Making lasting progress on the issues facing us as Coloradans requires a new approach - one committed to collaboration and innovation.
My Approach to the Issues
The two parties are so bad at solving problems that it’s fair to wonder whether that’s even their goal. Too many in each caucus approach the big challenges we face with the same tired policy proposals that have been around for decades and which in many cases have been shown to be bad ideas. And they rarely make a genuine attempt to find common ground with their opponents to achieve solutions that last longer than the next election cycle. This approach works great for getting partisan hardliners to the polls and keeping special interests happy. But if we want to actually create lasting solutions to the problems facing all of us, we need a different approach. My approach rests on five principles:
- Really try to understand the issue from all sides. Who is affected by this issue and why do they hold the positions they do? Assume the best intentions – why do those who disagree with me believe what they believe? Be prepared to learn something.
- Find the common ground. Even if that common ground is just a sliver, that’s where lasting solutions begin.
- Try hard to get buy in from both sides. Solutions that last are ones that have support from all sides and are not vulnerable to the changing political tides of each new election cycle.
- Explore and champion innovative new approaches. If a policy proposal is either known to not work, or if there is zero chance of it passing, it’s time to shake things up and try something new. Truly innovative solutions have a better chance of not being caught up in partisan trench warfare, and if implemented are more likely to solve the problem than tired partisan ideas.
- Incremental progress is better than zero progress. Our fellow citizens have reasonable and opposing views on the issues. The ‘my way or the highway’ approach not only results in gridlock, it shows a lack of respect and empathy for our neighbors. It’s time to be adults and work with those we disagree with, making meaningful progress even if we don’t get everything we want.
While each of these five principles may seem obvious, it’s equally obvious that neither party is taking this approach. For each of the following issues, I hope you will see not only what my position is, but how this principled approach can actually make progress where the two parties have left us mired in gridlock.