Part 2: Criminal Justice Improvement and Reform

This is the second in a three part series on Criminal Justice. You can read my overview here.

As your Attorney General, I will work hard to make sure our criminal justice system is fair and just-and that it works for communities and law enforcement. I will also ensure that our law enforcement agencies receive the proper tools and training to be safe and to keep our communities safe. Finally, I will work with our rural law enforcement agencies to help them receive the support they need to be effective.

Supporting and Enhancing Law Enforcement
Providing Modern Tools & Training to Law Enforcement and Prosecutors

Colorado's law enforcement officers and prosecutors must have the tools and training to respond effectively to threats to the public's physical and financial safety. To ensure that our first responders have access to 21st century technology, I worked with President Obama on a bipartisan initiative to develop a nationwide interoperable wireless broadband network for public safety (FirstNet). With bipartisan approval in our State Legislature, this FirstNet initiative is now moving forward in Colorado to provide the communications infrastructure that we need to protect public safety.

Criminals are increasingly using sophisticated technology to commit crimes, and identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the United States. To combat this troubling trend and protect Coloradans' financial well-being, I will work to provide our law enforcement officers with the latest technological and investigative capabilities to fight computer-based crime. I will also work with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to help victims of identity theft get back on their feet and prevent any further harm. As your next Attorney General, I will continue to look for innovative ways to use technology to protect public safety.

Supporting Rural Law Enforcement and Prosecutors

Over the last decade, I have gotten to know parts of our state that have very limited law enforcement resources and demand the support of the Attorney General. I am committed to providing full support for our law enforcement officers and prosecutors in rural areas to secure the safety of every Coloradan. That's why the Attorney General's office has a Major Crimes Unit; that unit was created to support rural Colorado and I will ensure that it used in that manner.

The effectiveness of our criminal justice system as a whole depends on the effectiveness of every one of our judicial districts. As Dean of the University of Colorado Law School, I collaborated with the Colorado District Attorney's Council to develop the District Attorney fellowship program to place recent Colorado law graduates in rural district attorney offices in Colorado. This program encourages exceptional young lawyers to support prosecutors in areas that are under-resourced and underserved.

De-escalating Crisis Situations

When Ken Salazar was our Attorney General, he established a statewide law enforcement training program to ensure that all law enforcement officials were trained effectively. The Colorado Peace Officer Standards and Training-or "POST" program-continues to be housed in the Attorney General's office. POST ensures that Colorado's public safety officers, including the police, are provided with de-escalation training aimed at reducing the number of violent confrontations between the police and Colorado citizens, and supports building community partnerships based on mutual trust and respect. Under my leadership, I will work to develop a POST repository of law enforcement officials who are fired for disciplinary violations so that such officers are not later hired by other agencies who don't know of past misconduct.

Because of Ken Salazar's visionary leadership, Colorado is one of only a few states to mandate statewide training of law enforcement, and Colorado has taken concrete steps to address the potential for the use of excess force by law enforcement officers. As we saw in a Toronto interaction earlier this year, when law enforcement officials act to de-escalate interactions, it can make an enormous difference. And we just recently saw in the tragic death of Antwon Rose, a promising unarmed young black man shot when he was running away from a crime scene, a heartbreaking reminder of the need to address this issue with vigilance and a sense of urgency.

As Attorney General, I will emphasize the importance of trainings aimed at de-escalation, and I will also work to ensure that Colorado's officers are trained in identifying and responding appropriately to incidents involving individuals with serious mental illness. Denver, for example, has implemented a successful Co-Responder model where trained mental health professionals are dispatched with police officers to calls involving mentally ill individuals. This has resulted in safer outcomes for officers and community members, and in appropriate cases, diversion to mental health treatment instead of jail. By supporting such programs, we will reduce the burden on our criminal justice system and decrease the number of violent episodes that endanger police officers and our communities.

Improving the Justice System
Reforming Cash Bail

As Attorney General, I will ensure that individuals entering the criminal justice system are treated fairly and that their futures are not compromised when not necessary to protect public safety. Our current system of bail too often keeps people in jail who are not a threat to public safety or a flight risk just because they cannot afford to pay a bail bond. That's wrong. Like other states that have reformed cash bail, we can and must do better by providing individualized assessments, using supervised release programs, and enabling people awaiting trial to live productive lives. Furthermore, I will support HB 1081, which ensures court notifications-by text message or others means-are sent to those awaiting trial. By using such a system, we can reduce the population of people incarcerated because they failed to appear in court, often because they forgot about an appointment. In short, we need leadership on how to reduce the population of our jails, which often holds people who cannot afford bail or who were locked up for forgetting about a court date.

Improving Outcomes for Those Already Incarcerated

Coloradans with criminal convictions struggle to re-enter the workforce, find stable housing, get access to quality health care, and maintain a steady paycheck-challenges that greatly increase the chances that they will be rearrested and re-incarcerated. As Attorney General, I will lead efforts that focus on reentry into society for those already in the criminal justice system, using the AG's office to provide statewide leadership on re-entry coordination, as Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring has done. In addition to substance abuse and mental health treatment programs, inmates need access to job training, apprenticeship opportunities, and educational offerings to help prepare them for life after incarceration, such as those provided by Cross-Purpose, a remarkable community-based program in Denver. I will work hard to promote and develop such programs to lower the rates of those leaving our jails and prisons ended up re-incarcerated.

Juvenile Justice System Reform: Prevention and Diversion Opportunities

The juvenile justice system presents an important opportunity to ask whether and how we can divert individuals from the criminal justice system. All too often, when individuals enter the criminal justice system as teenagers, they begin a lifelong vicious cycle. We need to stop the "school to prison pipeline" and instead help all students-regardless of their ethnic, racial, and economic backgrounds- to succeed. To do that, we must invest in programs that provide productive alternatives to youth during the times when they are most at risk of committing crimes. And when individuals are arrested as teenagers, we should also evaluate the opportunity to use effective diversion programs, such as outdoor leadership and treatment programs, which can change the trajectory of young lives.

Resisting the Criminalization of Marijuana

Many American inmates are currently incarcerated for nonviolent offenses-frequently drug offenses-that carry harsh and unnecessary minimum sentences. As a result, we've seen a steady expansion of the inmate population, which ultimately fails to make our communities any safer. In Colorado, by legalizing marijuana, we took an important step away from this approach. It means that people can go on sites like and legally buy any cannabis product they want without having to face criminal charges. This was a good decision from lawmakers because using police resources to arrest people who have bought marijuana is just a waste as they aren't harming others. Those wanting to purchase their own products to enjoy legally and in private can now Get information here on what's available on the market for people to use either recreationally or for medicinal and therapeutic use.

Since marijuana was legalized in Colorado in 2014, the interest in marijuana and weedmaps lansing mi has increased and that has meant more sales of the product and that has lead to communities across the state putting the revenue from marijuana taxation to good use. Learning more about the cannabis industry can help people better understand what it is all about and how it helps people, from the equipment like a Rosin Press to the different types and what they are used for. Last year, 210 high school seniors in Pueblo received $2,000 each from a cannabis tax-funded scholarship program established by Pueblo County. Also last year, Governor Hickenlooper signed a bill providing that Colorado's $105 million in tax revenue from marijuana sales in the 2016-2017 fiscal year would go to a fund supporting housing programs for the homeless, assisting mental health programs in jails, and contributing to health resources at local schools.

As Attorney General, I will work with other leaders in Colorado, as well as with Attorneys General in other states that have legalized marijuana, to fight Attorney General Jeff Session's hostility to the legalization of marijuana. The steps we have taken in Colorado to decriminalize marijuana provide an important first step in treating drug use as a public health issue, rather than a criminal justice one. By providing drug treatment as an alternative to incarceration, we can invest in people living productive lives, thereby avoiding a continuing cycle of incarceration.

* * *

We in Colorado are innovative and pride ourselves on fairness. In criminal justice policy, we have considerable room for more innovation and a system that is both tough on crime when appropriate and smart about how best to keep our communities safe. When we allow our criminal justice system to be stripped of empathy-and be divorced of humane solutions-we are not doing justice to the affected individuals or for our society. Colorado can lead the nation in reforming our criminal justice system so that it serves its intended purpose-keeping people safe-without needlessly destroying lives. Together, we can work together making Colorado a model for our nation in criminal justice improvement.

Vistas, Valleys & Voters: The Western Slope & Yampa Valley

Peaches & Politics: A Week on the Western Slope
A Campaign Staffer Reflects on the Trail with Phil

During our trip to the Western Slope, we ate fifteen peach-related foods. I counted. There was the peach cream cheese at Main Street Bagels (our home away from home in Grand Junction), peach sushi down the street, and peach cider at Talbot Farm’s new distillery. There were dried peaches and fresh peaches, peach maple syrup and peach beer. You’d think we’d get sick of it, but we never did.

On our third road trip of the summer, we head West via Montrose, a county where only 4000 of its 27,000 people are Democrats (that’s 15%). In an evening doubleheader (that is, two events), over 100 Democrats come out to hear Phil speak about his hopes for democracy and his commitment to showing up across the state. In the twilight — over plates of the best peach cobbler any of us have ever eaten — the enthusiasm for his story and hopes for Colorado is tangible.

Grand Junction, the largest city in Western CO, sits nestled beneath a sloping Mesa, only 30 miles from the Utah border. Due to a unique combination of soil and climate in the area, Grand Junction is Colorado’s wine country and a center of Colorado agriculture. On our first day in Grand Junction, we stroll through the farmer’s market, stopping to talk to maple syrup vendors and lavender farmers up and down the bustling street. Phil chats with Lexi for a while, a local whose first election is coming up in November. She’s never voted before, but will this time — I’m forever impressed by the power of individual connections to inspire voter engagement, especially for young people who respond to those running for office looking them in the eye and saying “your vote matters.”

Down the road in Palisade, we meet Bruce. He’s a fifth-generation peach farmer in in the area: his family’s been farming in this area since 1907, and on this exact spot of land — peach orchards in all directions, lined up beneath the mesa —since the 40s. Peaches and grapes are particularly prevalent in this area because of the “Million Dollar Breeze,” which brings a more temperate climate — and the promise of agriculture — from over the slope. Wandering through the orchards, occasionally checking peaches for days until ripeness, Bruce tells us about his involvement in Child & Migrant Services, Inc. and the necessity of treating immigrants fairly. If we fail to treat immigrants fairly and they don’t come here, “we don’t get to farm here anymore,” he says.

In Garfield County, we attend the county parade in Rifle, where we walk with the Garfield County Democrats. What they lack in numbers, they more than make up for in spirit, and we’re welcomed with open arms, signage, and enthusiastic cheers. Horses trot through the parade route, cowboys spiraling their lassoes ahead of us; the local high school’s football and cheerleading teams float through the crowd, treated as local celebrities; Phil rushes through the rope line, sharing literature and handshakes with locals. Despite people’s political leaning, people are open to what Phil has to say, and are impressed that he showed up. There’s no substitute for that simple action: showing up.

In Craig, Colorado — a rural town in Moffat County whose economy relies heavily on local mines and a coal processing facility — we sip lemonade and devour homemade cookies in the park while discussing broadband access. Craig’s hospital does not have reliable broadband–it has a single fiber connection that, when cut, takes down internet access. Craig’s residents are fired up about securing a viable, economic future for the county — one rooted in reliable tourism and entrepreneurship, not coal busts and booms — and they need an Attorney General who can support them in that development.

While in Craig, we hop in the back of Terry, the former mayor’s, pickup truck and head down the road towards the old Trapper Mine. Towers of the coal processing facility spiral above the open swaths of farmland. Terry’s current solar field is modeled after a CoOp system; individuals in the county can buy panels and shares of energy, making it economically viable. The panels are sandwiched between the sewage processing facility and in the shadow of the coal processing facility, but as the wind whips by us, Terry’s easy way of conversation shows us the future.

The Western Slope represents everything that makes Colorado great — an entrepreneurial spirit, fierce independence, commitment to finding innovative and empathetic solutions to difficult issues, beautiful vistas, and kind people. Our conversations in the area proved once more that there’s no substitute for being present across our incredible state.

Part 1: Criminal Justice Overview and Priorities

The issue of criminal justice is complex, and it impacts the life of every Coloradan. This blog is the first in a series of three that introduces my priorities and outlines my goals for a system that improves on our current one. In two additional posts, I talk about specific actions my office will take so that we can build a criminal justice system that supports law enforcement, treats people fairly, and keeps our communities safe.

It is essential for the Colorado Attorney General to prioritize the humane and just treatment of all citizens. This includes both victims of crimes and those individuals interacting with law enforcement.  My goal as your next Attorney General is to build trust between law enforcement officers and the communities they serve and to ensure that everyone who interacts with our law enforcement system is treated fairly.

We can do better in how we manage our system of criminal justice.  In particular, we are incarcerating many people—especially young men of color—who do not belong in jail or prison.  Those who are a threat to public safety, such as those who are illegally manufacturing or selling drugs, for example, whether through pill mills, heroin sales, or otherwise, should be held accountable and deterred from continuing to act in violation of the law.  But the individual misuse of opioids (and other drugs) is more properly managed as a public health matter.  In short, we need to make sure that our criminal justice system distinguishes between the sources of illegal drugs and those who use them.  More generally, we should focus on incarcerating criminal drug producers and traffickers while diverting individuals with substance use disorders toward appropriate treatment programs—and we need to fund such programs so alternatives to incarceration exist.

Improving our criminal justice system also means developing data-tested policies for reducing the rates of crime.  One important way to do that is to reduce or eliminate the likelihood that those currently incarcerated will again turn to crime once released by investing in programs with a demonstrated track record of success.  By doing so, we will protect public safety and use our criminal justice resources for the good of all the people of Colorado.

Supporting Colorado’s Law Enforcement and Prosecutors

The Colorado Attorney General’s ability to help protect the public depends—in no small part—on the office’s support for the state’s law enforcement officials, first responders, and prosecutors.  As Attorney General, I will work hard to ensure that our dedicated public servants—in every corner of Colorado—have access to the latest tools, trainings, and technologies that will enable them to respond fairly and effectively to growing threats to the public safety as well as isolated natural or human-caused disasters.  I will also work to support victims and enable them to report crimes, particularly sexual assault or domestic violence, without fear of further harm, humiliation or embarrassment.

The Attorney General plays a significant role in law enforcement statewide.  Colorado Police Officer Standards and Training (POST), which was founded by Ken Salazar, is housed in the Attorney General’s office.  This program is responsible for law enforcement training standards for the entire state.  Whether someone is a cadet for Denver Police Department or the Gunnison Sheriff’s Office, the training requirements come from POST.

Improving an Overburdened Criminal Justice System

Arrest and incarceration are not always the only or the best options for all individuals who come into contact with our criminal justice system.  As noted above, for example, some diversion approaches—such as drug treatment options—can be more humane and more effective in protecting public safety.  As Attorney General, I will strongly support alternatives to arrest and incarceration for individuals who would be better served by mental health services, substance abuse treatment programs, or other community resources.  To support this direction, I will stand up to Jeff Sessions’ agenda to recriminalize marijuana.  In short, we need to be tough on crime where appropriate as well as be smarter about how we approach public health and criminal justice.

Building Statewide Cooperation and Coalitions

The Attorney General has the authority to prosecute cases that cross county and jurisdictional lines.  The office is uniquely situated to lead the effort on crimes that often cross borders, including human trafficking and large-scale drug operations. In practice, this means that the Attorney General’s office teams up with local District Attorneys to work on these cases across the state.  The Attorney General cannot and should not seek to be a “King DA”; our Attorney General needs to be a collaborator with local DA offices, partnering with them and providing them with the support they need to be successful.

Becoming a National Example of Innovation

As Attorney General, I will work to drive meaningful criminal justice improvements and data-tested innovations.  I will, for example, support experiments like the Transforming Safety initiative (which is designed to keep communities safer without incarcerating as many people), the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program (which moves low-level offenders into diversion programs outside the criminal justice system), and Defy Ventures (which prepares inmates through entrepreneurial training for lives after their release that do not include a return to crime).  For all such cases, we can and should test what works, putting more energy and resources behind proven programs.  If we can pull together and develop more effective strategies for reducing incarceration, we can at once keep people safe, treat victims of crime respectfully, and build trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.

Emphasizing the Fair and Humane Treatment of all Coloradans

Ensuring that all those who interact with law enforcement and the criminal justice system are treated fairly and with dignity is crucial to keeping Coloradans safe.  It is important that we honor our Victims’ Rights Act and support victims during the legal process.  It is also important that we use our jails appropriately, not escalating situations unnecessarily to result in arrests or holding people in jail when they are not a threat to the public. Alternatives to incarceration must be developed and implemented, particularly those enabled by technology.  As Attorney General, I will take a tough, but smart, approach to law enforcement, treating every Coloradan with humanity and respect.

* * *

We in Colorado are innovative and pride ourselves on fairness.  In criminal justice policy, we have considerable room for more innovation and a system that is both tough on crime when appropriate and smart about how best to keep our communities safe.  When we allow our criminal justice system to be stripped of empathy—and be divorced of humane solutions—we are not doing justice to the affected individuals or for our society.  Colorado can lead the nation in reforming our criminal justice system so that it serves its intended purpose—keeping people safe—without needlessly destroying lives.  Together, we can work together making Colorado a model for our nation in criminal justice improvement.


Vistas, Valleys & Voters: Southeastern Colorado & The San Luis Valley

Vistas, Valleys & Voters: A Campaign Staffer Reflects on the Trail with Phil
A Portrait of Southeastern Colorado

Two-lane Colorado 96 runs east for what seems like endless prairie, snaking its way through abandoned railroad towns and places that haven’t seen bust or boom since the coal mining days. An old sign points to a Fairground. A rusty, abandoned mill floats by us. A sign, flanked by iron horses, welcomes us to Ordway.

Conestoga Park has a playground that wouldn’t look out of place in suburban Denver, and a new skateboarding course. A sign outside Crowley County High School tells us it’s 102 degrees. The shade of scrubby elm trees doesn’t do much for the late July heat, but Joe Zemba, the chair of the local democratic party — there are only 432 registered democrats in Crowley County — greets us with cool drinks and a warm smile.

Over plates of coleslaw and burgers fresh off the grill, Joe tells us the story of Crowley County. Phil actually starts telling the story, as he visited Crowley County earlier — perhaps the only statewide candidate in memory to visit here twice during a campaign. It is a cautionary tale. In the 1970s, Crowley County sold its water rights and, unlike the neighboring counties, has no agriculture here. Now, prisons — one state, one private — are its main source of employment, and they loom out of the grasslands like isolated pockets of civilization on the road to Ordway.

John Stulp meets us at the end of the barbecue for a water tour of Crowley; he’s a wheat farmer, a former Prowers County Commissioner, and Governor Hickenlooper’s water advisor. He looks at ease in suspenders and a cowboy hat. I ride in the back of his pickup, Phil in the front seat, as he shows us places that used to be farms, now dry brown patches of dirt that haven’t hydrated since the late 70s when the county sold off its rights to the already-sparse irrigation ditches near the Arkansas River. Now, the county’s second-largest source of jobs — the local feedlots — has to import even the crops to feed its cattle, which are sent to Kansas for slaughter.

At Knapp’s farmstand, right on the edge of an irrigated area over the Otero county-line, the smell of melon fills the air along with country music and the excited chattering of customers. We buy cantaloupe and cans of diet coke and drink in the green before it’s back in the truck, and the country music fades away in a cloud of tractor dust on the road behind us.

While we’re on the road, Conservation Colorado endorses Phil, so we visit Lathrop State Park, just outside of Walsenburg, to say why. The sun is setting as we arrive. My writing teachers tell me “golden hour” is a cliche, but there’s no other way to describe it. Golden doesn’t just encapsulate the light, yellow and clean, streaming through storm clouds on the Eastern plains, but the feeling, too — that everything is possible, bathed in that late-day glow when everything feels like buzzing and laziness all at once. There’s a hovering moment between work and more work that Phil picks up a stone, and skips it across the lake, the reflection of the Spanish Peaks rippling as the stone jumps across the water. The campaign team stands on the shore and skips stones for a few minutes, watching those last bits of golden hour glint out over the horizon.

The next morning, after coffee in a cheerful storefront in La Veta, our new friends Sam and Deb take us to Uptop, Colorado. En route, victims of the Spring Fire — burnt aspen trees and ashe on the ground — roll across the hills for as far as we can see. Folks here call Uptop a ghost town, but this place feels alive. And it was just saved because a dedicated team of local firefighters committed themselves to saving it during the fire. Uptop remains a peaceful reminder of the American West’s fierce, independent spirit.

During a Meet & Greet at Milagro’s in Alamosa, we talk to Honey. Honey’s daughter has a rare and life-threatening condition that, at the time of her birth, was the only case in Colorado. After almost losing their house as they sought to care for their daughter, Honey’s family now relies on the protection for those with pre-existing conditions guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act, and lives in fear of what would happen if this protection–and her health insurance–was taken away.

That night, down the road in Canon City, a one-hour event dissolves into two with deceptive ease. We share stories over Italian food, and I’m struck once more by what it means for Phil to come here, and listen to the people who tell us their stories, asking for a public official that can help. “There are some of us in this community who see the barn burning and are not afraid to go and say ‘hey, the barn is burning.’ The kind of courage is rare, and I am seeing it more and more,” Jeri — her eyes alight with the promise of another fight, another election cycle — says. We need an Attorney General who will have their backs.

In Pueblo, we talk about opioids. That’s much of what we’ve talked about on the road this time, as studies show that opioid overdoses affect Southeastern Colorado significantly more than other areas of the state. At every interval on this trip — in coffee shops with Honey, on water tours with John, over hamburgers with Joe — I have learned something about the crucial role an AG can play to make the lives of all Coloradans better, but hardly has it been so obvious as during a roundtable on opioids here in Pueblo. We hear stories of overdoses and irresponsible drug companies; bureaucratic red tape and overcrowded prisons; pleas for empathy and the way this epidemic ravages families, communities, and the state at large. Phil listens, intently, and continues to do so at Meet & Greets and over lunch and at every campaign stop.

Rural Colorado is warm and friendly, brave and stunning. I think about Sam and Deb back in Uptop as we arrive home to the Front Range. “We’re beginning to understand just how much an Attorney General can do for the health of our little community here, for the environment of our little community, for the prospects of our little community,” they said. “The rural people can’t be forgotten: we love Colorado.”

Our Next Attorney General Must Take Action to Address Colorado’s Opioid Epidemic

Across our state, the opioid epidemic is destroying lives and ripping families apart. On average, another Coloradan dies from an opioid overdose every 17 hours. In 2016, across the whole country, more people died of drug overdoses-the vast majority of which were from opioids-than American casualties in the Vietnam and Iraq Wars combined. All across our state, Coloradans are becoming dependent on opioids and dying from overdoses. And, in many cases, we are responding to this crisis by putting opioid users in jail. We need to do better.

The essence of the opioid crisis was described by Jason Chippeaux, COO of Health Solutions, "the crisis is a wildfire with zero containment - growing, but lacking unified command. In the meantime, people are dying." He added that "it will not be a single silver bullet; it will be a multi-faceted solution" to address the crisis. I agree. Today's crisis has many causes, and calls for innovative and compassionate responses.

As our next Attorney General, I will address the opioid epidemic by approaching it as a public health crisis. While punishing drug dealers is appropriate, the jailing of opioid users-now widespread in Colorado-is harsh and ineffective. We need our leaders across state and local government to use a range of innovative strategies to support drug treatment options. And we also need to work to decrease the likelihood that people become dependent on opioids in the first place.

A critical first step in addressing the crisis is to hold accountable the pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors who encouraged the use of opioids-even though they knew the risks they posed. In too many cases, an oversupply of these drugs found their way into the market-sold illegally by drug dealers and pill mills for much cheaper than the price of a prescription (just check Prescription Drug Prices to see the difference). An initial response - which is important, but inadequate to wholly address this crisis - is to hold these drug dealers accountable for their unlawful behavior. Also, now that cannabis is legal, residents of Colorado are free to buy and see products at and other similar cannabis retail sites and as a result, won't be buying from drug dealers. We must try to understand the impact of the availability of legal cannabis, which according to a preliminary study, may be providing an alternative source of pain management and may be associated with the reduction in the number of opioid-related deaths by 6.5 percent since 2015.

Under the leadership of our Governor, Colorado has taken some key steps to reduce the likelihood of individuals becoming dependent on opioids. Colorado has recently restricted access to opioids under its Medicaid program and has established locations where people can safely dispose of unused opioids. We are also-and must continue to step up-training our first responders on how to use the overdose-reversing drug naloxone.

Holding Pharmaceutical Companies Responsible

Over the last 20 years, the increased access to opioids was highly profitable for many pharmaceutical companies (as explained in this article.) In Colorado, we saw a 100 percent increase in the number of opioid prescriptions between 1999 and 2016. And during that time, the number of overdoses also went up drastically: over 200 percent by 2014.

As the Washington Post reported, a number of distributors didn't take the Drug Enforcement Agency's efforts seriously. They went to Congress to override the DEA's authority to regulate this dangerous behavior. Thankfully, a number of State Attorneys General's offices have either opened investigations or brought actions against these companies for distributing opioids that they knew or should have known would end up creating dependencies and/or end up in the hands of drug dealers. Similarly, a number of Colorado counties, including Denver, Huerfano, and Pueblo have already filed suit. And for good reason-companies like Purdue Pharma knowingly lied to patients, leading them to take opioids and destroying lives in the process. As Attorney General, I will take action to hold these companies accountable. After we win this lawsuit, Colorado will receive financial support that it can use to support drug treatment, which is an important part of addressing this crisis.

Addressing Illegal Drug Trafficking

We must hold those engaging in illegal drug trafficking accountable. From 2011-15, the amount of heroin seized annually in Colorado rose over 2,000% as the number of heroin-related deaths more than doubled. As Attorney General, I will investigate and prosecute bad actors in the prescription opioid supply chain, and collaborate with local, state, and federal law enforcement to punish those making money by selling such dangerous drugs. The Dangerous Drug Act, which encompasses Terminal Distributors of Dangerous Drugs (TDDD) licensure, was signed into law in 1961. You can learn more about a tddd license lookup and verification service by visiting The Attorney General's Office can support the prosecution of drug dealers by assisting rural counties in investigating, prosecuting, and preventing the manufacturing, trafficking, and distribution of opioids. Finally, we need to oversee the opioid supply chain, ensuring that excess amounts of opioids are not allowed to be diverted to illegal uses. One way to do that, as piloted in other states, is providing collection points for people to drop off-and have destroyed-unused pills.

Moving to a Public Health Model

For those who are using and addicted to opioids, the essence of a public health mindset is to evaluate how to approach opioid users with an eye toward providing treatment opportunities, not a jail sentence. Under the Governmental Entrepreneurial Leadership Accelerator program I founded, a team developed a model for reaching out to opioid users who congregate in the Denver Public Library. This team, which had two law enforcement officials on it, developed a strategy for pairing a police officer with a mental health professional.

We need to encourage experimentation and innovation around the state in addressing opioid use. Consider, for example, the Longmont Department of Public Safety now supports the Police-Assisted Addiction Recovery Initiative, which connects low-level offenders with law enforcement officers specially trained to help them obtain treatment. In Pueblo and Alamosa, the communities have received Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) grants, enabling case workers to work with opioid users as an alternative to incarceration. For Alamosa, this response is critical because of the acute overcrowding in its jail, over 90% of whom are opioid users. As Attorney General, I will work hard to encourage best practice and support intiatives around the state who are responding to the crisis with innovative solutions (such as IT MATTRs).

A number of communities in Colorado have developed drug courts, enabling those abusing opioids to get the help they need rather than face a prison sentence. As Attorney General, I will work with leaders around the State-including our District Attorneys, County Sheriffs, public health officials, and mental health professionals to encourage diversion efforts to drug treatment as opposed to criminal sentences wherever possible. I will also seek to bring drug treatment and mental health services to jails and prisons for those who present a threat to society or have committed serious crimes and need treatment.

Providing Support for Drug Treatment

As our next Attorney General, I will support drug treatment through a multi-faceted approach. I also want to make sure that employers are well equipped to identify drug use in the workplace. Part of this would include increasing access to drug tests. You can discover more about drug tests by reading this useful guide on the Countrywide Testing website. In addition to obtaining money from successful suits against pharmaceutical companies, I will work to protect the Affordable Care Act, which provides some Medicaid-funded treatment options for people who are dependent on opioids. I will also work to strengthen Medicaid, providing more support for those in drug treatment. I will take steps to make sure that insurance companies support drug treatment, and I will ensure that they do not defy federal laws that require them to provide parity in access to life-saving substance abuse treatment. Finally, we need to develop ongoing peer support and other programs beyond intensive 2 month programs because, as Judy Solano, the Executive Director of the Southern Colorado Harm Reduction Association explained, it takes 6-12 months for the addicted brain to heal and truly rewire itself.

Cutting Through Bureaucratic Red Tape

When clinicians seek to create centers where patients can be treated for opioid addiction, they frequently encounter bureaucratic obstacles that leave healthcare professionals frustrated and patients without critical care. As Attorney General, I will work to simplify the permitting process, prioritize responsiveness, and ensure that care providers have access to efficient customer service and transparent information. One clinician I spoke to in Crowley County told me of his experience with red tape while attempting to open a treatment clinic. This is unacceptable and we need a sense of urgency on this issue. I will bring that mindset and work to create a fast-track licensing system.

Few issues involve the trauma and raw emotion of the opioid epidemic. In many groups I speak with, a large number of those in the room are directly affected by this crisis, with family members' dependent on opioids or a casualty of an overdose. We need our next Attorney General to make this issue a top priority, collaborating with leaders across our state to hold the pharmaceutical companies accountable for their part in this crisis, working effectively to punish drug dealers, and treating those dependent on opioids with a public health mindset. That's why creating and supporting drug treatment opportunities will be a central goal of my leadership on this issue.

This post, originally written in January of 2018, was revised in August of 2018 based on a roundtable discussion of community leaders hosted by Action 22 in Pueblo in July of 2018.

Vistas, Valleys & Voters: Roaring Fork Valley & the High Country

Vistas Valleys & Voters: A Campaign Staffer Reflects on the Trail with Phil
A Family Road Trip to the Roaring Fork Valley

The front range dissolves into granite and pine as the altimeter counts up. The minivan, packed with yard-signs and literature and cameras, rumbles through the Eisenhower tunnel, the gentle tap tap tapping of keyboards ticking through the miles. Paola, ever-cheerful, drives, Phil working in the front seat. Jono, the photographer, snaps photos of the byways. Sammy, Phil's 10-year-old son, occasionally leans forward to ask us for help on iPad word games. It's a family road trip, with a purpose.

In Edwards, we talk to Gerry, who's soft-spoken and articulate. We sit on a fountain outside an ice cream shop just off the highway, discussing Eagle's marijuana tax that funds mental health resources, and what an Attorney General can do to ensure that the revenue goes to the right places. Ice cream melts in the early-evening heat, and a group of curious people stop to share their first political memory, ask questions, tell stories, and have a conversation about what an Attorney General can do for Eagle county. I suddenly grasp what it means for Phil to come here and listen to these stories.

The next day, our morning in Garfield starts at the Bluebird Cafe. Matt greets us with coffee and the kind of easy-going laugh that only comes from living in the mountains. We get to talking about the Opioid crisis in this area. "When somebody has any other kind of disease we don't throw them in jail," he points out. "We throw them in a hospital."

These days, people think politics is all lies and spite, all campaigns and mysterious donations that come from somewhere else. At the coffee shop in Garfield county, it's about the people who show up, tell stories, and listen. We can see the midterms - and elections in general - as a fight. But elections also offer people a chance to talk about the things that go unnoticed in the day-to-day of news cycles and Twitter exchanges. And stops like this give Phil an opportunity to listen and learn from people around the state. On this day, in Garfield county, I witnessed real empathy in politics.

Down the road in Carbondale, we don't see the fires, but we can smell them, a faint haze of smoke clinging to the county like a sinister reminder of a threat barely kept at bay. Mount Sopris, nearly 13,000 feet into the sky, looms over us. Here, we talk about immigration, and there's fear in every story; fear of the end of DACA, fear of a government in D.C., and fear of being separated from one's families. Maria, an immigrant worker, tells me "we are looking for the right person who can fight for our rights...we are here to work and to do something good for our children, and we only want an opportunity to show them that we are looking for a safer place to live."

If you are a U.S. employer and you want to hire a worker from overseas, then as part of the process, you must complete Form i-140. Form I-140, the Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers, is a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) form. Typically, U.S. employers should complete this form when they wish to petition for a foreign employee to work in the United States on a permanent basis.

That evening, driving out of the mountains and back to the front-range, I can see the Sawtooth of Mount Evans silhouetted against the deepening blue of twilight. Last time I drove this road, it was to scale that mountain; this time, it's for an equally big climb, but one that finds us with more than a view at the end.

On the trip, we learned about opioids and immigration, taxes and the power of empathy in politics–and the importance of a good team. The line that runs through my head all night on the way back to Denver is from The West Wing: "Decisions are made by those who show up." Thank you to the people who showed up for us in the Roaring Fork Valley.

450 Days on the Campaign Trail!

August 4th—Today marks 450 days on the campaign trail, and our momentum continues to build thanks to your incredible support! Even President Obama is now a part of Team Phil. Our latest milestones give you a peak into the action. As you can see, we have been on the road in July talking with voters about their hopes and concerns, and how Phil can help as Attorney General. Stayed tuned to hear more about these stories from the people of Colorado.

We only have 94 days left until election day. Please help us keep spreading the word about how Phil will defend, fight for, and protect all Coloradans. Thanks for sharing this journey with us. Go Team Phil!

We Need Our Attorney General to Stand Up For Women’s Reproductive Rights and Health Care

As your next Attorney General, I will defend women's reproductive rights and autonomy because quality health care and reproductive choice are fundamental to women's lives and equality for all. It shouldn't matter how much you earn. It shouldn't matter where you live. Everyone deserves to have access to the highest quality health care. Places like IEHP provide people with policies, such as Medi-Cal, ( that aims to help adults and children who have limited income and resources to use the relevant health care services for their needs. Everyone should have this opportunity. Health care should be a basic right. We are now facing an attack on Roe v. Wade–and my opponent wants to lead the charge. We cannot let that happen.

As our next Attorney General, I will join other State Attorneys General in the fight to preserve Roe v. Wade. Colorado had the opportunity to join a number of states who successfully urged the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down a Texas law that dramatically cut back on women's access to abortion services, but our Attorney General refused to join that fight. Before the Supreme Court struck down the law, half of the clinics in Texas had to close–and access to safe services was cut dramatically–because of the state's attacks on women's reproductive health.

Colorado deserves an Attorney General committed to fighting for women's reproductive health. We were the first state that passed women's suffrage and an early leader in legalized abortion care. We need an Attorney General who represents our consistently pro-choice values and our commitment to equal treatment of women.

If women are forced to carry unintended pregnancies to term because of a lack of access to birth control and abortion services, they are in an inherently unequal position to men. As part of my broad commitment to equal justice under law, I will defend Roe v. Wade, protect a woman's right to choose, and ensure access to birth control.

As Attorney General, I will work tirelessly to make sure that women have accurate information about their reproductive choices. To protect women's free and informed choices, California passed a law requiring that women receive accurate information about all of the reproductive health care services available to them. California's law, "The Reproductive FACT Act," required entities that hold themselves out as clinics serving pregnant women to provide them with information about the availability of free or low-cost family planning services, prenatal care, access to abortion, and to inform them of any licensed health care providers on site.

In a blow to women's health, a 5-4 Supreme Court ruling put that law on hold this past June, ruling that the First Amendment likely forbids states from requiring that those that hold themselves out as health care facilities share truthful information with pregnant women considering their options. Unlike my opponent, I will fight to make sure that women have accurate information about all of their reproductive choices.

As Attorney General, I will challenge the efforts by some Republican leaders at both the state and federal level to roll back basic health coverage for women. The Trump Administration, for example, is now seeking to roll back the Affordable Care Act's requirement that employers include contraceptive coverage in the basic health insurance plans that they provide their workers. This effort, if successful, would permit employers' religious beliefs to restrict women's access to contraceptive coverage in violation of the Constitution. My opponent will follow our current Attorney General's lead and remain on the sideline in this case, refusing to defend the rights of women in Colorado from these discriminatory policies. As our next Attorney General, I will fight for women's health care.

I will defend women's right to reproductive choice and quality health care from threats from the federal government and also from any assaults here in Colorado. For example, I will vigorously defend Colorado's funding that supports all women's health providers' work to provide women with comprehensive medical services like breast and cervical cancer screenings. Fortunately, the Colorado Supreme Court recently rejected one attack on our freedoms in Norton v. Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood. In that case, the challengers claimed that Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood, Governor Hickenlooper, and other state officials had violated the unjust and discriminatory state law that prohibits the state from spending public funds on abortions – even though the state's funding supported Planned Parenthood's work to provide women with important medical services unrelated to abortion. The challenge was brought by former Colorado state official Jane Norton, who is now a Trump Administration official working to repeal the Affordable Care Act. I will stand up to any such challenges or attacks on women's health providers.

Finally, I will defend women's reproductive rights from any efforts to erode them in the state legislature. It's shocking that a law was proposed last session that would have required Colorado's Attorney General to create a targeted registration system that singled out clinics that provide abortions for more burdensome regulation, forcing them to file annual detailed reports about the services they provide, to identify the doctors providing the services, and to be inspected regularly. This law would have impacted women in Colorado by subjecting their providers to onerous regulation. Colorado needs an Attorney General who is committed to protecting a woman's right to choose and who will stand up to efforts to undermine that right.

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Colorado has a long history of protecting the rights of women. Today, with Roe v. Wade at risk, we must elect an Attorney General who shares that commitment. The decision to have an abortion is a personal one that pregnant people should have the choice to make. The autonomy, dignity, and equality of all people depends on protecting the right to control our bodies and reproduction. I am the only candidate in this race committed to defending Roeand protecting women's health care choices. Please join us to elect me as Colorado's next Attorney General.

An Attorney General for ALL of Colorado

Over the years, we in Colorado have learned to work together to solve problems. Our spirit of cooperation–that exists alongside our fierce independence–has forged our way of life. Coloradans have shown time and again how we value hard work over easy fixes, solutions over excuses, and principle over politics. Today, working together means that we are committed to an inclusive, diverse, and welcoming Colorado.

Having travelled all 64 counties, I am very aware that the economic success we experience along the Front Range has not reached all Coloradans. The opioid epidemic, for example, is destroying communities and threatening families. And a historic drought is threatening farmers. Other communities see a lack of economic opportunity for their families because traditional industries have died out and, for many working families, wages that have failed to keep pace with the rising cost of living.

I am running for Attorney General to represent ALL Coloradans. That is why I am focused on bringing high-speed broadband internet service to all communities, fighting for affordable health insurance, leading on water management, addressing the opioid epidemic, working for economic opportunities, and advocating for high-quality, accessible education for the people of this state.

With broadband Internet technology, parents can gain access to health care, better educational opportunities for their kids, and the promise of economic opportunity to build a better life. But many communities–from Craig to Silverton to Sterling–have been left behind. Now, more than ever, we need leaders committed to working together with and on behalf of all Coloradans to fight for them. If we fail to deliver on that promise, we are going to see people across our state–from Crowley County to Moffat County–leaving the homes where their ancestors lived for generations.

As Attorney General, I will fight back against the federal government’s assault on rural Coloradans’ rights to get health care they can afford, including allowing discrimination against those with pre-existing conditions. I will fight to keep Coloradans safe and healthy, to protect our land, air and water, and work for the day when all Coloradans can enjoy equal opportunities, regardless of what they look like, where they come from, or how they worship.

Coloradans are entrepreneurial and our economic progress reflects our ability to create new technologies, build new businesses, and solve important challenge. To help support entrepreneurs across our state, I founded Startup Colorado to provide a network of mentors and support for innovators and entrepreneurs statewide. And to address market concentration, which has made it difficult for some small business owners to innovate, compete, and invest, I worked at the Department of Justice under President Obama to improve our merger review standards.

As your Attorney General, I will also work to improve our system of criminal justice. To do that, I will work with local sheriffs and police departments, judges, and district attorneys in every corner of our state to punish perpetrators of violent crimes, such as sexual assault, sex trafficking, and domestic violence, and also to investigate white collar crimes, which too often go unpunished. I’m honored to have the support of district attorneys, sheriffs, and lawmakers from Craig to Grand Junction to Durango to Pueblo, and I pledge to work together with those who work every day to keep all Coloradans safe.

Our innovative spirit in Colorado led us to take a national leadership role on being smart about criminal justice by legalizing marijuana and ending the use of jail and prison sentences for those using the drug. There is more we can do on the criminal justice reform front, including developing new approaches to sentencing for other non-violent drug users (like those hooked on opioids). Justice should never depend on where you live, the color of your skin, and whether or not you can afford a lawyer. As your Attorney General, I will advance the principles of justice, freedom, equality, and fairness for all. This means addressing long-standing problems such as bias and practices that undermine our commitment to equality, as well as newer problems like the opioid crisis, which is straining communities throughout Colorado and demands alternatives to incarceration.

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I’m committed to doing everything I can as your Attorney General to preserve our way of life for people in the Four Corners and the Western Slope just as I will for the people of the Eastern Plains and Front Range. I’m the only candidate who has made a trip to every one of Colorado’s 64 counties and I will travel around Colorado this summer to learn from citizens and leaders across our great state.

As Colorado’s next AG, I will continue such travels and work hard to keep our communities safe, fight for health care, stand up for economic opportunity for everyone, and protect our land, air, and water. This commitment is how I started my campaign–take a look at this post reflecting on my initial launch–and how I will continue to campaign and lead. Please join us and help support me on this important journey.

We Need our Next AG to Protect Colorado’s Water

Water is the lifeblood of our state.  Our agricultural economy, tourism industry, and quality of life in this beautiful state depend on it.  Because of climate change and the projected growth that will take place in Colorado over the decades ahead, we need innovative leadership to protect, conserve, and manage our water.  I will bring innovation to the office of Attorney General, and that includes leadership on water as a top priority.

The State of Water in Colorado

In 2018, we are, once again, experiencing drought-like conditions.  For Colorado, the natural form of water storage is our snowpack, which serves as a reservoir, holding water until it melts in the spring.  This year, our snowpack level is far below average, with some areas of the state hovering around only 50% of normal.  These areas are unlikely to return to the norm, which is a painful consequence of climate change.  And the projected growth of Colorado’s population—which could see a 50% increase by 2050 from 2015 levels—means that we cannot be complacent in how we manage our water.

As a headwater state, Colorado’s water flows to eighteen states and Mexico and is subject to nine different formal agreements.  The Colorado River Compact is particularly important among these agreements.  Our Attorney General needs to understand this agreement and other compacts in order to protect Colorado’s interests.  Over the years, collaboration, negotiation, and litigation over our water rights has taken place regularly—nearly 120 years of litigation in the case of the Arkansas River—and our Attorney General needs to ensure that Colorado defends its position effectively.

This necessity is dramatically demonstrated by the current controversy in the Colorado River Basin with the Central Arizona Project’s refusal to join a collaborative effort to create a more sustainable river system.  Together with the other three Upper Basin states (Utah, Wyoming, and New Mexico), Colorado’s Attorney General must stand up to protect our allocation of Colorado River water and to ensure that our state is not held liable for non-compliance with any relevant agreement.  At the same time, we must work hard to maintain mutually beneficial relationships with the other states to enable us to manage our water supplies during an extended drought.

The guidelines governing Colorado River management will expire in 2025, which means that the states and federal government will begin discussions on this issue no later than 2020.  We must use this opportunity to avoid the potential of the continued draining of Lake Powell and Lake Mead on account of shortsighted water management decisions.  To guide these discussions to a fair and appropriate conclusion, Colorado needs to lead, setting an innovative and collaborative spirit that prevents a possible death spiral in how we manage our water.  As our next Attorney General, I will do just that.

Colorado’s Water Plan

The good news is that Colorado’s Water Plan provides a valuable framework for managing our water.  An overall theme of the Plan is that all of Colorado must work together to ensure that we manage and use our water effectively.   As the Plan states:

Because our water challenges are great and demand our united focus. Because other governments watch Colorado’s water positions closely. Because discordant infighting weakens Colorado’s position in interstate and international arenas, invites unnecessary federal intervention in our water affairs, and dulls our responsiveness. It’s undeniable: our water challenges necessitate that we pull together as one, innovate, and become more agile.

As the Plan provides, we must “recognize that water rights are property rights whose owners are free to respond to the economics of the marketplace and to continue to work within our local control structure.”  Within the framework of the Plan, Colorado’s Attorney General needs to protect water rights, ensure the continued vitality of agricultural communities, protect outdoor recreational economies that rely on our rivers, and allow reasonable transfer arrangements.  Our Attorney General must realize that alternative water transfer arrangements present an opportunity, a risk, and a challenge.

Alternative water transfer agreements offer both risk and opportunity.  If managed effectively and reasonably, they allow for a win-win proposition—enabling those with water rights that can be utilized more efficiently to sell access to them.  If they are not overseen appropriately, the risk is that such arrangements can result in a “buy and dry” scenario. Communities, like Crowley County, can be destroyed and local food production can be imperiled if water rights are sold off wholesale.  The challenge is thus to allow for reasonable transfers, encourage innovation, and protect local agricultural economies.

For a good example of an innovative approach to water management, consider the case of the Lower Arkansas Valley Super Ditch Company.  That company maintains ownership of the water rights for farmers, allows for certain leasing arrangements, and maintains agricultural communities.  Under such a model, leases are enabled by reducing some consumption (for instance, by switching to different crops or by using split season irrigation) and creating leasable water while maintaining substantial levels of agricultural productivity and economic activity.

Colorado is well-positioned to continue its international leadership position in the adoption of advanced water technology.  With the benefit of access to broadband Internet technology, for example, farmers can collect and act on real-time water use data, consuming less water as a result and engaging in better crop management.  Colorado can continue to be a pioneer in developing and adopting such practices, which will become increasingly important as our nation adapts to the challenges of climate change.

The Opportunity for Innovation in Water Law and Policy

The trend lines, as noted above, are clear—we cannot simply stay our current course and weather the challenges of growth and climate change.  Thankfully, with the guidance of the Water Plan and the ingenuity of Coloradans, we are poised to manage our emerging challenges in water law and policy through innovation.  This innovation includes action along three frontiers:  (1) conservation, (2) re-use, and (3) storage.  The challenges ahead demand that we make progress on all three fronts.

Under the Water Plan, the Colorado Water Conservation Board plays a central role in overseeing Colorado’s water policy.  The Attorney General sits on this Board as an ex officio member.  By all accounts, our current Attorney General is missing in action and not a leader in this field.  As Colorado’s next Attorney General, I will engage proactively on the Board and work collaboratively with its members to meet the challenges ahead.  I will also engage with the Basin Roundtables, which provide a crucial form of local governance and feedback on the development of an effective water policy here in Colorado.

Finally, I will work with the lawyers I will oversee in the office of Attorney General to encourage more innovative thinking about how to move water law and policy forward to address emerging challenges.  In particular, our water law framework must encourage new technologies in water use and conservation that enable our water to go farther.  Only through innovation can we protect vital industries, notably, agriculture and tourism, that depend on our water.

Water Conservation

Under the Water Plan, Colorado has announced a goal of conserving 400,000 acre-feet of municipal and industrial water by 2050.  This goal will require a range of initiatives, including “xeriscaping,” building water-saving actions into land use planning, using water-free urinals, developing and communicating social norms for water use, and other techniques for conserving water.  The Water Plan also wisely calls for better integration of water conservation into land use and development decisions, so that new development incorporates water-saving techniques consistent with local government goals. As Attorney General, I would work with the Water Conservation Board and the Department of Local Affairs to encourage these measures, including developing competitions for developing and implementing such techniques.

Water Re-use

In the 1980s, Denver Water pioneered “direct potable reuse,” or DPR, through research and development efforts.  This technique is only starting to be used, and the Colorado Legislature, led by Representative Jeni Arndt, passed three bills last session to allow reclaimed water to be used for toilet flushing, to be used for industrial hemp, and even to allow reclaimed water to be used for edible crops.  To be sure, when water is reused, there are water quality concerns, which are addressed by Regulation 84, which requires effective testing and oversight.  Going forward, we need to pursue such avenues as a means of using our water more intelligently.

Water Storage

Given the increased demand for water and the decline of the natural storage and flows our state has relied on for generations (that is, the declining snowpack and runoff caused by climate change), the need for strategic new storage projects is self-evident.  We need to be smart about new storage and carefully consider increasing the capacity of existing reservoirs, developing aquifer storage and recharge, and creating new off-stream storage opportunities.  As Attorney General, I will support such efforts, including evaluating ways to make the permitting process more efficient, such as allowing multiple permits to be pursued at the same time (rather than in sequence).  In short, the future of water will necessarily include strategic storage opportunities that are supported by affected constituencies.  Colorado is poised to be a leader in this area.

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The future of water in Colorado calls for innovation, collaboration, and creative problem solving.  This is the very spirit I will bring to the Colorado Attorney General’s office.  Colorado faces a simple math challenge—our population is increasing and natural storage and flows of water are decreasing on account of climate change.  We can meet this challenge, but only with the innovative and collaborative leadership that Colorado is known for.