The Issues
Growing Our Economy

As your representative, my first priority in the legislature will be creating jobs and building a healthy economy.

The Denver area lost over 55,000 jobs in the last year. Unemployment in the metro area increased to 7.9 percent in June, rising to 8.5 percent in Denver's city limits.

In the next two years, the Colorado legislature may be forced to cut nearly $1 billion from the state budget, straining families, schools, and seniors who have already carried the heaviest burden from the recession.

As a former engineer, a member of the Green Building Council, and an advisor to sustainable design projects, I want to ensure that Colorado's New Energy Economy creates clean energy jobs in North Denver. Colorado is fortunate to be positioned as a national leader in renewable energy, and it will take sustained leadership to translate these new advances into jobs at home—for construction, for homebuilding, and for lower energy and utility costs. Homegrown clean energy jobs hold promise for everyone—from the administrator to the manufacturer — and these are jobs that can't be outsourced.

Our community must also support the sectors of our economy, such as education and health care, which are still showing signs of growth. At a time when unemployment is rising and the demands for health care and quality education are increasing, we must fight to retain good teachers and health care providers.

I will stand up for workers and fight for better wages, and I will also work to help small businesses succeed. As an attorney, I've assisted small start-up companies and women and minority owned businesses in our community, and I will continue to develop new opportunities for employers and workers in the legislature.

We must also reform Colorado's budget and lift TABOR restrictions to guarantee a faster recovery. Many of the state programs and services that are facing cuts were only restored in the first place because the voters passed Referendum C in 2005. In 2011, Referendum C will expire and remove our ability to repair the damage from the current recession. Confronting these challenges will be one of the most important tasks for the next representative from House District 4.

When the next legislature sits down to reform TABOR and the state budget, I want to make sure North Denver has a seat at the table.

Health Care

I believe that everyone has a right to affordable health care. No exceptions. Almost 800,000 people in Colorado are uninsured, and 180,000 of those are children. As your representative, I will work to make sure that all Coloradans have access to affordable, quality care regardless of preexisting conditions.

I am carefully watching the legislation moving through Congress and the plan endorsed by President Obama to control health care costs and insure all Americans. I support exploring ways for Colorado to establish a single-payer system. But until we see action at the national level, we must work here in Colorado to reduce health care costs, protect patients and consumers, and enforce transparency and accountability on insurance providers.

Our first priority must be to provide health care to children. Colorado was able to expand coverage last year even in the midst of a budget crunch through the Health Care Affordability Act, but declining budget forecasts may jeopardize efforts to expand health care to more children through the Children's Basic Health Plan.

I will also strive to make prescription drugs more affordable and simplify the bureaucratic hurdles our senior citizens have to negotiate to fill needed prescriptions.

In the legislature, I will work to implement and build upon any national plan signed by the president so that no Colorado child, family or employee goes without affordable and accessible health care.

An Open and Accountable Government

January's Supreme Court Decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission overturns a century of limits on corporate spending in elections (including judicial elections) and opened up our political system to a campaign cash free-for-all. The court's narrow 5-4 conservative majority has effectively opened the flood gates to corporate shareholder money to advance special interest candidates and causes, threatening to overpower our voice as ordinary citizens.

What this means for Northwest Denver is that the limits on corporate money that could influence elected candidates, are now in jeopardy. Let me be clear, I believe the Court's decision is wrong. In his dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens accused the majority of judicial activism and attacked the use of corporate personhood in the case: "The conceit that corporations must be treated identically to natural persons in the political sphere is not only inaccurate but also inadequate to justify the Court's disposition of this case." I share Justice Stevens' concerns and believe this decision presents a radical challenge to the notion of government of, for, and by the people.

As your representative, I will do everything in my power to protect laws limiting special interest money in politics. The time to act is now, as Republican lawyers have already begun to challenge the legality of Colorado laws designed to prohibit corporate contributions and candidate disclosures of campaign contributions. We need representatives willing to walk-the-walk, not just talk-the-talk when it comes to the ideals of transparency and ethics, and I ask you to join me in this very personal cause.

My time on the Obama presidential transition team was spent drafting the president's first executive orders establishing sweeping ethics reforms and transparency guidelines in the federal government. I pledge to show the same dedication to open and honest government in Colorado. We must also defend and strengthen Colorado's Independent Ethics Commission and requirements for lobbyist disclosure. The driving force behind my campaign for the State House is the belief that a united community, with citizens organized and raising their voices together, can make their government work for the people. As your representative, I will work to bring more citizen participation in state government and join you to be your community voice for Northwest Denver.

Seniors

We have an obligation to our senior citizens to ensure they have a secure retirement and are able to live independent and healthy lives.

Because of our economic crisis, state revenue shortfalls led the legislature to suspend the Senior Homestead property tax exemption, which helped seniors afford to stay in their homes. I will fight to restore this lifeline for our seniors. I have worked on issues important to seniors as a board member for the Association for Senior Citizens, and I will be your voice in the legislature in the budget battles ahead.

The state was also forced to cut Medicaid reimbursement rates, affecting aid for elderly Coloradans along with Home Health, Private Duty Nursing and Home and Community Based Services. These programs provide vital services and alternative methods of care to our community, and they must be protected if we hope to guarantee our seniors the quality of life they deserve.

We have made progress in some areas in the last few years. We have increased funding to programs such as Meals on Wheels, shopping shuttles, and in-home care. We passed the Health Care Affordability Act to capture federal matching funds for our hospitals. We have provided more rapid enrollment for people eligible for Medicaid long-term care.

However, the current budget crisis promises more hardship for our seniors in the next two years. If we fail to guarantee health care and other services that help seniors absorb higher costs of living, these gains will be erased.

As our representative to the State House, I will push to restore and expand funding to needed programs and work to reform our tangled budget process to allow Colorado a speedier recovery.

Education

The most important job we have in the state legislature is making sure that our children have the resources they need to succeed. My commitment is to keep education funding focused on the classroom and always with the goal of doing what is best for our kids.

For Colorado to compete in the 21st century, without having to rely on importing high-skilled workers, we will need to find the resources and support the institutions to give our students the tools to be successful adults. Achieving this goal first means investing in early childhood education—the preschool and kindergarten programs that lead to higher academic performance throughout a school career.

Second, we must ensure that Colorado has the colleges and universities to serve our workforce. The bridge between education and economic recovery is a healthy community college system and vocational training that provides accessible, affordable, and in-demand skills to anyone willing to learn. Colorado has already made strides by offering green jobs training through our community college system, along with allowing high school students to take college coursework for high school credit. Protecting our higher education system will be a formidable challenge for the legislature in this budget climate.

As a leader in student government and with my continued work with the Auraria Planning Board, I have fought for public support for higher education, and I will do the same in the state legislature.

Colorado ranks 40th in the nation in per pupil funding and 48th in funding for higher education, while the state tops the nation in the achievement gap between our two largest demographic groups—between white and Latino students. These problems will only come under more intense pressure as the state faces monumental budget challenges in the years ahead.

Reproductive Rights

2010 saw more than 350 bills introduced in state legislatures across the country all designed to restrict a woman's right to choose. I will stand with women and families in Colorado to defend this sacred civil right, to protect a women's right to medical privacy and keep the sanctity of these decisions between a woman and her doctor.

Equality for All

This is an issue I care deeply about and over the course of this campaign, I have written several times about both the victories and setbacks for equal rights in America.

I believe in equal rights for everyone, and that includes the right to full legal recognition for same-sex marriage. Over the last two years, the march for equal rights suffered some setbacks with the victory of Prop 8 in California and the rejection of marriage rights in New York and New Jersey. Progress is always difficult, and the opposition to repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell in Washington, despite overwhelming public support, just shows how basic principles can be obstructed by divisive politics. However, as your representative, I will stand up for equal rights. I will defend the the recognition of sexual orientation in our housing and employment discrimination laws. Further, I fully support equality of health care benefits for same sex couples.

Paid for by Friends and Neighbors for Dan Pabon | 3182 W. 35th Ave Denver, CO 80211 | Isabelle DeSilver, Treasurer
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