Jobs and the Economy
With the expected population of Thornton planned to nearly double within the next 10 years and the national economy beginning to show signs of a possible slowdown, now is the time to ensure that we are taking full advantage of market conditions by overhauling our current infrastructure to meet the high demands of our residents. These capital improvement projects will not only bring high paying jobs to the city for the short term but for the foreseeable future.
With jobs slowly starting to disappear due to technological advancements and automation, now is the time to start getting back to the roots of what this country was founded upon, entrepreneurship. While the city is continuing to bring in larger employers such as Amazon and Google, we need to start shifting focus over to small business development. As your Mayor, I will:
- Bring a renewed and focused effort to capital improvement projects while not spreading resources too thin which cause unnecessary delays
- Work with the North Metro Denver Small Business Development Center to begin active engagement within the community about small business opportunities
- Work to bring more blue-collar jobs to the city
- Continue ongoing recruitment efforts to lure large employers to the city with a specific focus in southern Thornton
The three largest expenses of the average household are: healthcare, student loan repayment and housing.
As the city continues to grow and expand, housing needs become more and more prevalent. Unfortunately due to market demand, developers are able to build and sell homes at astronomical prices. Most, if not all, of the newer housing developments are available only to a select population. This is because a vast majority of the population is being priced out of the market. An even more select group that can afford this housing is often left "house poor". The same is true for multi-unit housing. To bring the pricing of housing back down, we need to attract affordable housing developers. As your Mayor, I will:
- Demand any housing developers allocate at least 20% of their expected portfolio to affordable housing
- Demand any multi-unit housing developers allocate at least 20% of their expected portfolio to affordable housing units
- Explore the feasibility of city owned affordable housing units
- Explore inclusionary housing ordinances
- Explore an "Affordable Housing Credit"
Energy and Water Policy
The hot button topic of this election cycle will undoubtedly be around Energy Policy. I do not support Oil & Gas developments in our city. Oil & Gas has too much overreach allowed by the state and it is easy to see why. During the 2018 General Election, Proposition 112, the Minimum Distance Initiative, was on the ballot for voters to consider. Former Governor Hickenlooper was set to call a special session had the measure passed. The Initiative failed to pass. The margin of victory was small, 44% voted yes compared to 55% voting no, considering the opposition raised $31.87 million* and proponents raised $1.67 million*. *Please see the reference date here.
However the recent passage of SB 181 "ensures that oil and gas development and operations in Colorado are regulated in a manner that protects public health, safety, welfare, the environment and wildlife resources.".
I bring this up because this is a very real concern of the community. While there is no long term solution to the impending energy crisis, I believe that solar is the short term answer. Solar is scalable enough to displace most energy needs from Oil & Gas. As part of my Energy Policy, I will make sure the city is committed to powering all municipal operations with 100% renewable energy and with a 100% city wide transition shortly thereafter.
While not as talked about, if at all, but just as foreboding, the state of Colorado has recently experienced a severe drought in most of the state. With the heavy snow that we experienced this previous winter followed by the unusually wet spring, we need to bring more awareness to this issue and we should be prepared to enact voluntary water restrictions to secure this precious resource. As your Mayor, I will:
- Not support Oil & Gas developments in our city
- Commit the city and community to 100% renewable energy
- Explore solar requirements for commercial developments
- Explore tax credits/rebates to encourage home owners to get solar
- Bring awareness to wasteful water practices
- Bring awareness to voluntary water restrictions
- Explore tax credits & rebates for water saving
As mentioned before, the three largest expenses of the average household are: healthcare, student loan repayment and housing.
While the times are rapidly changing, unfortunately education policy is stuck in the past. The prevailing theme today is "go college, get a degree and you will be able to land a good, secure job." Unfortunately a 4 year college degree is no longer the differentiator that it once was and job security is a thing of the past. This often leads to chronic underemployment, and even worse, student loan debt that often takes years to repay.
Instead, focus in education needs to shift towards technical and vocational education and 2 year college degrees. These programs lead to higher paying employment opportunities, often at a fraction of the cost and are completed in a fraction of the time it would take to complete a 4 year degree (studies show that the average 4 year degree is now taking about 6 years to complete). This reform needs to start at the secondary education levels and include life skills for those that don't pursue higher education. As your Mayor, I will:
- Advocate for education reform starting with life skills education in all high schools
- Advocate for technical and vocational education and 2 year college degrees
- Advocate for getting rid of 4 year degrees as part of job requirements
- Advocate for apprenticeships by bringing more trade unions to the city