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Building on our bipartisan democracy as we honor our founders

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July 8, 2024, 9:54 am

Happy Independence Day! As we celebrate America’s birthday, I am so grateful that our founders leaned on one another, trusted their fellow neighbors, and took a risk to create this great nation where we live today. As we remember their first step toward independence, I am humbled to have the opportunity to continue to carry on their mission toward a respectful, engaged, and bipartisan democracy.

Meghan Lukens

My AP Government students explored the following Year-Long Essential Question: As a student, how can you be politically and civically engaged? Each of us is needed for democracy to thrive; democracy is all of us, not any individual, and democracy prevails when we come together, talk, and hear one another.

Bipartisanship

Time and again, lawmakers have come together across the political aisle to serve the people of Colorado. Whether it be making Colorado more affordable for our families or protecting Colorado’s precious water, the interests of everyday people, not partisan politics, must prevail. In order to get results at the State Legislature, I am proud to work with community members and legislators alike from across the political spectrum.

We know that many Coloradans feel the squeeze from higher home values and property taxes. SB24-233, this session’s landmark property tax bill, was a bipartisan effort to advance a long-term, permanent solution to reducing property taxes for homeowners and small businesses. We also know that fifty-one percent of all Coloradans and fifty-three percent of rural Coloradans live in a licensed child care desert. Our families need a safe, affordable, and accessible option for childcare and this is a top priority for me as your state representative. To address this issue head on, I championed and led the way on bipartisan legislation that will help create more high-quality childcare facilities throughout Colorado to save families money.

By working across the aisle, I sponsored HB24-1431, the Stable Housing for Survivors of Abuse Program. This new law creates the Stable Housing for Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence Program to secure access to safe housing for survivors of abuse. As many Coloradans continue to face housing insecurity, we need to utilize every tool possible to ensure our neighbors, especially the most vulnerable, are safely housed.

I also sponsored two bipartisan bills to increase access to health care for our rural communities. SB24-221 bolsters Colorado’s rural health care workforce by driving funding toward rural hospitals. SB24-055 supports our agricultural workers and ranchers by increasing access to mental health services by creating an agricultural liaison role within the Behavioral Health Administration to ensure their needs are met, who will partner with local non-profits and leaders to address our rural mental health crisis.

Protecting our precious water is vital. SB24-197, Water Conservation Measures, is a forward-looking bipartisan law that protects Colorado’s water supply by implementing several recommendations made by the Colorado River Drought Task Force, including tactics to address the worsening drought conditions on

the Colorado River. One of the tools we have to conserve water in our home is reuse. This year, I sponsored HB24-1362, Measures to Incentivize Graywater Use, a bipartisan bill that supports local governments authorizing the use of graywater in new construction to promote water reuse.

Protecting our Democracy

One way to be politically and civically engaged is to vote. On Election Day, we have the right to go to the polls and make our voice heard. I know how important it is that our state protects this right from attacks on our democracy. Though this year’s election may be contentious, we have passed numerous laws that protect Coloradans’ right to vote and ensure the integrity of our elections. HB24-1150, for example, is a law that helps prevent “fake elector” schemes that seek to undermine the democratic process and Colorado’s gold standard election system.

With the 2024 election cycle quickly approaching, many Coloradans are researching to figure out who is the best candidate to represent them. It is important to ensure Coloradans can trust what they see online. We are doing our part to prevent undisclosed so called “deepfakes” of candidates for elective offices from remaining online. HB24-1147, Candidate Election Deepfake Disclosures, is a crucial step in regulating the recent usage of artificial intelligence and deepfake-generated content by requiring this type of media to be clearly labeled to stop the spread of misinformation. We also defeated misguided attempts to eliminate our popular vote-by-mail system and early voting, protecting the election system Coloradans overwhelmingly trust.

House District 26

Working together is the Western Slope Way. We can accomplish so much more when we listen and learn from one another. No one person has all of the answers, but together we can find common ground and solutions to sensitive and important topics. Thank you, to all the people of Eagle, Routt, Moffat, and Rio Blanco counties, for your continued political and civic engagement. It is essential, crucial, and critical to the success of our democracy.

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Meghan Lukens

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