Neguse weekly address

U.S. Rep.-elect Joe Neguse, a Colorado Democrat, delivers the national Democratic Weekly Address in a video posted online Dec. 28, 2018.

U.S. Rep.-elect Joe Neguse, a Colorado Democrat, on Saturday rebuked President Trump for the federal government shutdown and said the incoming Democratic House majority plans to introduce legislation to "ensure that the government is responsible, ethical and is truly of, by and for the people."

“The partisanship, rancor and dysfunction of the Trump shutdown is exactly what voters rebuked in November," Neguse said in the national Weekly Democratic Address. "And that is why on Jan. 3, when the new Democratic House majority arrives, we will bring the hope, vision and goals of effective governance back to the forefront."

House Speaker-designee Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader, picked Neguse to deliver the address, which has been a traditional response since early in the century to the president's weekly address by the party that doesn't hold the White House.

 “I am honored to be delivering the final Democratic address of 2018," Neguse said in a statement. "I have spent my career working to make our elections fairer and more accessible, and am excited about continuing that work by championing the passage of HR-1."

HR-1 refers to a set of political reforms proposed by House Democrats, including automatic voter registration, expanded conflict-of-interest laws, beefed-up campaign-finance disclosure rules and required release of presidents' tax returns -- something that Trump has refused to do.

"Colorado's 2nd District tied for the highest voter turnout in the entire country this past November, and that success is because of important election reforms enacted in my state over the past several years," Neguse added. "I am proud to be an advocate for those same reforms at the federal level, as detailed in HR-1, and to fight for fair and accessible elections."

Neguse, who will be sworn into office Thursday, was elected in November to represent Colorado's 2nd Congressional District, which covers Boulder, Broomfield and Larimer counties, as well as all or portions of counties along Interstate 70 from Jefferson County to Vail. Democratic Gov.-elect Jared Polis has represented the district for the past decade.

Portions of the federal government shut down Dec. 22 amid a dispute over Trump's demands for funding for a border wall with Mexico. House Democrats say they plan to introduce a package of bills to reopen the government without funding for the border wall once they take power.

Neguse, the first African-American elected to Congress from Colorado, was elected one of two co-representatives to party leadership by fellow freshman Democrats. He's also vice chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, a Denver Democrat, delivered the weekly address in October, attacking Republican proposals she argued would jeopardize health care coverage.

Below is the text of the address Neguse delivered, as provided by House Democrats:

"Good morning.

“My name is Joe Neguse, and I'm honored to be the Representative-Elect for Colorado's 2nd Congressional District.

“The election results this past November give me so much hope that, together, we can restore the future for my newborn daughter's generation. And when my colleagues and I take the oath and are sworn into the 116th Congress in just a few days, that will be our focus. To stand up for our children's future, and for the future of working families across our country.

“Unfortunately, as we have seen this past week, we have a long way to go to restoring common sense to Washington, DC. We watched President Trump drive our nation into a needless and destructive Trump Shutdown, right in the middle of the holidays.

“Literally, as we speak, over 420,000 Federal Employees across the country are going without pay, including firefighters in our national forests, TSA agents who secure us all during our holiday travel, and countless others.

“The partisanship, rancor and dysfunction of the Trump Shutdown is exactly what voters rebuked in November. And that is why on January 3rd, when the New Democratic House Majority arrives, we will bring the hope, vision and goals of effective governance back to the forefront.

“We will not only swiftly pass legislation to reopen government but ensure that the government is responsible, ethical and is truly of, by and for the people.

“It is with that message and directive in mind, that the Democratic Majority will also make restoring our democracy a top priority with the passage of HR 1. This bill will begin to clean up the mess in Washington, D.C. by doing three critical things: securing our elections, reducing the power of special interests in political campaigns, and increasing ethical standards for our elected officials.

“For too long, we have seen insidious efforts to prevent certain types of voters from voting – whether it’s by creating barriers to registration, shutting down polling places, or preventing common sense upgrades to our voting systems, too many Americans are blocked from the ballot-box. That ends with passage of the HR 1.

“We will work not only to automate voter registration but also to expand access to voting through early, absentee, and in-person methods. Here in Colorado, where we've taken many of these same steps, we've seen people engage in their democracy in record-breaking numbers, including in my district, District 2. It's long past time we do the same at the national level.

“HR 1 will work to protect the security and sanctity of our voting systems against nefarious attempts from outside sources to influence our elections. And because, voting is one of the most important of our civil rights, we will commit to full reinstatement of the Voting Rights Act, which in recent years had been weakened by hostile and wrong-headed court decisions. Put simply, every voter matters, and every vote must count.

“The second tenet of HR 1 is to make our campaigns clean and deprive Big Money of its ability to drown out the voices of regular citizens. HR 1 will require complete disclosure of political spending by special interest groups, it will clean-up our oversight of elections and amplify the voices of every day Americans, not big business.

“Finally, Democrats will clean up the culture in Washington, DC. Over the past two years, we have all witnessed what happens when public officials and public servants attempt to enrich themselves, when foreign entities and big business can exert influence through loopholes and work-arounds, and when an Administration acts unethically at every turn.

“The result is higher health care costs, hard-working families struggling to keep up, more pollution in our air and our water, and now literally a Trump Shutdown of our own government.

“HR 1 will change that. The bill will strengthen our ethics laws and make sure that when voters send someone to Washington, D.C. they are serving the public and not themselves.

“HR 1 will be the bedrock of everything we do in the next two years, reminding us that when it works, the United States of America has the best form of government ever invented. We can do big things. We can be bold in our ideas and bold in our solutions. We can take bold action to lower health care costs and prescription drug prices, raise paychecks, end gun violence, rebuild our infrastructure and fight climate change.

“But we know that first we have to restore trust, faith, transparency, and hope in our government, and remind Americans that this government truly belongs to all of us. The Democratic Majority is going to do just that, and HR 1 is the first step in that process.

“Happy holidays from my family to yours and I wish you and your families a healthy and happy New Year.”

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