Position Paper for John Kefelas

By:  John Kefalas
Location: Unknown

ECONOMY & JOBS-John believes that a sound and just Colorado economy works for all people; protects the environment; creates good-paying jobs; is sustainable for future generations; and revitalizes communities by supporting small businesses, community-based enterprise and socially responsible corporations.

We can achieve this vision by reforming Colorado's fiscal and tax policies, including TABOR, to strengthen our state budget and provide needed tax fairness and relief to working families and small businesses. Through the promotion of social enterprise, we would bring for-profit companies and non-profit organizations together to provide goods and services while advancing cooperation between communities. Natural capitalism would encourage renewable-energy industries and sustainable economic development. These activities would create jobs that pay living wages. For people working in the lower-paying service and retail sectors, there would be adequate family-friendly work supports and programs. As a more accurate measure of family well-being, we would replace the federal poverty levels with self-sufficiency standards.

HEALTH CARE-John believes that affordable, quality health care can be available to all Coloradans by moving towards a single-payer health care system that integrates cost-effective and humane practices from the private and public sectors.

We can achieve this vision by first focusing our attention on healthy living and prevention of diseases through support of regular physical fitness programs in the schools and establishing community-wide, comprehensive health education programs. We would especially target low-income groups and make healthy living activities accessible. On the health insurance front, we would improve and augment existing public health programs like Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+), Medicaid and mental health services to cover more uninsured low-income and working people. Through tax incentives and the creation of small-business insurance pools, we would help the 85% of uninsured Colorado adults who have steady jobs. We would develop a statewide prescription drug assistance program and build the necessary coalitions to finance and implement a Colorado single-payer health care system.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING & HOMELESSNESS-John believes that public-private partnerships are the key to providing safe, decent, affordable housing and for solving the crisis of homelessness in Colorado.

We can achieve this vision by increasing our public investment in affordable housing through the establishment of the Colorado Housing Trust Fund, which would provide a source of reliable funds to create needed housing opportunities. Such an investment would give our state an economic stimulus by generating significant business activity and tax revenue while creating jobs. Comprehensive land use plans would address regulatory barriers that impede affordable housing development, incorporate smart-growth principles that locate housing near transportation corridors and encourage cooperation and planning between cities, counties and the state. With homelessness, we would refocus our policies and programs on ending homelessness-not just managing it.

EDUCATION-John believes that ensuring quality, relevant and accessible education from early childhood through college is essential for Colorado's economic and social vitality, and critical for helping people to escape poverty and achieve social mobility.

We can achieve this vision by emphasizing the importance of learning that begins even before the child is born and supporting and expanding early childhood programs such as Nurse Visitation, Head Start and Colorado Pre-school. Because the work they do is so vital, we would develop and implement ideas to pay pre-school teachers and childcare workers a living wage. We would continuously improve Poudre School District and our K-12 public education system and provide parents with school choices within this system. We would do a better job of supporting teachers and school staff and make it easier for families to be involved in their children's education. We would make sure that all students are able to attend our fine institutions of higher learning and not be priced out of a college education. We would find ways to stabilize tuition costs and increase scholarships and financial aid. We would expand partnerships between local industries and our colleges to customize training programs and better meet our labor market needs.

ENVIRONMENT-John believes that it is common sense to preserve and improve our natural, agricultural and ranching heritages and resources through public policies and relationships that result in good stewardship of the land, water and air.

We can achieve this vision by always considering the wisdom of our collective actions and how these actions will affect our children and the ecology "seven generations" from now. Locally and regionally, we would grow and develop smartly and within our means through balanced approaches. We would address our state's water realities through serious conservation strategies and cost-effective water storage and efficiency projects. We would address our state's transportation realities by repairing and adding to our road infrastructure and developing cost-effective mass transit systems, as well as promoting the use of fuel-efficient and hybrid cars. We would help bring about the I-25 Corridor passenger rail system within 10 years. We would support creative design concepts for residential and commercial development such as new urbanism and ensure that master land use plans are comprehensive and enforceable. We would protect the Poudre River and our open spaces.

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