Governor Jared Polis’ State of the State Address
Polis’ plans for the future
Jared Polis, the first openly gay governor of Colorado, gave his first State of the State Address on Jan. 10.
In the address, Polis’ first proposal was his plan for free all-day kindergarten as an opportunity to put education first. The goal is to have everything funded by the fall of 2019. Colorado is currently ranked 30th in the nation for pre-K through 12 education, according to U.S. News & World Report.
Polis also discussed the high costs of health care. The aptly named Office of Saving People Money on Health Care aims to make health care affordable by reducing the cost of staying at a hospital and making the prices more transparent for the customers. The office will be led by Colorado Lt. Governor Dianne Primavera, who is a cancer survivor herself. Polis intends to lower the cost of prescription drugs by going through Canada because the same drugs can be bought at a cheaper price than in the United States.
Brett Smith, the Chair of the Young Democratic Socialists of America at CU Denver, expressed his surprise at Polis’ want for universal health care. “I am a bit taken aback that instead of supporting ‘Medicare for all’ which is a bipartisan idea that enjoys massive support nationwide, he has instead hitched his horse to ‘universal health care.’” Smith explains that the difference between the two ideas are that “universal health care is merely access to health care . . . whereas ‘medicare for all’ is a program to provide everyone health care free at point of service.”
Polis also focused on renewable energy. He plans to have 80 percent carbon reduction by 2030, 100 percent renewable energy by 2040, and carbon free electricity by 2050. He wishes to do this by taking advantage of modern society. “It means working to electrify our cars and buses and trucks. And it means taking advantage of modern technology to use energy more efficiently—cleaning our air and saving consumers more money in the process.”
The nonprofit Environment Colorado posted on Twitter that they were “PSYCHED” about Polis’ energy plan, stating, “Thank you @GovofCO for making your FIRST executive order a call for more electric vehicles.”
Governor Polis concluded his address by discussing tax reform. He states that “our tax code simply gives too much power to the special interests who can afford expensive lobbyists while forcing ordinary families to pay too much in taxes.” One way to do this will be to find which deductions are being exploited and work to fix them to help families.
In response to the State of the State, Colorado Senate Minority Leader said of Polis’ proposals, “It’s important to remember that each comes with a price tag.”
However, Olivia Neece, a CU Denver political science major who interned on Polis’ campaign, is excited for the new governor’s plans. “He truly is committed to bettering Colorado for all—regardless of things like race, gender, and political affiliation,” Neece said. “It is exciting and refreshing to have a leader who is not focused on partisan politics but rather working towards improving the quality of life for all Coloradans.”