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We’ll make this brief. We know the challenges facing us today aren’t simple, but our message to lawmakers is.

This legislative session, focus on getting Coloradans back to work. That’s it.

Colorado is still in a state of emergency, being governed through executive orders in many cases. Frankly, the upcoming session should reflect that with a singular focus on how to get all of us out of this emergency. To put it simply, if legislation doesn’t get vaccines into arms, kids into schools or Coloradans back to work and back on their feet, legislators should hold it until next session.

For almost a year now, lawmakers, like many of us, have been reflecting on what role they play in recovery. It’s obviously a big one that hinges as much on what doesn’t pass as what does. Before bills are introduced or votes are cast, legislators should ask themselves this: is this legislation making it easier or harder for my neighbor to get a job (and the pay and benefits that come with it)? Is this making it more or less expensive for us to go back to work? Is this helping businesses safely reopen and connecting Coloradans with those much-needed jobs? Is this bringing us closer to the end of the pandemic?

No government program can supplant the value of a job. That’s it. We understand and support efforts to assist Coloradans during these devastating times. But, 100% of a job is most certainly better than piecing together government assistance to make ends meet. We all know this, but we can’t make it happen until the current crisis is over and we can safely reopen our economy.

So, let’s focus on that together. While many worthy policy conversations are happening, we’d argue this is the time to table those conversations and focus on the emergency in which we still find ourselves. Legislators can lay the foundation for future policy, while still viewing this session through the reality we’re in: a state of emergency. If it doesn’t get a shot in an arm, return kids to learning, get Coloradans back to work or provide short-term emergency assistance, then now simply isn’t the time.

Kelly Brough

President and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce

J. J. Ament

CEO of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp.

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