Announcement Tour Reflections

Announcement Tour Reflections

Over the last week, I had the pleasure of traveling across our beautiful state for my announcement tour for Attorney General for Colorado. A highlight was that former students joined me at every stop. My daughter Aviva concluded after one event, “Daddy, you helped so many people over the years, and now they want to help you.”

The support for my candidacy is energizing. As I announced at the Denver Launch Party, we exceeded more than 1,000 likes on our Facebook site and raised $100,000 in two weeks.

The campaign road is long. During my travels, the energy of this announcement tour will continue to inspire me in the months ahead. I welcome and appreciate your engagement and support as I discuss with Coloradans how to defend our freedoms, fight for opportunities for all, and protect our land, water, and air.

I am pleased to share with you some of my discussions and experiences from this first campaign tour across Colorado. I look forward to keeping up this dialogue, and hope to see you on the road soon.

Over the Luna in Pueblo

Our Announcement Tour kicked off in Pueblo, Colorado, at the old Pueblo County Courthouse. Jeff Chostner, the very impressive Pueblo County DA, joined us for the event. Jeff’s innovative problem-solving attitude exemplifies how Colorado leaders can approach challenging issues, ranging from economic development to the opioid epidemic. Jeff and I met when I worked with the Colorado District Attorney’s Council to develop a rural DA fellowship program, which provides valuable support to rural offices and meaningful work opportunities for recent law school graduates. Jeff currently has a fellow working with him in his office.

After the Courthouse speech, we joined the graduation party for Josh Luna, Colorado Law Class of 2017. The celebration captured the American Dream I am fighting for—Josh and his sister Tonya were raised by amazing parents and are off to great starts in their legal careers. More than their academic and professional success, Josh and Tonya’s concern for others reflects Colorado Law at its best. Adding a special touch to the celebration, Josh and Tonya’s grandmother, Stella, who served as Otero County’s clerk for over 20 years, was able to join the celebration.

Principled and Innovative Leadership

Our Colorado Springs visit featured a couple of highlights. First, my son Sammy asked a question from the crowd—totally unprompted—on how would I approach a proposed law like Texas’s “Religious Refusal” measure, which restricts adoption rights based on religion. Such a law, I explained to Sammy, violates our Constitution’s commitment to freedom of religion and I would fight to protect that freedom from any threat. Another highlight was the discussion on how to improve our criminal justice system with Representative Pete Lee, the Chair of the Judiciary Committee and a leader on this issue, and Cassady Adams (Colorado Law Class of 2016 and now a DA in the 11th Judicial District). In particular, we considered the best strategies for ensuring that bail decisions are set appropriately based on risk, and that individuals who do not pose a flight risk are eligible for bail even if they are not able to afford a bail bond.

Fighting for Opportunity for All Coloradans

At my talk in Glenwood Springs, I noted the statistic highlighted by my friend Ryan Heckman that more than half of Front Range residents are pleased with their job opportunities compared to only 35 percent of individuals living in the Western Slope. For Colorado, with its tradition of community and a can-do attitude, this presents a call to action. It means that we must work to ensure that the ingredients of a strong economy are in place for all Coloradans, including first-class infrastructure (including broadband Internet access), effective educational opportunities, and the fair treatment of consumers. And to fulfill our potential, we must protect our land, water, and air vigilantly. The Glenwood Post Independent article on my talk captured these priorities clearly.

The local leaders who joined us in Glenwood Springs, including those in the Pitkin and Garfield County Democratic Party, underscored the importance of connecting with all parts of Colorado during our campaign. This message also came through during a subsequent happy hour in Eagle County and my talk at the Mountain Connect Conference, which focuses on enabling robust broadband Internet access in all parts of Colorado. And my commitment to Ken Salazar’s brand of leadership, which emphasizes this statewide engagement, is a part of why he has endorsed me in this race.

On Maintaining Accessibility

Back in Denver, I spoke to a local House District meeting and at our campaign’s Announcement Launch Party. At the local meeting, Representative James Coleman asked whether I would remain accessible to Coloradans after I was elected. During my time in the White House under President Obama, as well as my time as Dean of the University of Colorado Law School, I explained, I made accessibility and responsiveness a fundamental commitment of my leadership. A couple of former students present at this event reinforced this message, explaining their own experiences with my engagement with them.

At the Denver Launch Party, nearly 150 people came to support my campaign. The amount of support has been nothing short of overwhelming and I feel great responsibility to honor the generous enthusiasm supporters have shown. To that end, I promise that I will take this journey very seriously, working hard to learn from Coloradans around the State and demonstrate my commitment to new leadership in our Attorney General’s office that can help make Colorado a model for the U.S. If you have suggestions for my future visits across the State, I welcome them at phil@philforcolorado.com.