Phil and Steve in GJ

Broadband Internet: Protecting the Future of Colorado’s Rural Communities

For Colorado to thrive in the 21st century, we want to grow our own Einsteins of the future. Today, only 77% of those living in rural areas (11% of Colorado's population) have high-speed-or broadband-Internet connections. Being stuck in the internet slow lane costs these Coloradans job opportunities, hurts businesses, and deprives our communities of education and health care.

As I've travelled our state, I've heard from leaders and citizens in communities like Sterling, Craig, and Telluride. One message has come through clearly during these conversations: slow internet service undermines local job opportunities and it hurts families. Whilst some people can find alternatives, and ask questions like "Can you game on satellite internet?", there is no doubt that the lack of proper connection in these areas is a detriment. No candidate is better prepared to address this issue than I am. I fought to improve the internet for rural and poor communities as a Senior Advisor for Technology and Innovation at the National Economic Council for President. As Colorado's next Attorney General, I will work with communities around our state to address this important issue. If you're looking for internet in a rural area of the United States, you may want to check out eatel for super fast broadband.

The Electricity of the Twenty-First Century

Students who lack access to broadband at home are at an extreme disadvantage, forced to do homework someplace else, sometimes even being forced to sit in the cold outside of a closed library. The reason broadband is called the electricity of the twenty-first century is that access to high-speed Internet connections is crucial to everyday life in today's information age. As the Denver Post put it, "the lack of high-speed connections can hamper how efficiently and effectively schools, hospitals, and technology-driven businesses operate. Reliable broadband can mean the difference between residents staying or leaving."

Across Colorado, communities (such as Rio Blanco County) are taking matters into their own hands by developing broadband networks where the market does not attract private providers. I visited Rio Blanco and studied its network--it is a great example of public sector leadership. Similarly, a number of localities are looking at public-private partnerships, such as those proposed by Centurylink.

Bringing fast internet to the entire state is the sort of effort that can unite and benefit all Coloradans, regardless of party. Fast internet across the country is not only beneficial for individual Americans but also for businesses that can make good use of fast fiber access, as seen here - https://www.megapath.com/data/fiber-access/. Failing to bring every Coloradan into the information age will widen the gap between our urban and rural areas and will prevent families and small business owners in many parts of our state from having an opportunity to succeed (as captured well here). Supporting rural broadband also benefits urban communities because better rural connectivity translates into economic activity for urban businesses that can sell to new markets (as explained in this report). While satellite internet broadband can help for some uses, it is not sufficient for many uses (such as schools and hospitals) and thus cannot replace the need for wired connections.

The Attorney General's Office Can Facilitate Broadband Deployment

When I worked in the Obama administration we developed a bipartisan movement to spur broadband deployment across the United States. I want to bring that valuable experience to Colorado. As our next Attorney General, I will ensure that the office acts as a problem solver and enforcer to support broadband deployment for rural communities.

As our next Attorney General, I will work the State's broadband coordinator and other officials to help develop a playbook for helping communities around our State. When I visited Routt County and learned about the broadband network it is building, I asked County Commissioners whether the AG's office was helping them. The answer was no. At present, the AG's office is only checking legal boxes (and slowly at that) rather than being creative and helping solve problems. We can and must do more.

By bringing together community and business leaders to create plans for deploying broadband, the AG's office can provide a playbook of best practices, rather than placing bureaucratic obstacles in the way. It can also remove legal, administrative, and other barriers to broadband deployment. As our State's Attorney General, I will provide support for broadband mapping, procurement, distance learning, tele-medicine, and community engagement initiatives. When we encounter barriers such as a lack of access to rights-of-way for Wireless Internet Service Providers (and others), I will be firm but fair in my efforts to remove them.

There are many things I'd start addressing on day one. Take the red tape blocking communities that want to solve their own problems: Colorado law (SB 152) requires voters to approve action by governments to build broadband networks. This law slows down communities who want to help themselves after they've been ignored by the private sector. The vote requirement is a waste of everyone's time and energy given the fact that voters consistently approve such projects. The vote requirement portion of the law should be repealed. At the same time, the AG's Office should protect full and fair competition, ensuring that governmental entities don't use their authority to gain an unfair advantage in the marketplace.

Another change we need to make is to enable access to existing electrical easements. Indiana recently dealt with this very issue in passing the "Facilitating Internet Broadband Rural Expansion (FIBRE) Act." This law makes it more economically viable for broadband to be extended to rural areas by limiting the liability of broadband providers to owners of overhead lines, which are crucial for connectivity to rural areas. We need to pass such a law here in Colorado.

Colorado's state budget is always tight, but we can do better in supporting broadband with the resources we have. Colorado has developed a state "universal service fund" that is similar to a federal fund designed to support broadband deployment in rural areas. As Attorney General, I will work with the Legislature, the Public Utilities Commission, and the Federal Communications Commission to ensure that we use this money as creatively and efficiently as the law allows, including exploring possibilities like bonding against universal service funds. In addition, the AG's Office can and should ensure that companies that get public support dollars actually use those taxpayer dollars to get broadband services to rural Coloradans. Finally, the AG's office should help ensure access to federal programs, especially those subsidizing connections to schools and libraries, so that Colorado institutions and citizens are able to take full advantage of all available opportunities to make progress in this area.

Protecting Broadband Quality for All Consumers

As Colorado's Attorney General, I will fight to ensure that Coloradoans get the quality access to the Internet services that they are paying for, including speed, reliability, and access to content. For an example of such oversight, consider the New York Attorney General's action against Time Warner when it failed to provide consumers with the broadband access service they paid for. The attorney general sued Time Warner executives for, among other things, lying to customers about the speed of its internet service. I will fight against such unacceptable conduct if it takes place here in Colorado.

Finally, as Attorney General, I will champion "network neutrality," the principle that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) must treat content passing through the Internet equally, without favoring or blocking any of that content. As the Internet drives more and more of our lives, including our civic engagement, employment, commerce, and entertainment, we must protect competition in this space. Indeed, the very term "network neutrality" was coined at a conference that I hosted. Over the years, I have advocated for this principle, including during my work in the Obama Administration, and I will continue to do so as Colorado's Attorney General, leading the charge against the Federal Communication Commission's decision to end these important protections.

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Coloradans are pioneers. We value our independence and our self-sufficiency. We ask for a fair shot to make it on our own. For all Coloradans to thrive in the twenty-first century, access to high-speed Internet connections is as critical as electricity was many years ago. This issue impacts all of us-families, farmers, businesses, police, firefighters, educators, and hospitals. As your next Attorney General, I will fight for broadband for all Coloradans as a top priority.

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Read Phil's op-ed in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.

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David St. John Larkin, IP Attorney


Phil Weiser in Pueblo

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 Coloradoan 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. More and more, 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.

Today's crisis has many causes, and calls for innovative and compassionate responses. For starters, the pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors who encouraged the use of opioids-even though they knew the risks they posed-must be held accountable. In too many cases, an oversupply of these drugs found their way into the market-sold illegally by drug dealers and pill mills. An initial response, which is important, but inadequate, is to hold these drug dealers accountable for their unlawful behavior. Also, 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 a reduction in the number of opioid-related deaths by 6.5 percent since 2015. So the fact that more people are buying and smoking weed from businesses like Cheap Bud Canada could actually be decreasing the number of opioid users resulting in deaths. The legalisation of products such as full spectrum CBD oil and many others could also be linked to this decrease in deaths, and yet people argue that the availability of these drugs should be unlawful once more.

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. Additionally, the ability for the people of Colorado to have access to medical marijuana, from https://getkush.ca/product-category/cannabis/ or from other facilities in the state, is something we should continue to grow upon.

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. This may include the use of cannabinoid products and derivatives, such as live resin products, or it may take a more therapeutic approach. And we also need to work to decrease the likelihood that people become dependent on opioids in the first place.

Holding Pharmaceutical Companies Responsible

Over the last 20 years, the increased access to opioids was very 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. As Attorney General, I will take action to hold these companies accountable. By winning such cases, 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

For those engaging in illegal drug trafficking, we must hold them accountable. From 2011-15, the amount of heroin seized annually in Colorado rose over 2,000% and 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 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.

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. Similarly, 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.

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, 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.

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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.

Garrison Ortiz, Pueblo County Commissioner

G_Ortiz_Pueblo

"When I met Phil Weiser, I was impressed by his sincere interest in understanding the issues facing Pueblo and how he could work with us on important issues. His commitment to addressing the opioid crisis is a powerful reason why we need him as our next Attorney General. Phil's commitment to working together to solve this issue and other ones facing our community is unique and comes from the heart. That's why I am supporting him to be our next Attorney General."

Pueblo Chieftain, Colorado faces crisis in opioid epidemic, Op-Ed by Phil Weiser


Women's March 2018

The Important Role of Our AG in Fighting for Equal Rights for Women - Women's March 2018

Our nation’s vision of equal opportunities for all is a core part of my life’s work. To translate that vision into reality, our country needs dedicated leadership committed to equality for all Americans. For me, a role model for such leadership is Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whose work as a lawyer and as a Supreme Court Justice make her a leader in the battle against discrimination and for equality. Working with her when she wrote the opinion requiring the Virginia Military Institute to admit women remains a highlight of my life.

As Colorado’s next Attorney General, I will prioritize the battle for women’s rights and equality for all through the following measures:

  • The Colorado Attorney General’s office will work hard to ensure that women are treated equally in the workplace,
  • The AG’s office will be a leader in supporting women in the workplace.
  • The AG’s office will work with the legal and business community to drive best practices around diversity and inclusion.

To work with me on this core goal, I will create a new executive leadership position on Community Engagement, Workplace Culture, and Diversity: the AG Office Leader on Culture. This position, which will report directly to me, will oversee efforts to ensure diversity and inclusiveness in the office and lead our community in driving behavior toward best practices by using the power of the AG’s office to convene leaders in our legal and business communities. In short, the Attorney General’s office will not only effectively enforce the laws protecting women in the workplace; it will also lead by example and through the use of its moral authority. While the measures discussed in this post focus on the imperative of protecting women in the workplace, many of them also will address diversity and inclusiveness concerns related to race and ethnicity as well. A subsequent post will focus more directly on these issues.

Fighting for Equal Treatment in the Workplace

Lilly Ledbetter, who was a manager at Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, discovered years into her job that she was paid considerably less than men in the same position. She brought a lawsuit to challenge this discrimination. The Supreme Court ultimately ruled against her claim, saying that she failed to bring the action—which she had no way to know about—until after the 180-day filing requirement. In a passionate dissent, Justice Ginsburg sharply criticized the majority’s ruling and urged Congress to fix the problem.

The Lilly Ledbetter story underscores the continuing challenge of equality for women. When women enter a profession historically dominated by men, equal treatment doesn’t immediately follow. Here’s how Ginsburg later described Lilly Ledbetter’s situation: “It’s the story of almost every working woman of her generation, which is close to mine. She is in a job that has been done by men until she comes along. She gets the job, and she’s encountering all kinds of flak. But she doesn’t want to rock the boat.”

Although Lilly Ledbetter’s case didn’t end well for her, Justice Ginsburg’s dissent was heard by Congress and President Obama. The first law President Obama signed was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. Unfortunately, even the guarantee of equal pay for women cannot be realized unless—like in Ledbetter’s case—women have access to the necessary data regarding salaries in their workplaces.

Equal pay for equal work is still not yet the norm in our country. According to one recent study, for example, the median annual pay for women working full-time year-round is $40,742, compared to $51,212 for men working full-time year-round. As Justice Ginsburg explained in her dissent in the Ledbetter case, if women cannot learn that their male colleagues with similar experience are getting paid more for the same work, they cannot claim their right to equal pay. Fortunately, in 2008, Colorado became the fourth state in the country (it’s now one of 13 states) to enact a law protecting workers who share pay information from discrimination and retaliation. But many employers and employees still don’t know about these protections. As Attorney General, I will vigorously enforce this law and the rights of workers to learn about potential pay disparities.

Gender Equity and Inclusiveness in the Legal Profession

When I interviewed Justice Ginsburg at the University of Colorado Law School, I asked her about the number of women on the Supreme Court. In answering my question, she remarked that the right number of women on the Supreme Court is nine. For a long time, she explained, all nine seats were occupied by men, so why not have nine female Justices? Thanks to President Obama, there are now three women on the Supreme Court. But there still is a ways to go before we achieve RBG’s vision for the Court.

When I graduated law school in 1994, there were an equal number of women in my class as men. My assumption was that, with the benefit of equal numbers of men and women graduating law school, we would soon overcome the historically underrepresented role of women in leadership positions, including on the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, 23 years later, women are still significantly underrepresented in the leadership ranks of nearly every sector of the legal profession: law firm partnerships, general counsel, judgeships, law school deans, etc.

During my time at the University of Colorado Law School, I prioritized diversity and inclusion, working with leaders in our community on a number of initiatives. I partnered with, for example, the Colorado Women’s Bar Association on programs that supported women in the profession and my efforts to support and mentor our Latino students earned recognition from the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association. As Attorney General, I will follow in the tradition of past Democratic Attorneys General, JD MacFarlane and Ken Salazar, by making diversity and inclusion a hallmark of my tenure.

The Attorney General’s office should and can be a proactive leader in supporting women in the workplace. Moreover, our Attorney General should be a leader in our community, encouraging law firms, in-house law departments, and companies to drive toward best practices. My newly created executive-level appointee, the AG’s Office Leader on Culture, will work with me to serve as a leader on community engagement, workplace culture, and diversity.

The AG’s Office Leader on Culture

The AG’s Office Leader on Culture will spearhead a range of activities in the office and in the community to promote diversity and inclusion:

  • First, the AG’s Office Leader on Culture will conduct bias training, identify situations where individuals are not able to participate effectively, and host bias workshops to encourage equal and fair treatment. For any workplace and particularly the AG’s office, it is important to support everyone and enable them to contribute effectively and to advance without barriers (including implicit biases).
  • Second, we need to create flexible and alternative structures that allow individuals to work effectively while taking care of children or elderly parents. At the University of Colorado Law School, I allowed for flexibility in the workplace so that professionals could thrive at home and at work; I will do the same at the AG’s office, working with the AG’s Office Leader on Culture to ensure that we have appropriate policies for all professionals to perform their work effectively.
  • During my time as Dean, I appreciated the need to mentor all of our faculty, staff, and students because I recognized that many individuals do not get the coaching, mentorship, sponsorship, and access to information they need when they are not a part of traditional networks. To ensure that the Attorney General’s office evaluates and supports individuals based on talent, the AG’s Office Leader on Culture will create and implement coaching, mentorship, and leadership development programs and ensure that they are afforded to everyone in the office.
  • Finally, I will work with the AG’s Office Leader on Culture to make clear that sexual and gender harassment will not be tolerated. Whether the harassment is a “come on” or a “put down,” it is unacceptable. Such insults have the effect of undermining women. If allowed to fester, gender-based comments can lead to lower productivity, higher job stress, lower psychological well-being, and increased turnover. To eradicate sexual and gender harassment, we will regularly survey and interview individuals working at the Attorney General’s office to assess their experiences and root out mistreatment of women.

Womens-March-2018

Fighting for Equality Is a Team Effort

As Colorado’s next Attorney General, I will work with our community to make Colorado a model of fighting for diversity and inclusion. This means that we must address pay inequities and work to provide women with equal opportunities to advance and succeed. For the Attorney General’s office, and the legal and business communities, a more respectful and inclusive work environment is long overdue and will lead to a more productive and effective workplace. But it will not happen without dedicated leadership and a vigilant focus on achieving this important goal.

Under my leadership and the AG’s Office Leader on Culture, the Attorney General’s Office will not only enforce the laws requiring equal treatment of women in the workplace, we will lead the community by example. Moreover, the Attorney General has tremendous power to convene and to lead through the moral authority of the office. This means that successful programs developed at the Attorney General’s office—or elsewhere in our State—need to be celebrated and disseminated to other workplaces. As our next Attorney General, I will engage with employers across our state to develop and spread best practices in the treatment of employees and I will champion diversity and inclusion efforts.


250 Days

It's already been 250 days

I entered the race for Attorney General 250 days ago, and we’re approaching the halfway mark to the general election. We continue to build support and momentum each and every day across Colorado.  And today is also a milestone because it’s the first day we can collect petition signatures to ensure we are on the ballot. We have events across Colorado where you can sign a petition. I’d love your help!

Whether in a room of 200 people or talking one-on-one to a supporter at a local coffee shop, your support is powerful, and I can’t thank you enough for being on my team.

Our grassroots supporters, energize me and help drive me to work hard on this journey. Yes, the 748 iced teas are also giving me caffeine and fuel, but our supporters are the real secret sauce for this campaign. The more connected we are, the better chance our campaign has at winning.

I hope you’ll take a minute to like our Facebook page and share our content with your friends so that they too can stay connected with our campaign through content like this graphic with our updated stats (hey, no lost luggage this time!).

250 Days


Phil Weiser at MLK Jr. Marade

The Fight for Equal Justice for All

As the state’s top law enforcement officer, the Colorado Attorney General is sworn to uphold the United States and Colorado Constitutions. As your next Attorney General, it will be my job to advance the principles of justice, freedom, equality, and fairness for all. I take this commitment very seriously.

Our nation’s vision of equal opportunities for all is a core part of my life’s work. To translate that vision into reality, our country needs dedicated leadership committed to equality for all Americans. Across the nation, State Attorneys General have stood up for equal rights when our freedoms are under assault.  As your next Attorney General, I will defend the rights of Coloradans and stand up for civil rights against federal overreach.

When one of us is subject to illegal discrimination, we are all at risk. This commitment is why we must challenge the Trump Administration’s travel ban as well as its ban on transgender individuals serving in the military -- both of which violate our nation’s commitment to equal justice under law.  In both cases, our current Colorado Attorney General failed to challenge the Trump Administration’s actions.

As our next Attorney General, I will prioritize the battle for equal rights for all—regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or religion. In particular, I will:

  • STAND UP against failures at the national level to provide equal justice for all.
  • CONFRONT hate crimes.
  • FIGHT to ensure that all individuals are treated equally in the workplace.
  • LEAD by example in supporting people of all races, ethnicities, identities, and religions in the workplace; and
  • PARTNER with the legal and business community to drive best practices around diversity and inclusion.
Fighting for Equality in the Workplace

Under my leadership, the Colorado Attorney General’s office will work to ensure that everyone is treated equally in the workplace. We will enforce the laws requiring equal opportunity for all in the workplace, and we will lead the community by example.

To work with me on the core goal of advancing equality, I will create a new executive leadership position on Community Engagement, Workplace Culture, and Diversity:  the AG Office Leader on Inclusive Excellence.  This position, which will report directly to me, will oversee efforts to ensure diversity and inclusiveness in our office. The AG Office Leader on Inclusive Excellence will also use the power and visibility of the AG’s office to convene leaders in our legal and business communities, thus helping to lead our community in identifying and implementing best practices for equal opportunity, diversity, and inclusiveness in all workplaces.  Moreover, I will not only work hard to recruit, hire, and promote diverse individuals at the Attorney Generals’ office, I will work to address the pipeline problem (of too few diverse attorneys) by partnering with organizations like Si Se Puede (Yes We Can)—an organization I worked with while Dean at CU Law School—to mentor college students from diverse backgrounds to encourage and support them in attending law school.

In short, the Attorney General’s office will effectively enforce the laws protecting all individuals in the workplace. I will also make sure that it leads by example and through the use of its moral authority.

Standing Up Against Hate

We in Colorado value the ethos of our nation’s motto:  E Pluribus Unum (out of many, one). In Colorado, we pull for one another to thrive and believe we all deserve a fair chance to succeed in life.  In one of our proudest moments, Colorado Governor Ralph Carr opposed the internment of Japanese-American citizens during World War II.

But unfortunately, hate crimes remain all too prevalent in the United States in general, and in Colorado in particular. In the last year, reported hate crimes in Colorado targeted African-Americans, transgender individuals, and Muslims, among others.  These hate crimes took place at homes, on the job, and at places of worship.

We must all call out evil when it emerges. To prevent and address hate crimes, we need leaders who are willing to take an active role. When leaders step forward and act swiftly in the wake of a hate crime, victims feel supported, community members feel safer, and action and dialogue can follow.  By contrast, leaders’ silence on these issues leaves victims feeling ignored and vulnerable, and may further encourage perpetrators.

To win the battle for equality, we must fight white supremacy and other forces for hate in our society.  As our next Attorney General, I will do just that.

I will fight to prevent hate crimes by working with the Colorado legislature to strengthen our hate crimes laws, by working with law enforcement to ensure and improve training on effective hate crimes investigations, and by supporting a broader public education campaign about the importance of standing up to hate.

As Attorney General, I will work with the state legislature to ensure that we have hate crime legislation allowing the Attorney General to pursue a broad spectrum of civil remedies, as is available in other states. Such legislation helps victims receive faster relief, as well as relief in cases where they are unable to secure private counsel themselves. Enabling the Attorney General to seek civil remedies also helps bring increased public attention and understanding to hate crimes issues through the state’s involvement.

My office will also work closely with law enforcement to ensure they have proper training to enable them to investigate possible hate crimes effectively, thoroughly, and with sensitivity towards victims.  The Attorney General’s office houses the Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) program that trains Colorado law enforcement officials. This program can play an important role in helping law enforcement officers to ask the right questions and to be sensitive to the issues facing hate crime victims.  Under my leadership, it will also play an important role in training law enforcement officials to be aware of their own biases (particularly unconscious ones) and not unnecessarily escalate situations.

Fighting for Equal Justice for All

As Colorado’s top lawyer, I will fight hard for equal justice under law (meaning everyone is treated equally and fairly) and against governmental abuses of power.  Our nation’s commitment to equal protection for all, while adopted in our Fourteenth Amendment in 1868, remains a work in progress. As Martin Luther King Jr. famously noted: “The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”  As our next Attorney General, I will work hard to ensure equal treatment in the workplace, address hate crimes, and stand up for equality.  Please join my campaign to ensure that I can help lead this effort.

Words from a Few Team Phil Members on His Commitment to Equal Opportunity
Maxine Burkett, former University of Colorado Law Professor mentored by Phil

"When Phil helped recruit me to Colorado Law and served as a mentor, he made the law school and law teaching a more welcoming opportunity.  That spirit of engagement and support is something Phil has offered me--and many others--throughout my career.  At this challenging time for our nation, we need leaders like Phil, who truly cares about treating people fairly, supporting everyone, and finding innovative solutions to important issues.  Colorado will be well served by having Phil as its next Attorney General."

Franz Hardy, former Chair of the Law Alumni Board and Partner at Gordon & Rees

"Colorado needs Phil Weiser as its next Attorney General. When Phil was the Dean at Colorado Law School, I worked with him to set up our first ever alumni diversity committee, focused on recruiting more diverse students, helping those students find employment opportunities, and recruiting more diverse faculty.  Phil took that work personally, going to bat for our diverse students and earning recognition from the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association, among other groups.  What comes through in Phil's work is that he truly cared about every student and worked tirelessly to ensure that they had a good experience.  I know that he will be similarly effective as our next Attorney General."

Glen “G” Matthews, former law student and attorney at Martinez Law Group
Lisa Neal Graves, Denver attorney, former law student, business executive, and Team Phil’s original Field Director
Read Phil's Op-Ed in the Denver Weekly News

January 11, 2018, 2017 #922 (Page 08)


What Does the Attorney General Do?

Lessons From Coach Phil: An Introduction

Whenever I began teaching a new class at the University of Colorado Law School, I told my students, “Please call me Phil or Professor Weiser, whatever you’re more comfortable with.”  And I would always add, “If you’re not comfortable with either, please call me Coach.”  Over the years, a significant number of students have taken me up on the third option, calling me “Coach Phil.”

As I take on this campaign to be Colorado’s next Attorney General, one of the core challenges I face is that most Coloradans don’t know that they have an Attorney General or they don’t know what the office does.  For me, this challenge is an opportunity to teach.

So I’ve created a series of videos and blog posts to explain my plan to represent all Coloradans and lead the Attorney General’s office as a force for progress in our state.  The first video in this series is my Introduction to the Teaching Series.  The second one is What Does the AG’s Office Do?  Please watch them both and forward them to anyone you know who would like to learn more about our Attorney General’s office.

Read below for more information about the set of posts and videos to come (as well as some of those we’ve already shared).

Watch the Video Below:

A New Kind of Leadership

One reason so many Americans are cynical about government is that some public officials play political stunts or allow their offices to run on autopilot.  Under our current Attorney General, we see both problems in full view.

In the political stunt category, the lawsuit that our current Attorney General (AG) brought against Boulder County on its moratorium on oil and gas drilling is a case in point.  The fact that this lawsuit was brought without first reaching out to Boulder County to explore possible solutions underscores that there was very little interest on the part of our AG in solving a problem.  Rather, the goal of this case was to make a political punching bag out of Boulder County.  Indeed, as Boulder County did address the issue (announcing its oil and gas development ordinance shortly after the case was filed), the case was quickly dismissed and widely criticized as a ploy, leading to a bipartisan rebuke.  But for localities, the damage from this case was done.  Our AG had established that she would rather play political games than collaborate to ensure the legal and safe management of oil and gas development.

The challenge of inertia presents a very different threat than political stunts.  In the case of inertia, an agency continues to address an issue the way it has previously, never asking if there is a better way. The results of inertia can be devastating.  Consider the Obama Administration’s terrible rollout of the healthcare.gov website, for example.  In the case of our AG’s office, consider a recent embarrassing loss where the judge sanctioned the office and called the lack of evidence behind the case “breathtaking and amateurish.”  These mistakes happen because people stop asking basic questions like “Is this the right way to solve this problem?” or “Is this case focused on a problem that needs to be solved?”

As our next Attorney General, I will bring principled and innovative leadership to the office.  This means that the office will always focus on problem solving and asking how we can make progress on a range of issues.  As I explain in my video on What Does the AG’s Office Do?, the AG’s Office has a range of tools at its disposal.  For me, it’s important that we keep them all in mind and take an innovative approach to problem solving by finding the best way to address issues—and not simply relying on the way they have been handled in the past.  I discuss the importance of an innovative mindset in this blog post and this video.

The Core Priorities of the Office

Since announcing my candidacy, I have emphasized that our Attorney General needs to defend our freedoms, fight for opportunity for all Coloradans, and protect our land, air, and water.   In the series of videos and posts to follow, I will offer more elaboration on these core commitments and how our Attorney General should advance these important goals.

Defending Our Freedoms and Fighting for Equality

I’m proud of our constitutional democracy, and I’m running for Attorney General because our country’s commitment to freedom is being tested.  Our Founders envisioned a world where Congress would be responsible for overseeing the executive branch.  Today, however, only one branch of government is functioning effectively—our independent federal courts.  As I explain in my New Separation of Powers’ blog post, State AGs across the country have stepped up to fight for our freedoms and to defend equality, providing a valuable check on executive branch overreaches, such as the decision to ban transgender individuals from serving in the military.  Our AG in Colorado has not stepped up, however, remaining complicit with actions that undermine equality, freedoms, and our democracy.

My vision for the Attorney General’s office is to serve as a force for protecting our freedoms and our democracy.  This is something I talk a lot about on the campaign trail.  As a first-generation American, I grew up with a love of this country.  And I am inspired by Ben Franklin’s observation and caution that he told Americans after the Constitution was drafted:  “you have a Republic, as long as you can keep it.”

I served as a law clerk for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg when several historic Supreme Court cases about equality were decided, including the landmark Romer v. Evans case that protected the rights of gays and lesbians and US v. Virginia, which called for the admission of women into the Virginia Military Institute.  But continued progress toward equal justice for all cannot be taken for granted.  We as citizens cannot be complacent about these issues; we must be engaged, work with responsible leaders, and have moral courage to make progress.  As Attorney General, I will fight for equality for all and I will challenge discrimination in all its forms. Fighting for progress on the issues of race and ethnicity, sexual orientation and identity, and gender is part of my life’s work, and I will continue that work as your Attorney General.

Fighting for Opportunity for All

For many Coloradans, the deck feels stacked against them.  Whether they are suffering from predatory debt or a dependence on opioids, people who have been taken advantage of by irresponsible businesses need our Attorney General to defend them.  I will be that Attorney General.  But I also intend to do more:  I will work to support economic opportunity for all Coloradans, starting by ensuring that all Coloradans have broadband Internet access and can participate in the 21st century economy and protecting network neutrality.

Protecting Our Land, Air and Water

For our next generation, protecting our land, air, and water is a moral imperative.  If we don’t make progress on building a clean energy economy, we won’t address the challenge of climate change.  Our current Attorney General has joined former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt in undermining protections for our land, air, and water.  We deserve better from our Attorney General.

Join My Team

Like any good teacher, I truly want your questions.  Please send them to me at phil@philforcolorado.com, so I can answer them and we can work together for the future of our state.  And please send my posts and videos to others so they can learn about me and my campaign.  Similarly, when I post testimonials from former students about my commitment to supporting others, please share them so others can get to know what type of person I am and what type of Attorney General I will be.

For us to elect the Attorney General we deserve, we need to educate all Coloradans about what our Attorney General’s office does and why I’m the best person for the job.   Thanks so much for your help on my journey to serve our state and be “Coach Phil” for all Coloradans.


200 Days

We’ve been at this over 200 days

We kicked off this campaign over 200 days ago. Since day one, I’ve worked hard to earn your support.

Some of you were with us before we kicked off and many more have joined me on this journey more recently. As we are still in the early innings of this game, now is a great time to thank you for everything you’ve done and everything you will do to help us win in November.

I know you are waiting for this, so we won’t disappoint you. Here’s a fun graphic showing how our first 200 days is depicted in iced teas, podcast interviews, and other fun facts (don't forget to check us out on Facebook and share this email and other information about the campaign with your friends):

200 Days
200 Days

I really appreciate your continued support. Here’s to the next milestone and however many iced teas I’ll drink between now and day 300.


Phil Weiser and JD MacFarlane

Guest Commentary: Why Phil Weiser Is The Right Choice for Our Next AG

By JD MacFarlane

In 1974, I was elected as Colorado’s Attorney General. I was part of a group of leaders around our nation dedicated to reform and renewal in the wake of the Watergate crisis. Today, we face a similar challenge. To meet this challenge, we need to elect Phil Weiser as our next Attorney General.

In 2018, we need an Attorney General who will bring energy, innovation, and vision to this important office. Phil Weiser will be that Attorney General. I first met Phil when he was the Dean of the University of Colorado Law School. At a time when law school applications fell by 40%, CU Law’s applications rose by 10%. At a time when student debt was rising, the average indebtedness of CU Law students fell by $16,000. Phil was a tireless champion for CU Law students, making their employment a top priority and landing CU Law in the top twenty nationwide for employment placement with over 96% employment rate nine months after graduation. Phil made diversity and inclusiveness a top priority, earning recognition from the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association and partnering with key organizations like the Center for Legal Inclusiveness and the Colorado Women’s Bar Association.

Our Attorney General’s office is the largest law firm in Colorado. For today, our challenge is to find a leader who can lead the office and deliver better results for the people of Colorado. The office is not serving Coloradans effectively; instead, it has prioritized political cases (like suing, rather than collaborating with, Boulder County when it was working on an oil and gas ordinance). It has refused to work with our Governor, forcing him to hire private counsel to represent Colorado. Phil will bring a collaborative, professional, and innovative approach to the office, as he did as an official in the Obama Administration, and in building the highly successful Silicon Flatirons Center on Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship at CU.

Phil is committed to engaging and serving the entire State as our next Attorney General. As CU Law Dean, Phil created a loan repayment program, supporting graduates who went to work in underserved areas and gave special scholarships to encourage students to work outside Denver/Boulder during the summers. At the Silicon Flatirons Center that he founded and runs at CU, he leads Startup Colorado, which has supported the development of startup communities in Denver, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, and Boulder and is now focused on supporting startup communities throughout the State. Phil’s campaign to be our next Attorney General is taking him throughout the State, with a focus on issues that matter to southern, western, and eastern Colorado, including bringing broadband Internet access to our entire State, combatting the opioid crisis, encouraging competition and lower rates in health insurance, and protecting water rights.

I know from personal experience that having the right person as Attorney General matters greatly to our State. I am excited, along with our other elected Democratic Attorney General Ken Salazar, to support Phil’s campaign. His focus on defending our freedoms, fighting for opportunity for all Coloradans, and protecting our land, air, and water is what we need from our next Attorney General during this challenging time. Please join me in supporting his campaign.


Video: What Baseball Teaches About America

The values of the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers World Series exhibited the same qualities that Phil Weiser, candidate for Colorado Attorney General, wants to bring to the Colorado Attorney General office: hard work, dedication, a refusal to give up, and real ingenuity. Congratulations to the Houston Astros and looking forward to celebrating the Colorado Rockies' first World Series victory next year.

Watch the Video Below:


Phil Weiser for Attorney General

Guest Commentary: Phil Weiser is the Right Choice to Make the Attorney General’s Office An Engine For Progress

By Jeni James Arndt, Chris Hansen, and Tracy Kraft Tharp

In 2018, Coloradans have the opportunity to hire a new lawyer to represent us and work as a partner with the State Legislature.  For us, this is straightforward decision:  Phil Weiser is the right person for the job.

Phil’s approach to problem solving and can do attitude promises to provide our State Legislature with a partner and leader who can work with us on a range of issues—from criminal justice reform to addressing the opioid crisis to building a 21st century energy system to water management to bringing broadband to all Coloradans.  One quality that makes Phil special is that he appreciates that bringing lawsuits is only one tool that the Attorney General’s office can use to make life better for all Coloradans.  In this video, Phil explains this important point.

For the State Legislature, the Attorney General can either be an engaged partner, or a hindrance to progress.  Consider, for example, the case of criminal justice reform.  Currently, Colorado has over 20,000 people in prison and is now stretching to find additional capacity.  In some local jails, moreover, there is considerable overcrowding because we are putting opioid users in jail and lack treatment options.  For us to develop a smarter criminal justice system, we need leaders across our State—including those of us in the Legislature, District Attorneys, County Sheriffs, public defenders, social workers, and others—to work together to evaluate when we should be imprisoning people who are a risk to society and when we can use alternatives to incarceration.  Phil is just the type of leader who can help us forge this path. As the Dean of CU Law School, for example, he worked successfully with the State Legislature to develop a program to send recent law school graduates to rural communities to work as assistant district attorneys.

On a range of other issues, from those he knows well (like broadband) to those he is working hard to learn more about (water management), we know that Phil will bring innovative and energetic leadership to the office to get things done.  That’s why leaders like Bernie Buescher, Alice Madden, Ken Salazar, and Tim Wirth are behind him in this race.  We are proud to join them in supporting Phil and transforming our Attorney General’s office into an engine for progress.