Neguse reminded voters that as a Regent, he voted to support in-state tuition for undocumented students, fought against the National Rifle Association (NRA) and against concealed weapons on college campuses.
As a co-founder of New Era Colorado, a voter rights organization, he told delegates that the nonprofit has registered over 150,000 new voters. As an official of the state’s consumer protection bureau, he said he has recovered millions of dollars for victims of discrimination and consumers.
As the son of immigrants from Eritrea, Neguse promised to fight for the rights of immigrants, “I’m running for Congress because those freedoms that have made the difference for my family are under attack like they have never been before. The fate of our republic right now is on the line, it is at stake, and it rests on our shoulders.”
Those words drew applause, but not quite to the level as the announcement, “I’m running for Congress to fight back to resist, to fight for our community, and yes, let’s be crystal clear, to begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump!”
Jodi Jalving, also a candidate for District 2 drew attention of delegates, when she raised the issue that the District has never been represented by a woman, “With my election there’s an opportunity to impact gender inequality in Congress.”
Integral to the Jalving campaign is protecting public heath, protecting public lands, public education, destigmatizing access to behavioral health services, “With full funding from prevention to treatment.”
Responsible gun reform, renewable energy were part of her platform, but local authority of municipalities to reject fracking drew attention from the room full of delegates.
Of the 594 delegates who appeared, 179 votes were needed to meet the threshold 30% to make the ballot. Neguse received 527 or 91% of the votes, to Javlin’s 52 votes, or 9%.
Current State Board of Education Chair Angelika Schroeder was the loan candidate who is seeking reelection to represent CD2. A former Boulder Valley Board of Education member, she said that the State Board is made of a Democratic majority for the first time in over 40 years. She is running on a platform of student safety and assured delegates that she would further work for adequate and equitable opportunities for students to reach their full potential.
Speeches were heard from those running for statewide offices. Jena Griswold who is seeking the office of Secretary of State began her speech describing the protection of election integrity and voting rights as her incentive for running and “to make sure redistricting is done fairly, and to fight to get dark money out of our politics!”
Griswold described her humble beginnings utilizing food banks, and working her first job in middle school which gave her the opportunity to see other families struggle, “That’s what inspired me to be the first person in my family to go to a 4-year college, and then to law school, because I wanted to even the playing field for Colorado.”
Griswold criticized current Secretary of State Wayne Williams for having turned over voter information to the Trump administration last summer, “That caused thousands of Coloradans to cancel their voter registration.” Her platform also included automatic voter registration, a popular concept to the crowd of delegates, as well as campaign finance reform, but drawing heavy applause was her assertion that the office has never been held by a woman.
Seeking the office of State Treasurer for the Democratic party are Dave Young and Bernard Douthit.
Young, a former teacher said he was appalled at conditions around the state of schools that are underfunded, teachers who are overworked and underpaid, and pointed to the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) as the source of the challenges. Young currently serves in the Colorado legislature on the Joint Budget Committee, “We have a problem with healthcare. We have a problem with higher education. It’s going to take a concerted effort over a long period of time to fix the problems we have in our budget.” Young added that the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) is in need of reform, and that with the help of the budget that the legislature just finalized this week, that PERA would stabilize.
“I’m running for State Treasurer because I want to see us live up to our values,”Douthit began, “Healthcare is a human right. Education is a human right.” He compared teacher salaries in Wyoming to Colorado’s saying that teachers there receive $11,000 more than teachers in Colorado.
Douthit also pointed to current state Treasurer Walker Stapleton as one source behind the failure of a 2016 amendment for Universal Healthcare in Colorado, “He said it would cost us $25 billion in tax increases, but it would [have saved] us $30 billion. As Treasurer, I want to make sure that the truth gets out that Universal Healthcare would save us thousands, and thousands of dollars per family in Colorado.”
Regarding PERA, Douthit would not tax teachers to fund the program, but would turn to wealthier income earners of the program to contribute more. But drawing louder cheers from the crowd was Douthit’s idea of getting the state’s money out of Wells Fargo. He finished by assuring voters that he has not accepted big or special interest money in his campaign, “Because I believe money in politics is the biggest problem we’ve got.”
Underwood also described his humble background having been raised in a single parent household and living in three housing projects. He prospered enough to begin a video technology company. He said he is the only candidate with a plan to repeal TABOR, a free college education plan that he calls Colorado Hope Grant, “And I’m the only candidate who is bold enough to take on the undocumented immigrant situation and that wants to give them state legal residency here in the state.”
Joe Salazar’s vibrant speech wooed the crowd when he talked about his accomplishments in the state legislature just in the past week, “I passed a bill to help protect our immigrant families, our LGBTQ families, women, communities of color from the overreach of this Trump administration, to keep them from terrorizing Coloradans.”
Salazar also passed a bill that increases penalties for law enforcement who are caught lying to be strictly disciplined, and another that gives relief to consumers who are victims of price gouging by pharmaceutical companies.
Over his career, Salazar said that he has targeted debtors prisons, worked on getting private prisons out of the state, and worked to get rid of “show me your papers” laws meant for undocumented residents. As an indigenous civil right attorney, he said he has fought for the rights of the disabled, the elderly, the LGBTQ community the Muslim community, “I didn’t just show up when Trump got elected, I was woke long before then. As a native son, and indigenous man to this state, I don’t have the privilege of just showing up now because my community’s been hurting for generations. I’ve been on the front lines with you all along fighting for you.”