Monday, May 3, 2010

the words of State Senator MARY HODGE

There are 8 working days left before sine die (that means we are done!) And we're still considering some pretty big items: I was in committee until almost midnight one day last week listening to how we might regulate medical marijuana. We had contentious debate on teacher effectiveness and on payday lending. We still have bills on higher education flexibility, habitability of rental housing, Pinnacol Assurance, juvenile sentencing, and others that bring out philosophical differences.

On a personal note, my Aunt Verda (age 90) came in from Seattle to attend the 100th birthday celebration of a shirt-tail relative in Louisville. While I was working Friday my husband took her on a tour of Brighton which included our beautiful new library. Aunt Verda was the head of the Seattle Public Library--trust me, it was nothing like our new hands-on, computer sprinkled facility.

As always, should you have questions, concerns or comments feel free to contact me.

Defending Democracy

We need to ensure our government really represents the people and is not simply bought by the highest bidder. It should be one person, one vote, not one dollar, one vote.

The recent Supreme Court decision, Citizens United v Federal Elections Commission, could change that. It allows corporations and unions to spend money to influence candidate elections. This previously prohibited practice has opened the floodgates to corporate and union spending on elections.

Allow me to put this in perspective: If Exxon Mobile spent a mere three percent of its profits for one year to politics, it would dwarf the combined amount that Barack Obama and John McCain spent on their presidential campaigns. That is only one company—imagine the influence all corporations and unions could exert if able to make unchecked and undisclosed expenditures on political campaigns.

That’s why Senator Carroll and House Majority Leader Weissmann introduced the Campaign Finance Transparency Act to defend democracy in our state and bring transparency to our elections.

Without this bill, corporations and unions will be able to spend unlimited dollars on ads without disclosing themselves as funders. Individuals cannot anonymously donate to campaigns, and we believe businesses shouldn’t be able to anonymously influence elections either. This bill will close disclosure loopholes for independent expenditures and ads that can now be funded by corporations and labor unions. It will also prohibit foreign corporations and labor unions from spending money to influence our campaigns, so that Colorado elections will be decided by United States citizens.

Renewable Jobs Renew the Economy

Colorado’s New Energy Economy continues to expand, giving Colorado an economic boost to recover from the recession. This has led to an increased demand for trained green energy workers. In response, Senators Schwartz and Newell sponsored the Green Jobs Colorado Training Program, a bill that provides funding for employers, economic development organizations, educators, and training facilities to develop renewable energy training programs. The program will focus on creating a qualified, knowledgeable workforce to fill the numerous highly-paid positions offered in solar, wind, and biomass plants.

Thanks to the legislature’s continued efforts to encourage renewable energy production, Colorado has seen 17,000 new green jobs created in the past three years.

“Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground.”
—Theodore Roosevelt

This quote guides my legislative philosophy. I keep my focus on making Colorado the best place in the country to live, and I stay grounded by keeping in mind the current state of the economy, our limited resources, and what we can practically accomplish.

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