Issues

It’s a top priority for women in Colorado to have access to affordable healthcare for their families. Women also value good pay for good teachers and the opportunity to have educational alternatives in their communities. A thriving economy leads to a strong job market, and affordable energy helps women balance the family budget. We are out advocating and educating on these issues across Colorado, and have provided a summary of our positions below.

Healthcare

The Affordable Care Act was supposed to make health insurance more accessible and affordable. Politicians who voted for the law said that Coloradans could keep their health policies. Instead, it caused 335,500 Coloradans and millions of other Americans to lose their individual healthcare insurance policies.

When the Affordable Care Act is fully enacted, thousands more will lose their employer-provided insurance. Many of those who lost their insurance policies now have to buy insurance policies with higher premiums and deductibles to comply with the law. Still others have lost access to their preferred hospitals and doctors. Some Americans have even lost work hours because of the law.

Colorado women deserve better. Colorado Women’s Alliance supports efforts to repeal this unpopular law and to enact real reform. Families deserve the same tax breaks on insurance as corporations, and Americans should be able to shop for plans across state lines for policies that meet their needs and budgets. Such a bill would lower health care costs by expanding individual choice, institute malpractice reforms and cut costly regulations.

Education

Colorado Women’s Alliance recognizes that when families have access to quality educational opportunities that meet the unique needs of each child, graduation rates and job opportunities increase. In Colorado, parents have choices among the state’s 1,500 plus traditional public schools and 200 public charter campuses.

Yet Colorado still has work to do in making sure that all students are getting the skills that they need. On the National Assessment of Educational Progress assessments, only 50 percent of Colorado’s 4th graders and 42 percent of eighth graders are proficient in math, and only 40 percent of 4th graders and 8th graders are proficient in reading. The Colorado Department of Education reports that only 77 percent of high school seniors graduate on time.

Some students are doing well while others are falling through the cracks. Colorado Women’s Alliance believes that families deserve the full spectrum of educational choice–public, private, and home school—so that they can engage in a learning environment that best meets their needs.

Economy

Almost everyone knows someone who is out of work and struggling, and twice as many women as men have had to resort to food stamps. While the government cannot create private sector jobs, it can impact the environment where businesses large and small flourish. A thriving economy is especially important for women seeking jobs to provide for themselves and their families. Colorado Women’s Alliance will continue to oppose an increase in regulations and taxes because unnecessary government interference hurts business growth and development leading to a negative impact women’s choices.

In addition to job opportunities, women deserve equitable pay. However, there is a lot of misinformation surrounding the “equal pay” conversation. Pay equity takes into consideration college major, occupation choices, and whether one takes time off to care for children. Life choices make a difference in salaries and lifetime earnings. Full time male employees also tend to work 8-10% more hours than full time female employees and are generally more aggressive in salary negotiations.

In the event of discriminatory situations, the Equal Pay Act provides remedies for women. Additional government action is unlikely to increase women’s pay, but could eliminate workplace flexibility. The choice to open a business in a vibrant economy, the choice to work part time while raising children, and the choice to pursue one’s dreams in a free country must be preserved.

Energy

Affordable energy is important to Colorado women. Heating the home through the winter and commuting to work are not optional budget items. When energy prices go up, there is less left over for everything else. Colorado

There are a number of energy sources under exploration or in the marketplace. Natural gas is increasingly replacing coal because it is cleaner burning. Hydraulic fracturing – or fracking – has made natural gas more accessible. Fracking does not contaminate groundwater, has little impact on wildlife and agricultural land and is regulated by state and federal laws to protect water and air quality. As for alternatives to fossil fuel sources, wind power provides energy only when there is sufficient wind, kills about half a million birds each year, and requires rare earth mining to build turbines. Hydroelectric power (dams) significantly alters the environment and solar power is expensive to produce.

Colorado Women’s Alliance supports an all-of-the-above approach to energy development, with accessibility and affordability at the top of the list when considering sources of energy.

While alternative energy sources should be explored, it is important that they be brought to market without the help of taxpayer subsidies. Colorado Women’s Alliance condemns efforts to demonize energy production with half-truths and empty promises.