Elec­tion was not a re­jec­tion of Colorado’s progress

The Denver Post - - OPINION - By Cary Kennedy Cary Kennedy is a for­mer Colorado trea­surer and deputy mayor and chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer of Den­ver.

As we gather for the hol­i­days, many peo­ple are ask­ing what this elec­tion — and a Trump pres­i­dency — means for Colorado. We are all jus­ti­fi­ably proud of our state and the progress we’ve made. We’re proud to be a bea­con for in­no­va­tion and an ex­am­ple of solv­ing tough prob­lems — to­gether.

But just as the doors of eco­nomic op­por­tu­nity are open­ing for more peo­ple in our state, this elec­tion feels like a vic­tory for the cyn­i­cal view that some­one’s gain has to be some­one else’s loss; that when we ex­pand op­por­tu­ni­ties for peo­ple who are dis­ad­van­taged or who have been dis­crim­i­nated against, that we do so by tak­ing away from some­body else.

Noth­ing is fur­ther from the truth and we need to speak out against this de­mean­ing and hurt­ful rhetoric. It has no place in Colorado.

Early in my ca­reer I helped ex­pand health in­sur­ance for thou­sands of chil­dren in Colorado whose par­ents couldn’t take them to see a doc­tor. Pres­i­den­t­elect Trump’s pledge to dis­man­tle a health care sys­tem that hun­dreds of thou­sands of Coloradans de­pend on could be cat­a­strophic. Al­most 95 per­cent of peo­ple in Colorado now have health in­sur­ance, in­clud­ing over 500,000 who did not have it just a few years ago. Medi­care is also a tar­get, which cov­ers se­niors who will soon make up 20 per­cent of Colorado’s pop­u­la­tion. We’ve made real progress cov­er­ing ev­ery­one and we risk los­ing this suc­cess with­out a part­ner in Wash­ing­ton.

Colorado is a leader in de­vel­op­ing clean, re­new­able en­ergy. In fact, our state has quadru­pled the amount of en­ergy it gets from the wind and sun in re­cent years. Peo­ple from all over the coun­try are look­ing to us as a model of how to make real progress. With or with­out Wash­ing­ton’s help, Colorado will con­tinue to be a na­tional leader in de­vel­op­ing, pro­duc­ing and mar­ket­ing new en­ergy tech­nolo­gies to the world. The win­dow to mit­i­gate global cli­mate change is clos­ing and we need the tal­ent and knowl­edge that is here in Colorado to help lead the transition to a pol­lu­tion-free, low-cost en­ergy fu­ture.

Colorado will also need strong lead­er­ship to pro­tect our state’s nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment dur­ing a Trump pres­i­dency. We have pro­tected hun­dreds of thou­sands of acres of open lands and rivers. We have part­nered with busi­ness, agri­cul­ture, foun­da­tions, lo­cal lead­ers and uni­ver­si­ties to pro­tect wa­ter­sheds, pre­serve nat­u­ral habitats and cre­ate new op­por­tu­ni­ties for sus­tain­able recre­ation and tourism. This is Colorado’s fu­ture and we won’t re­treat on this progress.

With dif­fer­ing views on what our coun­try and our state needs, I hold out hope that Pres­i­den­t­elect Trump will make good on his prom­ise to work with states to mod­ern­ize the na­tion’s in­fras­truc­ture. Our roads, high­ways and schools are crowded and we must mod­ern­ize our in­fras­truc­ture to pro­tect ev­ery­thing we love about our state.

We love Colorado and it is im­por­tant that we stand to­gether in op­po­si­tion to any­thing that would take us back­ward. It’s up to us to do what we have al­ways done, main­tain and ex­pand upon our progress and show Wash­ing­ton a path for­ward. We will lead with the same op­ti­mism and en­ergy that has al­ways de­fined Colorado. We must re­mem­ber, this elec­tion was not a re­jec­tion of our progress; it was a re­minder that our progress hasn’t reached ev­ery­one yet and there is much work

to do.

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