Lindsey Daugherty
Learn more at lindseyforcolorado.com

Lindsey Daugherty
Candidate for Senate District 19

 

What is the most tragic or disturbing story you have heard or experienced about trying to get or pay for healthcare? How have you tried to help yourself or the person who was hurt?

As the Chair of the Health and Human Services Committee for the past two years, I have heard a lot of horror stories about people trying to pay for healthcare. This includes stories of people losing their homes due to high medical bills, people “rationing” medicine, uninsured people going into hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt, preventable deaths, and many more unspeakable tragedies. However, to me, some of the most tragic stories are when people don’t even seek medical attention because they are either uninsured or cannot afford to seek medical care. This is unacceptable.

Hospitals, insurance companies, and big pharma all play a hand in the exorbitant price gouging occurring in Colorado’s healthcare system. That is why I have worked hard at the State House to pass bills to make quality healthcare more affordable and transparent. I was proud to sponsor and successfully pass SB23-252 which requires hospitals to make public a list of all standard charges for items and services, enhances price transparency, and monitors compliance. I also successfully sponsored and passed HB23-1201 which makes it an unfair business practice for Pharmacy Benefit Managers to charge employers more for a drug than what they pay pharmacies for the same drug. I also supported HB23-1215 which prohibits certain health care providers from charging a facility fee that is not covered by a patient’s insurance for preventative services provided in an outpatient setting. Providers are required to disclose information about facility fees to consumers and post this information in their facilities. Failure to comply with these provisions is a deceptive trade practice in the business of insurance. I also successfully sponsored and passed SB24-087 which will reduce medication waste and support patients’ continued care by enabling the use of unused topical medications after discharge from health facilities. We are also in a healthcare worker shortage which is why I also successfully sponsored and passed HB24-1231 which bolsters Colorado’s healthcare workforce by facilitating the expansion and modernization of health sciences education facilities across state institutions, combating the healthcare professional shortage and ensuring Colorado’s capacity to meet future healthcare demands.

While we have been able to make some changes, there is still a lot more work to be done. I have the experience and expertise to pass substantial legislation and I have a solid track record of improving our healthcare system, taking on big pharma, increasing transparency, and making lasting change for our community. If elected to the State Senate, I will continue to fight to make sure everyone has access to affordable, transparent, and quality healthcare.

 

What have you done in the past and will do in the future to support efforts to implement a state-wide universal, single payer, privately delivered healthcare system which would improve affordability, access, and quality of Colorado’s healthcare?

This past legislative session, I both co-sponsored and voted “yes” for HB24-1075 which would have analyzed model legislation to determine if implementation of a single-payer plan is possible. This bill came to my committee and I was very supportive and was able to get this through the committee quickly and successfully. If passed, we could have learned how to best implement a state-wdie universal healthcare system here in Colorado. Unfortunately, this bill died in the Senate, which is why we need progressive leaders like myself to push for transformative healthcare reform. In 2021, I supported HB21-1232 which is known as the Colorado Option Plan. While this isn’t universal healthcare, it’s an important step in making healthcare more accessible and affordable by substantially reducing premiums and lowering healthcare costs. However, this is just a start and I am committed to making sure every Coloradeon has access to quality, affordable healthcare.

 

During her years in the state Senate, Rachel Zenzinger has been a strong advocate for increasing affordable housing in Colorado. She has served on the Board for the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA), was active in the Affordable Housing Transformational Committee created for using ARPA funds, and she has sponsored and actively worked for a number of affordable housing bills at the state. Please discuss any actions you have taken in your current elected offices to make housing more affordable and what your plans for housing affordability as the Senator for Senate District 19.

I have supported a plethora of bills since being elected as a State Representative in 2020. I have supported HB23-1184: Low-income Housing Property Tax Exemptions which expands property tax exemptions for nonprofit housing developers to build up Colorado’s affordable housing stock and increases the Area Median Income to qualify for this housing from 80% to 100% or 120% for rural resort communities.

I also supported HB23-1190: Affordable Housing Right of First Refusal which tackles Colorado’s housing crisis and requires that local governments be able to maintain existing affordable housing options, so families are not priced out of their communities. This bill preserves homes Coloradans can afford by allowing local governments to be competitive bidders against for-profit developers.

I also supported HB23-1255: Regulating Local Housing Growth Restrictions. Housing growth caps, known as local growth ordinances, drive up housing costs for families and force Coloradans to live farther from their workplaces. This bill prevents local governments from enacting and enforcing growth caps that limit development so that families can afford to live in the communities they want.

I think it is also incredibly important to talk about people experiencing homelessness whenever we discuss affordable housing as they are oftentimes left out of the conversation. In the State Capitol, I have supported and will continue to support legislation that provides support to people who are unhoused and increases prevention by tackling the core issues of homelessness. I supported HB22-1377 which invests $105 million to local governments and nonprofits that are directly addressing the needs of people who are experiencing homelessness or on the verge of it. I also supported HB22-1378 which invests over $50 million to respond and prevent homelessness by creating a Denver-Metro residential campus to integrate emergency, transitional and permanent supportive housing with behavioral health care, substance use disorder treatment, medical care, case management, employment and skills training and more – all in one location. I also supported SB22-211 which invests $45 million to repurpose Ridge View into a recovery-oriented facility for people experiencing homelessness who want to recover from a chronic substance use disorder. Ridge View will include transitional housing for up to two years with a recovery-focused style of care. I fully support amplifying the dignity and respect of our unhoused population with a heavy emphasis on increasing funding for prevention services, long-term relief, and sustainable housing solutions.

For my plans for State Senate District 19, I am committed to addressing our housing challenges through policies & legislation that promote affordability and availability, as I have done in the past. This includes pushing for increased funding for affordable housing developments, supporting renters’ rights and protections, promoting innovative housing solutions, investing in our unhoused population’s needs, and addressing zoning laws that can restrict housing development.

 

Utah’s proposed Uinta Basin rail project could result in a dramatic increase of the movement of hazardous materials on the Union Pacific line along the Colorado River and through Arvada. It is estimated the Uinta Basin project will quadruple the amount of hazardous materials transported by rail through Arvada as up to five two-mile-long oil trains a day move east through our city. The stated purpose of the project is to increase the supply of fuel for America but the Gulf Coast refineries that the waxy crude are supposedly destined for are already near full capacity and not configured to handle this product. This product is clearly intended for export and the profit of the fuel industry.

The proposed rail link project has the support of the local Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah & Ouray Reservation and Utah lawmakers and has been approved by the federal Surface Transportation Board, Bureau of Land Management, and U.S. Forest Service but is currently on hold due to lawsuits filed by environmental groups and Eagle County. These efforts to block the project have the support of the cities of Glenwood Springs, Minturn, Avon, Red Cliff, Vail, and the counties of Routt, Boulder, Chaffee, Lake and Pitkin. Colorado elected representatives including Senators Bennett and Hickenlooper, and Representatives Pettersen, DeGette, Crow, and Neguse have also acted to oppose this project.

Will you as a candidate and (potentially) as an elected Colorado State Senator pledge to join with those opposed to this project? If not, why not?

Yes, I wholeheartedly pledge my opposition to this project, just as our federal delegation has. I care deeply about our environment and the safety of my constituents. Big oil companies and this project can be dangerous for our environment and community. From my understanding, this project is currently put on hold. The approval of this project is determined by the Federal Bureau of Land Management, which is a federal oversight agency. However, considering the fact that over 40 million people rely on Colorado’s water supply, I am very wary of significantly increasing the amount of oil shipments next to the water or through Arvada and would do everything in my power to keep our communities and environment safe.

 

Rachel Zenzinger has been an advocate for public school funding and has served on the Education Committee during her time as State Senator. While in office she co-sponsored SB23-287 Public School Finance bill that passed into law. This law Increases the statewide base per pupil funding for the 2023-24 budget year by $598.25 and repeals the budget stabilization factor, effective July 1, 2024. What have you done to support public education in the past and what will you do to support public education if elected as State Senator?

I was also very supportive and was a “yes” vote on SB23-287, and was very pleased that the Governor signed it into law last year. As someone who has grown up in Colorado, and gone through the public school system here, it’s important to do all we can for our teachers and students. In my time as a State Representative, I have met with countless teachers, students, parents, and school administrators to make sure our education system is as equitable as possible. In the past, I have supported bills that increase funding for special education funding (SB22-127 & SB23-099 ), raise teacher pay (SB21-172), boost stipends for new teachers (HB23-1001), establish universal full-day preschool (HB22-1295 & HB23-1290), support student’s mental health (HB23-1003), increase school safety (HB22-1243), and remove the barriers to higher education (SB21-029 & SB21-057).

Education is one of my top focuses for SD 19. I strongly believe that every child, regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation, or zip code, deserves access to a high-quality education. This isn’t just about opportunity—it’s a matter of equity. It’s about giving every student, every child in our state, a fair shot at success. Our children’s education is the bedrock upon which our future stands. And it’s my mission to ensure that this bedrock is solid, secure, and fair for all. We also need to make sure that we continue to fund and increase per-pupil funding, expand our special education programs, prioritize the mental health of our students, support our English learner students and new arrival immigrant students, and support our at-risk youths.

 

Will you introduce or support laws in Colorado that either outlaw ownership of automatic weapons or require their storage in secure sites, preferably target ranges.

Growing up in Colorado, I remember very clearly when Columbine happened and I have been devastated to grow up in a state where gun violence is so prevalent. I love this state that I’ve called home for so long, and it is devastating to watch so many Coloradans be affected by gun violence. I recently had my first child, who is now just shy of a year old, and this makes me even more determined to continue to support and pass sensible and responsible gun legislation. Last session, I was proud to support SB23-168, SB23-169, SB23-170, and HB23-1219. These bills expand and strengthen Colorado’s “Red Flag” law, raise the minimum age to purchase a long gun, like a shotgun or rifle, to 21 years old, establish waiting periods, and remove Colorado’s overly-broad firearms industry immunity protections so survivors of gun violence can better seek accountability and justice through civil court.

In addition, I was proud to bring forward and successfully pass SB21-256: Local Regulation of Firearms which gives local control the ability to further regulate firearms that either match or exceed state regulations. Many counties like Boulder have already used this bill to increase their firearm regulations and increased safety in their districts. I will continue to support gun legislation that promotes responsible gun ownership and the safety of my constituents.

Regarding outlawing automatic weapons, I voted “yes” on HB23-1230 which would have prohibited assault weapons in Colorado. I voted in favor of passing HB23-1230 because as a lawmaker, it is my duty to do all that I can to protect the safety and well-being of my constituents. Unfortunately, the bill did ultimately fail to pass this past year, but I will continue to support and bring forth legislation in order to do everything we can to reduce gun violence in our state.

 

Given that states rights were used recently in several critical Supreme Court decisions involving citizen’s rights, how will you support the rights granted by our constitution and bill of rights for Coloradans? What would be your first two priorities that are at risk?

I support our Colorado constitution and took an oath as an attorney to uphold our laws. Now, more than ever, our rights are under attack from our federally conservative Supreme Court. With my legal background, I am proud to do everything possible at the state level to ensure that our rights are being protected in Colorado.

As the Chair of the Health and Human Services Committee, I have overseen many bills pertaining to reproductive healthcare in my tenure. I actively defeat bills that try to ban and criminalize abortion. I was also proud to support RHEA, which codified abortion access into our laws and will continue to support bills that support reproductive healthcare. I also support a Constitutional Amendment that would further protect abortion access, because abortion is a human right and we need to do everything we can to make sure it is protected here in Colorado.

I also believe that our election integrity is at risk, especially with what we see going on nationally. It is critical that elections are free and fair here in Colorado. It is a fundamental right to vote and upkeeping election integrity is a top priority for me. Republicans are constantly trying to undermine our election integrity, mail-in ballots system, and make it harder to vote. Voting is essential to the upkeep of our democracy, and I will never stop being an advocate for clean, fair, and accessible elections.

 

What do you see as your role as our State Senator in Dist. 19 in either helping or opposing citizen initiatives?

I’m running to represent Colorado’s Senate District 19, because I want to ensure this community remains a wonderful place for families and future generations to thrive for years to come. We also need leaders right now to step up, and fight for our rights which have been continuously under attack. A crucial element in this is listening directly to our constituents and letting them take the lead in what is important to them. I believe that assisting in progressive citizen initiatives is vital in making sure our democracy is functioning like it should be. Of course, not every citizen initiative is created equally, and I will never support a citizen’s initiative to rollback our reproductive rights. However, there are many citizen initiatives that I do support such across Colorado and locally such as renewable and sustainability initiatives, affordable housing initiatives, and supporting our unhoused populations.

 

The ongoing war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza is an emotionally charged situation in Colorado. What are your thoughts on the current protests and encampments on Colorado’s campuses? Will you sign a permanent ceasefire letter or resolution urging an end to the current hostilities?

Any conversation addressing the Israel, Hamas, and Palestinian conflict is complex, and it involves historical, geopolitical, and humanitarian considerations. I am always extremely committed to ensuring that when these conversations come before me, I engage in an empathetic, sensitive, and respectful manner. I support international efforts to facilitate dialogue, find common ground, and work towards a lasting solution that ensures stability and security for both Israelis and Palestinians. I also condemn every and all violent acts that have been occurring in Gaza and Israel and have been deeply saddened by the innocent lives lost to this violence. I want a peaceful resolution to this violence and would be open to signing a permanent ceasefire letter after reading the particular language of the resolution.

I am also saddened by what I’ve seen and heard occurring on college campuses. Peaceful protest is a matter of free speech, and college activists have historically led the charge on progressive social movements. I condone any and all acts of violence occurring in these protests and wish for the safety of all those involved in the encampments. Moving forward, I can only hope that we use empathy and compassion when talking about what is occurring on college campuses.