tuesday, March 3rd. I ask for your support and vote for reelection for State Representative House District 62.
Donald E. Valdez