It’s that time again! Election time, or as some may refer to it, our biannual recurring nightmare. Or possibly, the best time of the year if you are a political junkie who follows all the poll sites and election trackers. In a year where sports have been diminished, perhaps this gives us some interesting contests to follow. I’m not sure FanDuel is accepting wagers yet, but maybe someday.
If you are a business owner or manager, you have skin in the game for this election. If you are an individual worker, you have cause to be interested. If you are a student, you should be paying attention. Elections affect everyone, whether you know it or not, and whether you want them to or not. The officials we elect this fall will have a say in how your life and work play out, not just for the next two or four years, but your whole future.
You do have an industry voice in the election! GreenCO is the political action committee representing the green industries of Colorado. It is an alliance of the seven trade associations, including CNGA and ALCC, representing all facets of the horticulture and landscape industries.
Members of the committee, both staff and industry representatives, spent two days in early September conducting Zoom interviews with 21 candidates in key races for the Colorado General Assembly. Based on these interviews, GreenCO endorsed candidates and will be donating to their campaigns.
Colorado faces an election that will give one party or another control of either the state House or Senate, or both. Over the past several election cycles, when one party controlled the Senate and the other the House, legislators compromised to produce more moderate legislative initiatives and create fewer new costs to both businesses and consumers. A bill has to be a pretty good bill to pass a divided legislature. GreenCO’s aim, and that of most business organizations, is a balanced legislature where one party controls the House and one the Senate. In such a legislature, bills have to have widespread bipartisan support to pass. The movement of just a few seats can change the balance of power in the Senate, and provide business and our employees a stable and successful environment for the next two years.
Without a doubt the state budget is the most pressing matter for candidates. In 2020, the General Assembly had to rapidly cut $3.3 billion from the state budget following the COVID-19 economic crisis. One candidate summed it up pretty well, calling it “triage on the budget.” It seems likely they will have to cut a similar amount this year. Almost every interviewed candidate had a list of programs they wish to protect, but couldn’t come up with a list of programs they felt could be cut.
GreenCO has for years supported candidates who understand the values and needs of business owners and who will work with GreenCO to find common-sense solutions. GreenCO has always sought to advocate on policy issues based on the science or the merits of any issue rather than party agendas. Our number-one challenge this election must be to support business candidates and flip the Senate for a balanced legislature.
I encourage you to check out the candidates in your district – you can learn much about their values and views on their websites. Think about what you want in your elected officials, and give them a call. With so many voters not answering calls from candidates, they are glad to hear from you. What do you want in a legislator? After talking to 21 of them, I have certainly developed some ideas. I want someone who has an open door, listens more than they talk, realizes they don’t and can’t know everything, and reaches out with questions about bills to constituents and industry, not to Google. I would like to elect someone curious about the issues in our state, and not solely focused on one topic area. I would like someone willing to change their mind if that is the right thing to do.
By our next issue, the election will be over (let’s HOPE it is over and we aren’t doing recounts!). GreenCO will start the task of educating our new legislators about the issues facing our green industries in Colorado. This is an important task, and an important part of CNGA. Please consider giving to the GreenCO PAC fund. As little as $50 can help us ensure our effort to impact policy decisions is both successful and educational. At this time, corporations and individuals may donate up to $625 per legislative session.
Please let me know that you are willing to support us in our work. Checks can be sent to GreenCO PC c/o CNGA, 959 S. Kipling Parkway, Ste. 200, Lakewood, CO 80226. Please submit your checks by October 12 to be used for this year’s election. Checks received following our 2020 contributions will be used for PAC contributions in the future.