Campaign website: davidortizcolorado.com
My name is David Ortiz. I am a lifelong public servant running for the Colorado State House in HD38. I began serving others after college by resettling evacuees after Hurricane Katrina. I continued my service flying helicopters for the US Army. In 2012, while deployed to Afghanistan, I survived a catastrophic helicopter crash that left me paralyzed from the waist down. I advocated my way to Craig Hospital in Colorado and knew I finally found home. Because I had access to quality and affordable healthcare, I regained my independence and continued serving in the nonprofit space and as an advocate for veterans at OUR State Capitol. My work includes legislation passed for higher education reform and criminal justice reform. I am proud of my lifetime of service and excited to work hard to EARN the privilege of serving the people in HD38.
Why do you want this job?
I am running to empower others the way others have empowered me. I am a veteran, lifelong public servant, and tenacious fighter that understands the role of government in the community and has lived a life of selfless service. I’ve worked on ballot initiatives, rewrote and helped pass legislation around higher education reform and criminal justice reform, and dedicated myself to work in the nonprofit space. I was an active voter in 2018 when we in HD38 came within 374 votes of getting our shared values around combating climate change, supporting public education, and making healthcare a right finally represented at our State Capitol. We, as a state and nation, are going through difficult times and we need leaders that have lived through injustices and struggles. We need leaders that know how to tenaciously fight and empower a community so together we emerge stronger and more united. It’s not about me “wanting” this job. It’s about wanting to continue serving this amazing nation, state, and our local community in the best ways I can. It’s about answering my community’s call to serve. It’s about this community’s overwhelming support and investment, by way of trust, contributions, and volunteer hours, into me and this campaign. What I want is to empower the community to accomplish more than we ever thought we could before with our current representation.
Budgeting in tough times
(Choose one to answer)
> What is one bill you plan to sponsor that won't cost taxpayers anything?
> What new ideas do you bring in a time of budget cuts?
The “new” idea I would bring to the legislature in a time of budget cuts would be to prioritize our values and look for ways we can make cuts to more fully live out our values. An example of this can be seen in our prison system. In a time of COVID19, some inmates were being released because they were deemed more of a danger because of the crowding they were creating during a pandemic than their original crime. If that is the case, maybe we shouldn’t be spending the money incarcerating that human and instead spend it on restorative justice and/or to shore up education for our children. We need to abolish all private prisons. We should NOT be in the business of incarcerating our citizens. A large chunk of our local budgets go to our police departments. I believe we can support reforming policing in our communities while again creating funding opportunities for mental health in our schools and communities. We could consider raising the requirements and expectations of our police force by offering higher pay and better training. We can demilitarize our police force in order to fund education for our children and counselors for our schools and communities. These are the bold and new ideas that we must consider, especially in light of a $3.3 billion shortfall during a time where the federal government (led by the Trump administration) refuses to fulfill their duty and financially support state and local governments during a time of national hardship.
Perennial budget issues
(Choose one to answer)
> How do we pay for education?
> How do we pay for transportation?
For context for this answer, I invite everyone to visit Building a Better Colorado’s website. They are a nonpartisan organization that educates about Gallagher, TABOR, and Amendment 23. They also poll ALL Coloradans to see where Coloradans stand on those laws and ask Coloradans about potential solutions that might speak to the unintended budgetary consequences we live with because of these laws. We need to address how TABOR and Gallagher have tied our hands and keep us from being fiscally responsible. TABOR is the reason we do not truly have a rainy-day fund. This is why we are suffering under a $3.3 billion shortfall. We already underfund education and consistently are towards the bottom when ranking education across the nation. We must amend or abolish TABOR so we can become fiscally viable and responsible as a state. No other state (Republican or Democrat-led) has a law like TABOR. Arizona, with a Republican legislature and governor, could have passed TABOR but once they came here to see its impact, they vetoed and killed the bill. Outside of TABOR reform, we can look at the equation that determines how we fund education based on population density and cost of living. This disproportionately hurts our rural brothers and sisters in Colorado AND hurts the communities of lower income areas. We as legislators need to work with local communities to help plan fiscally responsible running bond and mill levies. We must give public educators the support they need so they can TRULY focus on teaching our children to ensure an economically prosperous future for Colorado and our nation. We need to increase the number of counselors in our schools. We need to increase teacher pay and facilitate technology that empowers student learning and supports our teachers.
Issues of the pandemic
(Choose one to answer)
> Is the state reopening too quickly or too slowly?
> Are health care reforms an immediate priority?
> What are the best steps to rebuilding the economy?
We should work with our federal legislators to make the federal government do its job, which is to unite and support the states during a time of crisis. COVID19 and the resultant economic crisis are a prime example of where we must demand their leadership and duty be fulfilled by helping fund the budgetary shortfall on the state and local governments. We need to keep paying and employing our firefighters, RTD employees, and teachers so we can facilitate our small businesses, our working families, and our entrepreneurs. We also need to make sure we return to our lives as safely as possible. We must be able to track and trace outbreaks so we can mitigate their impact and prevent another spike and possible resultant shutdown. On the state level, we must dip into reserves, utilize the aspect of TABOR that allows us to declare an emergency and implement a temporary tax on those that have benefited the most from our years of economic success and that are most insulated from the current crisis. The state legislature removed a property tax exemption to those that are 100% service-connected veterans living with a disability. I fall under that category BUT if it is between funding children’s healthcare and education and me living more frugally, then I will proudly be a tax-paying patriot. In light of the lack of true leadership from this federal administration and government, we will have to work TOGETHER and make some difficult choices to ensure we fund critical services while also supporting the working family, small businesses, and entrepreneurs. That is the formula for a real and impactful economic recovery during and after a time of COVID19.
(Choose one to answer)
> What is an idea or approach your primary opponent has proposed that you intend to take to the Capitol?
> Name a current or former legislator from the opposing party you admire, and why.
There was one incident recently that reinforced my admiration for Representative Terri Carver, whom I have had the privilege of working with on multiple bills as an advocate for veterans at our State Capital. Earlier this legislative session, I approached a GOP Representative that I will not name and Representative Carver to discuss a veteran bill. The unnamed GOP representative refused to work with me, announcing to Rep. Carver “He’s running against Beckman!” (the Republican incumbent at the time) before leaving. I was angry because I was there to represent veterans in the work I do, NOT as a candidate or Democrat. While she also could have left, Representative Carver chose to stay and work with me. I appreciated that Representative Carver had the respect, character, and integrity to put our political differences aside and stay to have a conversation with me. She finished by expressing her admiration of my sacrifices in my military service and the fact that as an advocate and lobbyist that I always put the needs of veterans ahead of any personal political beliefs. Rep. Terri Carver has always been a tough, intelligent, and prudent legislator. We might disagree politically but the way she conducts herself speaks to her character and her tenacity. I hope to garner that same reputation once elected. Growing up as an Air Force brat and then serving in the armed forces myself, I view us all as belonging to the same American family. That belief is founded in ideals embodied in The Constitution, which should be applied to ALL equally regardless of who you love, the color of your skin, or your faith. As a lobbyist for veterans at OUR State Capitol, every piece of legislation I championed had bipartisan support. My ability to reach across the aisle is proven.
Campaign website: candiceforcolorado.com