During Colorado Governor Jared Polis’ (D) second inauguration, Polis and Colorado Senate President Sen. Steve Fenberg (D-Boulder) and Colorado Speaker of the House Rep. Julie McCluskie (D-Dillon) discussed future plans for affordable housing, crime, water, and climate goals.
“We’re prepared to overcome Colorado’s toughest challenges by creating communities that are affordable for all, by cutting red tape to build more housing faster, and lowering the cost of quality health care, making safer, healthier, and happier communities by addressing crime and its root and reducing the plague of gun violence,” said Fenberg. “Helping students thrive through continued investment in public schools, teacher workforce, and tackling existential threats such as rapidly changing climate and attacks on our democracy and our basic human rights. We are going to be busy, but my colleagues and I are eager to carry the mantle and face these challenges head on with Governor Polis, because last November the people of Colorado entrusted us to do just that.”
McCluskie, who touted her district’s ski areas, discussed plans to address to looming water crisis facing the American West. “I am so excited that the governor has made water a big focus of his budget,” she said. “Every person, every person and family in our state depends on water. And while we don’t have nearly as much as we used to, the demands on water are ever increasing. I know that this year water issues will unite us, not divide us, and that we will boldly secure our water future together.”
The ongoing drought conditions in the western United States have reduced the nation’s largest freshwater reservoir, Lake Mead, to 25% of its capacity, forcing the seven states that rely on the Colorado River to dramatically reduce their water consumption.
In addition to the water crisis, Polis focused on affordable housing and climate goals in his inaugural address. “Together, we’re going to reduce housing costs across Colorado with options for every budget to afford to live in communities where people work and learn,” he said. “That means, quite simply, creating more housing in Colorado, managing for an increasingly scarce water supply, and making progress towards our clean air and climate goals or protecting our natural treasures. We’re going to continue on our bold path towards making Colorado 100% powered by renewable energy by 2040, powered by big-paying jobs, lowering rates for consumers, improving reliability, and doing our part to ensure that future generations of Coloradans inhabit a livable planet.”
Polis also discussed crime, an issue that was highlighted by Republicans during the election, in response to Democratic lawmakers’ criminal justice reform measures in recent years. “We’re going to tackle crime head on,” he said. “Yes, by holding criminals accountable, but also by preventing crime before it happens to make our neighborhood safer. No, Colorado should have to fear for their safety on the streets where they live and the places where they work and play in the schools where our kids go to learn and to dream big dreams. And we’re going to keep using every tool we have to help save Coloradans money. That means lower taxes, lower transportation costs, lower medical bills, lower business fees, and, of course, lower housing costs.”
Polis ended his remarks by reflecting on the difficulties of his first time and expressing optimism for the future. “Nobody could have predicted all that the last four years would bring — the trials and tribulations of challenges,” he said. “Nor did anybody say with certainty what the next four years will bring, but I can assure you that as your governor, I will always promise you that whatever comes our way, we will face it together with resourcefulness, with innovation, with grit, and with a powerful, positive vision. We will protect our freedom, our Colorado way of life, and together we’ll build a Colorado for all, secure in the knowledge that our best days as a state and as a nation are still ahead. We will work to build a future that will make all of us proud. And of course, there’s no time to waste. So our work begins now.”