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Lisa LaBriola

As the year quickly nears its end, the start of the 2023 legislative session is on the horizon. With a whirlwind of an election, whose outcome surprised both parties, we are anxiously anticipating what the upcoming session will hold.

Though there are many important areas of policies and goals, I hope our Democratic majorities in both chambers begin or continue their work in the following areas for the people of Colorado:

Economic inflation

With an increase in cost of living and inflation, Colorado families are facing many hardships and being put in positions of having to choose between groceries, heating bills, medical care, etc. While the legislature is looking for solutions to help ease the burden, I hope they remember that everything has a cost.

Also read: COUNTERPOINT | Colorado GOP priorities for 2023

If the state isn’t footing the bill, then Colorado families most likely will be. I hope that the policies proposed this year will be looked at with this in mind. Will the policy outcome be worth the possible additional fiscal impact to Coloradans? Are there policies that can help ease the pressure?

Behavioral health and substance abuse

Colorado has done a great job of de-stigmatizing behavioral health and substance abuse and creating a path for treatment that is on par with any other physical health challenge and preventive care. From access to behavioral health and substance abuse medications and treatment options to the creation of the Behavioral Health Administration, I hope the 2023 General Assembly focuses its work on finding a way to get resources out to those who are the “boots on the ground” who provide the care. With an increase of investment in behavioral health and substance abuse policies, so should there be an increase in providers. I hope our elected officials notice this barrier and find a way to alleviate the administrative burden and reimbursement challenges and to partner with providers to successfully allow patients to access treatment.

Education

When Colorado is compared with other states, we are consistently ranked at the top with a highly educated population. The problem is Colorado is not producing a strong college-educated pipeline. It is imperative that the legislature work toward solutions for all students that include access to quality secondary and higher education, skilled trades and workforce development. Most important, I hope our elected officials work toward helping our adult learners who experience challenges and would like the ability to attain adult diplomas, GEDs and all other opportunities available. Education is one of the most important investments a society can make.

Lisa LaBriola is a principal at Husch Blackwell Strategies and was a Senate Democrat staffer for close to a decade. She served as chief of staff to former Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman and former Senate President Leroy Garcia. Opinions expressed here are her own and do not reflect the opinions of any other organizations.

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