January 22, 2021

priorities

Boulder on Tuesday expressed continued support for policies that further the city’s equity and climate action goals.

The Boulder City Council unanimously approved amendments to its 2021 policy statement, which highlights the city’s lobbying priorities. The council held a public hearing on the revisions in October. That hearing was continued, but no additional public comment was taken Tuesday in the second iteration.

According to the council packet, Boulder’s priorities on the Colorado level for the upcoming year include:

  • Accelerating the adoption of collaborative and equitable policies that ensure emissions will meet the targets identified in the state’s forthcoming Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Roadmap for 2025 and 2030.
  • Advancing the mobility needs of Denver’s northwest region, specifically the projects identified through the Northwest Area Mobility Study, while keeping climate action at the forefront.
  • Repealing three House bills, which together restrict local governments from proactively engaging with undocumented immigrants to meet community needs.

Federally, the city is prioritizing pandemic fiscal support, reformation of the federal pesticide law, support for Colo. 119 improvements as well as support for the city’s federally funded labs and the University of Colorado Boulder.

In its 2021 policy statement, Boulder outlines dozens of priorities with climate, human rights, public health and transportation initiatives leading the way.

There were a few changes from last month’s public hearing, including an initiative that would push Colorado to support counties that want to move to ranked-choice voting. That is important, considering Boulder voters overwhelming supported the Our Mayor, Our Choice ballot measure, which allows voters to select the next mayor through ranked-choice voting.

Chief Policy Advisor Carl Castillo said lobbying makes a difference, and the list of priorities indicates what’s important to Boulder.

“The short of it is regional, state and federal policy matters impact the city, and we have the ability to shape them,” Castillo said. “The adoption of policy statement provides direction for all city officials to speak and to advocate on the policy issues and to do so in a way that is uniformed and coordinated.”

Boulder spends $40,000 for federal lobbyists from Smith Dawson & Andrews and $55,000 for state lobbyists from Headwaters Strategies Inc., but Castillo said many other people play a role.

Several community members in open comment pushed for Boulder to support single-payer universal health care or Improved Medicare for All.

Jason Hubbard, a physical therapist, questioned how government officials can stand by and watch people die due to insufficient health care coverage.

“As a leader on the world stage, our callousness toward our neighbors across the country in this regard is staggering,” Hubbard said.

However, Councilmember Aaron Brockett said the city does prioritize providing greater health care at a lower cost, which would allow Boulder to support such a bill.

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