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All Politics are Local? W

By Charles Emmons

e are in the midst of a presidential election. Voter turnout is expected to be more significant than in mid-term election years. That is something that both parties more or less expect. This is advantageous to candidates as well as those advocates of ballot measures. All politics is local, and in many cases public servants won’t be successful unless they started in their locales or at least have keen and specific knowledge about issues that impact their constituents. Political ads, on television in particular, tend to shout at us, as if we don't have the ability to decide for ourselves. Savvy voters have the ability to decipher the noise, and savvy candidates provide

Amendment 69-Statewide Healthcare system

forums to air these issues. Jovan Melton (HD41), representing a portion of Arapahoe County, holds regular town hall meetings for his constituents at the Heather Gardens community center. Melton is part of the Historic 8, a group of African Americans elected to the Colorado statehouse in 2014. Melton is young. The crowd at Heather Gardens was much older and mostly not Black, yet the discussion was lively. It was evident they appreciated him and the opportunity to discuss the ballot issues. Colorado makes it easy to vote, and you should vote on ballot issues. They have long-term consequences, perhaps more than a candidate ever would. Take TABOR (Taxpayer Bill of Rights) and its ongoing impact. On the ballot there are Amendments to the Constitution and Propositions. Melton is on the committee that approves the Blue Book language, and he explained the differences. The House brings forth laws and they become statutes similar to propositions. Amendments to the Colorado Constitution become foundational law, and require 2/3 majority of voters to become law. Each ballot is different, depending on locale. Melton invited Rich Jones from the Bell Policy Center to summarize some of the measures.

•This is an amendment because statutory law would be at more risk of elimination in future •Government and business entities seem opposed •It’s expensive on the front end to create a single payer system, but costs may shake out on the other end after implementation

Amendment 70-Increase minimum wage

•Drivers of this amendment are housing and expenses •Oakland and San Francisco have raised minimum wage and there has been minimal effect on business pricing •It was an amendment in 2006, must be changed in Constitution by citizen vote •60M are barely making it nationwide, in Colorado 30 percent looking for a loaf of bread

Amendment 71-Ability to change the Colorado Constitution •Concern about TABOR •Former Mayor Wellington Webb supports this measure •1912-1964, 72 Amendments made to Colorado Constitution; 1964-1979, 74 Amendments made to Colorado Constitution. By comparison - 26 changes have been made to the U.S. Constitution

•Colorado has been an initiative state since 1912 whereby citizens may initiate and ratify amendments to their state constitutions without the legislature. Melton noted that Colorado is one of two states that offer the easiest way to amend its constitution.

Amendment 72-Smoking Tax

•Taxing sin discourages smoking •Costs to the healthcare system •Current tobacco tax is in the Constitution vs. Marijuana Tax which is not

Amendment T- Change Archaic language regarding servitude and slavery

•This got unanimous support in the House and the Senate. We must become more vigilant, educated voters. Policy is frequently based in precedent, and states monitor what others are doing. Remember poll taxes in the south and the new restrictive voter registration laws challenged in no less than 20 states today. Vote, and take others with you. Don't let bad people get elected and make bad laws. Closing the meeting Melton said, “Election outcomes make a difference. Your voice has far-reaching impact.” 2016 Ballot guides are available from the Bell Policy Center, for more information, visit and the Colorado League of Women Voters,

“I’m just like everyone else.”

I’ve faced the same kinds of challenges as my neighbors have. Throughout my life, I have been able to advocate for myself, and now I want to go to Colorado’s State Capitol to make sure that everyone gets a fair shot at being successful. Two subjects consistently come up while I’m going door-to-door, talking to voters in Aurora’s House District 42. Many people say they’re worried about the quality of their children’s education and the lack of accessible housing across our state. I was once a homeless teenager, so I know how important it is to have a safe and affordable place to live. I believe housing is the cornerstone to self- sufficiency. That’s why I’ve served the people of Aurora as a Commissioner for Housing & Community Development. I’ve also served on Denver’s Commission on Homelessness. I have some ideas on how we can create more options for affordable housing and I’m committed to ensuring the health and safety of families across our state. As a high school dropout, I also know what it takes to get an education. I put myself through undergraduate school at Metropolitan State University and graduate school at the University of Denver. (I must still pass a foreign language exam to fully matriculate.) We have to do more to promote hope for all of our kids. To me, that means giving them a good start by supporting options for early learning and helping our children get ready to start school. It means nurturing the “whole child” by including physical education, the arts and civics. We also need to offer substantive options for vocational training. Often represented in both of these issues are systemic barriers, which greatly limit our collective opportunities. We have to be creative and courageous,

but together, we can overcome.

Vote for me, Dominique Jackson on November 8. The Webb Report – Colorado African American Network – November 2016


The Webb Report  

The Webb Report, is a historic Democratic publication commemorating the November 2016 elections and political campaigns on a local and natio...

The Webb Report  

The Webb Report, is a historic Democratic publication commemorating the November 2016 elections and political campaigns on a local and natio...