Jillian Freeland is the Democratic candidate for Colorado's 5th Congressional District seat.
What would be your first legislative priority?
My first legislative priority will be to write legislation that protects
families and helps as we recover from the impact of the COVID pandemic. Our economy has been devastated, but we can create measures that will both lift people out of the current recession and also protect us from future
situations such as this. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, and
thousands of businesses have closed as a result of the necessity of shutting
down so that we could reduce the spread of this illness. However, that left
families vulnerable to kids going to bed hungry at night, to people losing
their homes and worst of all, their lives. We, as of this recording, are
nearing 180,000 lives lost to this disease. That is devastating. These are
our grandparents, these are our sisters and brothers, and friends, and we
have to take it seriously and take actions to really reduce the transmission
of this disease while accounting for the economic impact of shutdowns. The
assistance provided by the CARES Act was a good short-term solution, but
many of the funds and programs have now actually run out. Since we're not
out of the woods yet with this virus, Congress is going to need to take a
longer-term view of how to address the permanent job losses that have
occurred as a result of the necessary shutdowns for the sake of public
health. We can look to history for a solution because continued deficit
spending for cash payments is not a sustainable long-term solution. We need a federal program that creates good-paying jobs that give people the
resources they need to thrive, not just survive. An infrastructure package
to address our crumbling roads and bridges, to invest in the domestic
production of clean energy, and to improve our shared spaces will create
millions of jobs right here at home, which then puts money back into our
economy and helps us recover from the COVID recession. We can get through this by working together and by focusing on building the infrastructure and programs our country needs as we navigate these uncertain times. Send me, Jillian Freeland, to Washington, D.C. to put families and people at the front of the line for the support we need to get through this.
How do you plan to represent an increasingly diverse voter base in your district?
Abraham Lincoln said that government of the people, for the people, and by the people shall not perish from this earth. He recognized that our government is strengthened through diversity and that we have to work every day to include the life experiences of the voters in our district as we design and implement new policies. This can only be accomplished if everyday Americans have access to their Representatives and can hold them accountable. I’m committed to serving ALL of the people in this district, and I will make sure I understand the needs of the community by standing in front of my constituents at least ten times every year in an open forum. This is the best way to hear about the struggles, the expectations, and the hopes of Coloradans, and it's their opportunity to hold me accountable. Politicians make a lot of promises, and we should be called to task if we don’t follow through.
Why hasn’t every legislator committed to this level of access? Because they’re very busy fundraising to win and keep their seats! Our campaign finance system as it stands forces candidates to spend the majority of their time calling donors, not talking to their constituents. Campaigns cost millions of dollars, and that level of fundraising means spending hours on the phone and at private events to hear exclusively from people who have the money to buy some of their time. Politicians are out of reach for the people who most need the support of their representatives. On top of that, many legislators actually raise the bulk of their funds from non-people, meaning corporations and PACs, and those interest groups then have a much larger influence on legislators than people. The big money interests come first, putting contacting constituents way at the bottom of the to-do list. Perhaps this is why Congressman Lamborn is not willing to come talk to the people in the district- a town hall doesn’t raise funds to keep him elected. It’s sad that the last time the residents of Colorado’s Fifth District could speak to their Representative was in April of 2017- not even in this term! Reforming our campaign finance system is the only way that voters will have an actual impact on the work done in Washington D.C. and across the nation.
Voting for me, Jillian Freeland, is a vote to reform our campaign finance system to put the power back where it belongs- with the people!
What is your top priority, and what is your plan to address it?
Before I decided to run to represent Colorado's Fifth District in the US House I was a private practice midwife and had the honor of helping hundreds of families as they grew and welcomed new children into their lives. Through the course of that work though, I became really frustrated with our system. I spent as much or more time fighting insurance companies as I did talking to my patients, and that's not a system that is serving people. It made me determined to get to where those decisions are being made and sit at that table and make sure that we make decisions that put patients first, and give providers the tools they need to empower people to take charge of their own health. I will vote for any legislation that expands coverage and reduces prices, with the end goal being complete healthcare coverage for our nation.
There are many different ideas out there about what a good system does. For me, a good system covers every person, regardless of employment, regardless of pre-existing conditions. We all need healthcare; it is a matter of life and death. We also need access to every necessary service. Even our Medicare programs currently leave out many critical services, and I want them all covered for everyone. That means primary care, but it also means expanding our mental healthcare treatment systems; it means full reproductive services; it means dental care, and audiology, and vision; it means disability services and home healthcare; and it means drug addiction treatment. Additionally, we must bring down the cost of prescription drugs and protect the US Postal Service, who is vital in delivering life-saving medications to many Americans. We have to recreate our system so that we meet the needs of every person- not just people who can afford to pay- and it's especially clear in the midst of this pandemic that we cannot have our healthcare tied to our employment anymore. It leaves people vulnerable and a system that truly serves does not leave anyone out.
My opponent, Congressman Lamborn, has voted against the protections provided in the Affordable Care Act dozens of times. He is not a healthcare provider and therefore is not driven in the same way that I am to empower patients and to make sure that they have access to every service they need. Voting for me, Jillian Freeland, sends a healthcare provider to D.C. to write policies that protect people.