HD43 Highlights

News from the legislative session, plus other key insights for HD43 residents.

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Guess who was named “The Best Government Official in Highlands Ranch” by Colorado Community Media’s readers in their Best of the Best 2023 guide. Very nice surprise, but I think it is based upon tone and expectations right now rather than substance. But I intend to deliver the substance. It remains my goal to be accessible, transparent, and 100% accountable to the diverse constituency of House District 43. My focus remains on good governance, public safety, and a sustainable, thriving and equitable community. I am proud to serve as your representative.

Government Relations

I was invited to Wind Crest by the Government Relations team to speak to a bipartisan crowd of constituents. The event was live streamed to over 1900 residents in addition to the many who were in the audience. It is always my goal to explain how the state legislature works so that constituents can look deeper than the headlines at what is happening at the State Capitol. Sometimes, the disinformation and misinformation is meant to divide the public, but the reality is that the majority of the bills passed through the legislature and signed into law are bipartisan and seek to make Colorado better for all citizens.

Storm Damage

We have had some severe weather in June, including the tornado that tore through Highlands Ranch and left a path of destruction with many uprooted trees and property damage. There was a lot of misinformation from some Douglas County elected officials regarding Governor Polis refusing to declare a state of emergency in Douglas County. I was on vacation in Grand Lake with my daughter home from the Navy and immediately returned. I also had severe property damage to trees at my own home, but I had to spend/waste time reaching out directly to state officials in charge of emergency services to find out the truth due to the false information that was being spread. The state does not declare a disaster area without approximately $15M in public infrastructure damage. In many disasters, it is easy to fly over an area and immediately see that the damage will breach that threshold. Fortunately, that was not the case for our tornado. Most of the damage was to trees and fences, which unfortunately, is not generally covered by insurance. The County, however, is doing a diligent assessment of damages to see if they can qualify for additional disaster relief funds. And I have had several constituents reach out to me asking if there is something the state can do. It is extremely unlikely, however, that anything more than what was done for the Marshall Fire Victims would be possible or considered. We will continue looking at what that may be or could be considered. But disaster relief generally is meant to flow for public infrastructure damage or to those displaced from their homes due to a natural disaster.

The Douglas County Sheriff's office has set up a team to assess damage across Highlands Ranch. As clean up efforts continue, you can access up to date information at Highlands Ranch Metro District resource page.

Related News

Douglas County declares disaster following Highlands Ranch tornado

Fourth of July Parade

My favorite job perk - and I joke with people that the only reason I decided to run - is handing candy and popsicles out to kids at parades, and especially the Fourth of July Parade in Highlands Ranch. It was a beautiful summer morning and a great day for a parade. The Douglas County Democrats were well represented along with Colorado’s Attorney General Phil Weiser, South Metro Fire District’s Board Member Kevin Leung, RTD Director Julian Bouquet, CD4 Candidate John Padora, CDP First Vice Chair Indira Duggirala, and DCDP Chair Angela Thomas. A huge thank you to Cathy Lees for organizing the group. I hope that next year more people will join us in the fun!

Colorado Open Meetings Law Complaint

Many are likely interested in the Open Meeting lawsuit I filed, alongside my friend and colleague Representative Epps as co-plaintiff. Given the moving parts that are ongoing and legal issues at the moment, I’d prefer to not say a lot about it at this time in the newsletter other than links to what is currently being reported in the news. But it was not a knee-jerk reaction and only decided upon after six months of trying to quietly, and internally, address the issues set out in the complaint. We ultimately had to conclude that the only way the state house was going to change practices that are decades old and predate the current Democratic majority was to ask a court to require the entire state house, Democrats and Republicans, to abide by the Sunshine Laws. These Sunshine laws were put in place more than 50 years ago by a citizen referendum. And almost immediately following their implementation, a Republican State Senator sued in 1973 to have these Sunshine laws, particularly the open meeting laws, declared inapplicable to state legislative caucus meetings as a violation of the First Amendment rights of the legislature. The Colorado Supreme Court ruled in 1983 that the voters had every right to require public business to be conducted in public...including policy formation in the legislature.

Related News

Two Democrat Reps sue House leaders for allegedly breaking open meetings law

Bob Marshall Broadens Open Meetings Law Crusade

Colorado lawmakers sue colleagues over closed-door meetings

Opinion: Devastating allegations against House leaders, force the question of Colorado’s open meetings law

Colorado House leaders break open-meeting laws, use encrypted messaging app, freshmen lawmakers allege

'It took courage': First-term Democrats challenge decades of illegal meetings at Colorado's legislature

Two Colorado House Democrats sue their caucus, Republicans alleging open meetings violations

Douglas County Board of Education News

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