Denver is one of the wealthiest cities in the wealthiest country in history. There is no excuse for the amount of hardship Denverites have to endure.
There are abundant resources here, more than enough for everyone to have everything we need, not just to survive, but to thrive. We can afford to guarantee everyone freedom, dignity, and democracy. We can afford to support strong communities. We can afford a society where we are safe from violence, racism, and poverty.
Instead, our lives are dominated by a tiny ruling class: billionaire finance executives, tech monopolists, extractive real estate tycoons, low-wage retail employers, and health insurance and pharmaceutical corporations. They make money hand-over-fist, while everyday people are overworked, underpaid, surrounded by violence, and all-too-often pushed to the breaking point.
It’s time we elected a leader with the integrity to stand up to these interests, the comprehensive vision to tackle system-wide challenges, and the viable solutions to address the issues confronting everyday Denverites. If millions of us come together to demand better, there is nothing we can’t accomplish.
Good Jobs, Thriving Planet. The most urgent challenge we face is mitigating catastrophic climate change, adapting to our altered planet, and building up our resiliency in the face of extreme weather events. For all three tasks, the way forward is clear: massive investments in pivoting to a low-carbon, good-job economy. Through Denver Dayworks, our city has been an innovative leader in the sort of public hiring it will take to leave future generations a healthy planet. Now, we need to scale up to the sort of Civilian Climate Corps championed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Green New Deal. Our national infrastructure, transit systems, energy sector, and housing stock are a shambles — old, dysfunctional, filthy, and unsafe. To modernize, nothing less will suffice than the direct public employment of millions of Americans into union jobs with dignified salaries, hours, work conditions, and benefits.
Job Guarantee. Additionally, we must establish a permanent jobs program employing people to perform vital, low-carbon work in their own communities, from child- and elder-care, to support roles in educational and medical settings, to neighborhood beautification and group recreation. This program should act as the “employer of last resort,” ending unemployment and poverty, and establishing minimum standards for worker compensation that all private sector employers will need to meet, in order to attract labor.
Freedom from fossil fuels corporations. For decades, the fossil fuels industry knew and lied about the catastrophic climate change that would result from their carbon pollution. That sector must be brought under public control and unwound in favor of public-led industrial policy aimed at developing green technology.
Healthy People and Communities. Our for-profit healthcare system is a disaster. Tens of millions are under- or uninsured, and even those with policies are forced to pay exorbitant sums and navigate a maze of paperwork, under the constant threat of losing coverage due to something as simple as a job change. However, even adopting the best healthcare service system in the world will only provide harm reduction, if our society continues to overwork us, pollute our environment, and conscript too many of us to poverty and homelessness. We both need to transform our healthcare system and ease the burden on that system by creating a society that fosters health, not sickness.
Medicare for All. It’s a no-brainer. Of course, when you are sick or injured, you should receive medical treatment as a human right. That means it is not dependent on your job. That means you receive services at no dollar cost. That means your dental, vision, reproductive and mental healthcare are fully covered. We can no longer tolerate the United States being the only wealthy country on earth to treat healthcare as a privilege reserved for the affluent.
Homes guarantee. We need to start seeing housing as healthcare. The negative medical outcomes of being unhoused or housing insecure are wide-ranging and well-known. A dependable, comfortable home is a pillar of a dignified life. Denver has more than enough housing to offer everyone in encampments stable shelter. The profits of luxury real estate developers, hedge fund land speculators, and parasitic corporate landlords must not take priority over our neighbors’ quality of life.
Clean air, water, and soil. Just as housing is healthcare, so is the environment. If we breathe dirty air, drink contaminated water, and eat food from poisoned soil, even Medicare for All won’t be able to keep us healthy. We must adopt stringent emissions standards and exert vigorous regulatory oversight, as well as making massive investments in testing and remediation, to ensure that our bodies are not being polluted simply by being alive.
Freedom From Violence. It’s no secret that we live in violent times. Daily, it seems, news comes in of more gun violence, hate violence, sexual violence, traffic violence, or state violence. The only solution coming from Republicans and “Law and Order” Democrats has been more violence: surveillance, policing, prosecution and incarceration. We need a new approach, based on thriving communities, connections across difference, freedom from poverty, and restorative justice.
Mass decarceration. America cannot live up to its promise as the land of the free while we keep millions of people in jails, prisons, detention camps, and other forms of punitive coercion. It is vital that we decrease sentences, provide alternatives to prosecution and incarceration, and end recidivism by ensuring that returning civilians have the economic and educational support they need to pursue opportunities in life.
True public safety. To actually achieve a safe society, we need proactive approaches that prevent violence from happening, not just a system that determines whom to punish and how, once violence has already been committed. We must make bold investments in Cure Violence projects, trauma-informed mental health, and strong community organizations to mediate conflicts and provide restorative justice processes.
End the Drug War. It is well known that the so-called “War on Drugs” has actually been a war on poor people of color, particularly Black people. Chaotic drug use should be handled by the public health sector, not the criminal legal system. We must decriminalize drugs, invest in harm reduction, and provide all Americans robust, compassionate mental health and addiction treatment services.
Freedom To Migrate. The fact that people continue to migrate to the US, knowing full well how cruelly our immigration system rips families apart and warehouses migrants in concentration camps, tells us everything we need to know about how badly in need of a welcoming country they are.
End the war on immigrants. The proliferation of military technologies in our southern borderlands over the past decades makes it clear that we have abandoned the legacy of the Statue of Liberty and decided instead to make war on the huddled masses, yearning to breathe free. We must demilitarize the border, disband ICE, and welcome in asylum-seekers fleeing war, poverty, and persecution.
Citizenship for all. DACA is a good start. However, families belong together, and deporting parents while their DACA-protected children remain here is inhumane and senseless. Moreover, keeping migrant workers in legal limbo drives down wages and undermines all working people. We must halt mass deportations, dramatically expand the DACA program, and improve green card accessibility.
Military, trade and climate policy. The US’s influence in the world is mighty, and often the consequences of our actions drive migration. Wars we initiate or sustain with weapons, money, and training create refugees abroad. Trade deals we enact to please international corporations create mass unemployment across borders. Carbon pollution we emit exacerbates floods and fires that destroy entire communities elsewhere in the world. We must energetically overhaul these sectors and work toward a world where everyone who wants to can stay where they live.
Freedom To Learn.
Universal Pre-K. Families face huge lines and are often charged unaffordable tuition for pre-K programs. We must invest in our children’s earliest years to set them up for good childhoods and lives. Guaranteeing high quality universal pre-K will also employ Americans to do vital, low-carbon care work, and ease the strain on parents of all sorts, especially low-income women of color, who are disproportionately burdened.
Fully fund K-12. Every child has the right to a high quality public school education. To make that goal a reality, we need to fully fund not just STEM but also arts, emotional, social, and sexual education. We should have world-class, de-segregated, de-policed public schools, so families aren’t pushed into charter schools which all-too-often act as cash cows for hedge fund executives.
Free college. We severely undermine our collective potential by making it difficult for working class students to obtain a higher education without incurring stifling debt. It is well past time we made public college tuition-free, and cancelled every last penny of student loans.
Address shared challenges. Nothing demonstrates the need for international cooperation as dramatically as the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate crisis. These emergencies know no borders and can only be solved through international cooperation and resource-pooling. As long as we approach other countries as competitive opponents, we will squander potential, endanger the planet, and sacrifice precious lives.
End wars. The forever wars bogging down our service members abroad are a terrible waste of lives and resources, make us less safe, generate hatred of our country abroad, and destroy our credibility as a voice for peace and diplomacy. As with our systems of incarceration, policing, and border enforcement, we must demilitarize our foreign policy, including by ending secret military operations by our intelligence services.
Promote harmony. For the future of our country and our planet, it is of the utmost importance that we invest in scientific and cultural exchange, encourage travel, and foster good will with our neighbors around the globe.