CEO Update: Get Out and Vote!
It’s fall and that means kids are back to school. I remember my senior year in high school I had to take a Government class, which turned out to be interesting despite my reservations. What I learned by the end of the semester was just how important it is to make sure your voice is heard and that you participate in the process. I have voted ever since in presidential elections, but only recognized the importance of voting in midterm election several years later.
Midterm elections are often overlooked, typically buried in the news and voted on by a small number of political die-hards. But no matter which side of the political spectrum folks are on these days, there is no denying the change in our political climate since the 2016 election. There is also no denying the stark divide between opportunities and outcomes in rural Colorado. We all have issues that are important to us, and one of the most important ways to give a voice to those issues is to show up and vote.
Unfortunately, voter participation in the United States is some of the lowest in the world. The New York Times reports that for every 10 Americans, only six turn out to vote. In the 2016 presidential election, 55.7% of eligible voters participated in the election, putting the US twenty-five spots lower on the list than the county with the highest participation, Belgium, at almost 90%. Considering that some of the most critical races are won by the smallest margins, these numbers are especially significant.
The 2018 midterm election will impact rural Coloradans with changes on the federal, state and local levels. Colorado will be electing a new Governor this November, with John Hickenlooper reaching his final term-limit leading our state. Democrat and former Congressman Jared Polis is running against Republican and former State Treasurer, Walker Stapleton. Both have made healthcare a top priority for their campaigns, though their plans for improving healthcare in the state show stark differences and the CRHC Policy and Advocacy team has been involved with both campaigns as they work to shape their platforms. All seven congressional districts are up for reelection, with four of those districts including rural or frontier counties. The Colorado General Assembly is currently controlled by Democrats in the House and Republicans in the Senate by a single seat, meaning a single race could shift power of an entire body. Colorado voters will also be hit with thirteen ballot measures, ranging from transportation funding to the legal definition of hemp.
Check out our ballot initiative guide for more information on each of the measures. Want to make your voice even louder? Join our Policy and Legislative Committee (PLC)! The PLC meets bi-weekly via phone during session (January-May). Participating in the PLC is a great way to stay up-to-date on state health policy and make sure the issues you care most about are heard at the state Capitol! Click here to sign up!