What have you been up to in the months since the last session? I kept pretty busy. I served on the interim committee that explored our opioid epidemic and helped craft six bills to reduce …
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Cheri Jahn, Independent, Senate District 20
Brittany Pettersen, Democrat, House District 28
Andy Kerr, Democrat, Senate District 22
What have you been up to in the months since the last session?
I kept pretty busy. I served on the interim committee that explored our opioid epidemic and helped craft six bills to reduce overprescribing and increase access to treatment for substance use disorder. I held several town hall meetings, attended numerous neighborhood and business group meetings, and engaged with our city council and school board campaigns. I also set up dozens of meetings to get into some complicated issues that I’m hoping to address with legislation this year. People can check out my top priorities at www.kennedy4co.com/my-priorities.
What issues are on constituents’ minds?
Growth, health care, housing, open space, and transportation. Generally, I think people want us to fight to protect the Colorado way of life. To do so, we need to make sure people can afford health care, housing, and child care, and it means we need to protect the beautiful natural environment that makes Colorado such a special place to live.
What challenges do you see facing the Legislature this year?
There are so many, but I think that affordable housing and affordable health care are at the top of mind for me and many of my colleagues. Our bipartisan package of opioid bills will also be a significant focus.
Tell me about the legislation you have coming this year.
I’m working on a few big health care bills. One is a hospital cost transparency bill. If we’re really going to get a handle on the high cost of health care, we must demand more information from our hospitals so we can collaborate on solutions to reduce cost. Another is a reinsurance bill that would essentially broaden our insurance risk pools to stabilize the individual market and reduce the skyrocketing premiums. I’m also working on a bipartisan trio of bills to protect consumers from surprise bills when they visit one of the dozens of free-standing emergency departments that have sprung up.
What should people keep an eye on?
I expect we’ll also have robust debates about sexual harassment and the public employee retirement system, and we’ll continue last year’s conversation about funding some real improvements to our transportation infrastructure.
What do you most want citizens to know about your goals this session?
I want people to know that we work on a hundred things at a time, and that we work as a team. Though my focus is on health care and housing, I am also passionate about public education, renewable energy, and many other issues. I rely on my colleagues to take the lead on those issues and I work to support them, just as I take the lead on my focus areas and count on their support. At the end of the day, I think we’ll have a great number of bipartisan accomplishments that will create more opportunities for hard-working Coloradans to enjoy the Colorado way of life.
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