Vail Daily column: We really are better together

When I was campaigning for state Senate last fall, I chose “Better Together” as my campaign slogan. Now, I know it’s a little cheesy, but halfway through the legislative session, I’ve felt validated in my belief that Colorado works best when we all work together. Whether it’s been passing my bill with no opposition to make it easier for kids to get a jumpstart on college, to tackling how we can make renewable energies work for our schools and communities, these are ideas that have the support of Republicans and Democrats working together towards a common goal.

Unfortunately, I’ve also seen the real effects of partisanship in our state Capitol. I’ve seen good legislation get killed simply due to the party affiliation of the bill’s sponsor, and I’ve seen bad legislation pass due to — you guessed it — the party affiliation of the bill’s sponsor. For example, the Senate majority passed legislation on a party line vote that guts the Public Employees’ Retirement Association by reducing contributions into the fund, risking the sustainability of thousands of Coloradans retirements and 401(k)s.

Similarly, they also passed, on a party line vote, a bill that makes our roads less safe by eliminating funding for DMVs to provide drivers licenses for undocumented residents or international students in our state; this program is supported by many law enforcement groups because they know it gives them the tools they need to educate drivers and make our roads safer.

Legislation like the above examples doesn’t represent our values and holds our state at the whim of partisan maneuvering — not what we know from facts and evidence works. That’s why I’m proud to be moving a bill with state Sen. Leroy Garcia that would provide tax credits to those who are helping to grow our agritourism industry, which helps small businesses get a fair shot at being a part of an economy that works for them. I’ve also worked on expanding cottage foods so that people who work hard have a better shot at success. These bills have broad bipartisan support. I’ve also been inspired and privileged to be a part of the bipartisan work done to make conservation a real component of the water plan. These are just a few pieces of legislation that cater to no political interest besides what works best for Coloradans and their families.

It is an honor to work in the Capitol on behalf of the people of Senate District 5. In our region, we know that the Colorado way isn’t one determined by the partisanship that has Washington, D.C., grinding to a halt. With half of the legislative session behind us and just over two months to go, I’m more convinced than ever that we truly are better together.

Kerry Donovan, of Vail, represents District 5, which includes Eagle County, in the Colorado Senate.

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