Colorado 2018 State of the State

the joint session will come back to
order chief sergeant to the house Judson senators representatives ladies and
gentlemen it is my pleasure and honor to present to you the Honorable John
Hickenlooper Hickenlooper governor of the state of Colorado right so it's the last-minute change please
thank you at a time when sometimes shouting seems to have replaced talking
and insults sometimes seem to replace ideas I want to start by honoring the
men and women who joined me in this chamber and those who have made it their
life's work to serve the people of Colorado driven by their abiding desire
to serve and to make our great state even greater president Grantham
and speaker Duran members of the General Assembly the tenant governor Lynn and
her husband Jim justices of the Supreme Court
attorney general Coffman treasurer Stapleton Secretary of State Williams
southern ute councilman frost ute mountain chairman cut hair and vice
chairwoman cut hair route members of the State Board of Education Mayer Hancock
other elected officials in attendance my hard-working cabinet and staff and of
course my amazing wife Robin who could not be here today and my amazing son
Teddy who could and to all of my fellow Coloradans we have so much to be
thankful for we want to thank our veterans and active service members and
their families for their courage and their sacrifice in the cause of freedom
we want to thank the members of the Colorado National Guard more than 600 of
whom were deployed overseas in this past year we thank our Department of Public
Safety along with local first responders who accept the daily dangers of their
work is routine we mourn alongside the families of those
we've lost deputy sheriff Zach parish firefighters Mike Freeman Brett Anderson
and Lieutenant Jim Schaffer sergeant first class
Steve cribben Special Warfare operator petty officer first class
Remington Peters and sergeant first class
Mihal Golan we're here as public servants to make this place we love stay
a place we love a place we can be proud of that would be called topophilia which
means our love of place and reflects our love of Colorado
it's the growling of tractors in brushes fourth of July parade which I got to
last summer it's a smell of barbecue at the little league ball fields and
sterling on a summer night if you've seen a sunrise over the plains drank a
cold beer after a day of hunting or consider rocktober a real month you've
experienced it heck it was a carriage ride up Pikes Peak that inspired Kathryn
Bates to write America the Beautiful she later wrote we stood at last on that
gate of heaven summit and gazed in wordless rapture over the far expanse of
mountain ranges and the sea like sweep of plain this love of place colors
everything we do we are a community thousands of years in the making
starting with the paleo-indians followed by more recent inhabitants including the
Arapaho and Cheyenne and the youths renewed by the first Hispanic settlers
the hopes of the 59 errs the coal stained faces of the next pioneers and
the sweat of those who built train tracks bridges and tunnels and stayed to
start families and build communities it was a Germans Japanese and Irish
immigrants from this country's who planted the seeds of
entrepreneurship and our immigrants today who continue to harvest those
seeds as President Reagan said about the shining city on the hill the doors were
open to anyone with the will and the heart to get there
popular culture has tried to sell us a bit of a tall tale the Colorado's only
about rugged individualism conflict but cooperation has always been the defining
part of our DNA trappers used to go out in packs of 10
or 20 not by themselves because teamwork was safer and more productive there are
a lot more barn raisings than there were shootouts Mountain
residents at the turn of the century would leave their cabins unlocked and
stocked with food in case a weary traveler in the area got hit with a
storm those travelers were honorbound to clean that cabin and restock it later
sometimes in this building we stray a little from this Colorado way we don't
always restock the cabin we don't always listen issues can get tangled in a web
of special interests trust in our government at every level is a critical
part of love of place not that our mountains and Plains are a big part of
our communal affection and sports teams as well but I believe that love of place
is a key ingredient of almost all economic development and people aren't
eager to make the investments that all prosperity demands if they don't trust
the people who lead them and trust that those leaders will work together in this
past legislative session we did just that we finally fixed the hospital
provider fee we now have a little more balance and a
little more sanity in our budget and hospitals in rural Colorado that would
have closed continue to serve thousands of patients Jennifer Reily an executive
at Memorial Regional Health and Craig told us you helped keep our doors open
thank you and last year we reformed construction defects and slowly we're
building more condos we delivered a modest deposit on our broadband
initiative and today a high school or in julesberg is taking remote business
classes so perhaps one day he can start his own company for the first time we
use marijuana taxes for a homeless initiative we help people save their own
lives now last year wasn't always pretty progress isn't always painless but it
was the most impactful bipartisan legislative session since the Great
Recession we reminded everyone not just here but across the country the
collaborative Colorado way is the best way when we're frustrated we listen harder
when were stumped we turned to facts and data we try to bring the best ideas we
can to the table we don't define ourselves by those who oppose us but who
those who oppose us as any restaurant Turk can tell you there's no margin in
having enemies I mean that's basically our slogan and I am grateful to all of
you to have been allowed to be your your friend these past seven years most of
the time if you haven't lived in Colorado long you might be tempted to
think that the state you see today was inevitable but when we first met in this
room our economy was in disarray we had just entered the worst year for
jobseekers and generations we were 26 in unemployment and 40th in job growth
nearly 400,000 Coloradans were unemployed or underemployed
and tens of thousands more had dropped out of the workforce so we did what
Coloradans do we rolled up our sleeves and we got to work we hosted 50 meetings
and took comments for more than 13,000 people in all 64 counties Coloradans
told us what they needed to shape their communities across the state from the
bottom up with this input we created a new blueprint for a new economy we cut
red tape we promoted the state not just to tourists but as a as a pro-business
destination for aspiring entrepreneurs we championed innovation and technology
and made it easier for small businesses to get a loan the Colorado blueprint
made it easier for people to create and grow their own businesses and help make
Colorado a place that loves entrepreneurs
by almost any measure we'd become one of the best places for business in America
we're one of the most active and healthiest states or the best states to
raise a family and make a living we shattered unemployment records
tourism records we've hosted world-class cultural and music events the state has
become a bridge between nonprofits and the private sector a model in the
country we've leveraged a quarter of a billion dollars through public-private
partnerships for community initiatives that have touched millions of lives
we're putting our faith in people like seven-year-old Ashley Scott from
Colorado Springs now two years ago Ashley started a holiday benefit and
purchased blankets socks and gloves for the homeless and this year she partnered
with 20 businesses her school and the entire community to do even more
she said doing this makes me feel happy the homeless need a Merry Christmas –
Ashley we are grateful for your presence and for your incredible work it's a shame you're not 23 years older
you could run for governor everyone else is we've swelled our ranks in healthcare
with 600,000 more enroll enrollees while prioritizing value we've lifted families
out of poverty with a focus on two gen two generation solutions across the
state and with our tribes our family planning initiative has helped reduce
the abortion rate among teens in Colorado by 64% and and and reduce teenage pregnancies by
54% we have become the leading state on a
per capita basis for aerospace employment and when our cybersecurity
Center in Colorado Springs reaches full capacity
we'll have literally thousands of people a year getting certificates we were the
first state to legalize recreational marijuana there's one clapper in the
back but while doing so we have helped create a road map for other states and
by the way I don't think any of us are wild about Washington telling us what's
good for us we expect that the federal government
will respect the will of Colorado voters now he charted our trails we expanded
broadband by almost 100,000 rural homes we've lured countless businesses large
and small and revitalized dozens of Main streets we've provided wraparound
services for thousands of people like Sara Middlebrooks who completed the
program in Fort Lyon found permanent housing and now maintains her own small
business while pursuing her associate degree now she couldn't make it because
of an accident over the weekend Sara if you're watching we wish you a speedy
recovery and we also wish to say congratulations we also created the country's first and
best methane regulate methane regulations by bringing together the non
the environmental community of nonprofits and the only gas industry we
brought together the entire state to create a water plan that secures food
protection food secures food production we protected the sage-grouse from being
listed as an endangered species in the West and developed an electric vehicle
infrastructure spanning 7,000 miles we cut or modified almost half of our
rules and regulations and in doing so saved business saved businesses nearly
eight million dollars eight million dollars and over 2 million hours last
year 2 million hours and we measured our progress on
everything that matters we train thousands of we train thousands of
employees who completed 600 lean process improvements create more value for
Coloradans and won numerous awards we're one of the most innovative and
transparent States in America now my mother used to say use it up wear it out
make it do or do without and it turns out those are pretty good words for
state to live by along this journey our spirit was tested by floods and fires
and inexplicable loss on the other side of these tests we became stronger by
nearly every measure Colorado is perhaps stronger now than that perhaps at any
point in history our economy is ten times more diverse than when I got laid
off in 1986 we've developed a well-deserved reputation for innovation
over these past years and we've welcomed several hundred thousand pilgrims who
have moved here from elsewhere allowing them to experience firsthand just why it
is that we love this place so much this really is an era for the record
books but we can't rest on our laurels as one farmer told me in Colorado you
can be a rainfall away from a record crop but a hailstorm away from losing it
all so we will not let up we will not stop to enjoy the view we have a lot to
accomplish in the next 119 days in this building we need to find the right
solution to Parra's unfunded liability we need to pass legislation to safely
cap orphan wells we need to halt the opioid epidemic that continues to
destroy lives and families and disproportionately affects our rural
communities we need to enact a k12 an infrastructure funding plan
they will help make sure that the water plan becomes a reality we need
legislation and funds to ensure full broadband build-out in rural areas and we need to protect our rural
communities by addressing the intense negative impact the Gallagher amendment
has had and will have in the future it's a common-sense agenda and it's an
opportunity for us to continue showing the country how it can be done the
politics need not always be a bloodsport that we need not wage war between the
blue team and the red team and that dedicated and caring people even those
who may disagree at times can still achieve important goals together it's
also an opportunity to recommit ourselves to honor and respect our
colleagues and uphold the dignity of our offices let's pledge here and now that
we will not tolerate sexual harassment in the state of Colorado in the early hours of the last century
Theodore Roosevelt said of the United States it should be the growing nation
with a future that takes the long look ahead let's take that long look and
think together about the kind of place Colorado must become so that we can pass
our love of place on to the next generation today more Coloradans are
working than ever before the Colorado secret is out are in
migration to the Front Range is the envy of the nation but our rural areas are
not experiencing the same boom we need to create the right ecosystem it's like
the like the Bristlecone pine unique to the west it lives in a harsh but but
stunning high-altitude environment but there are the perfect conditions for it
to thrive in to grow it may grow more slowly than the spruce but it is sturdy
and resilient and yes beautiful most people in rural areas are filled with a
love of place I had lunch with 14 Future Farmers of America at the mansion last
year and I asked these young adults how many would choose to return to their
small hometowns if they could make a decent living there every hand went up
one woman one young woman came up to me later though and noted but if I came
back with someone I love so if I came back with someone I loved they'd need a
job too we need more good jobs in rural Colorado many outdoor recreation and
manufacturing companies sports enthusiasts and adventures from around
the world seek out dynamic rural areas and that's great but some of our best
entrepreneurs are already with us in our rural areas seven years ago
Rob graves a fourth-generation dairy farmer up in Bellevue Colorado started
making a an Australian style yogurt now new sir
yogurt is in all 50 states and has annual revenues of over 200 million
dollars a year glad to have Rob graves here they've got now 240 employees in
Bellevue Colorado but to to invigorate more of our smaller
communities we need to continue to incentivize companies and rural
entrepreneurs or the urban ones who want to be rural to take a chance and start a
business where they're needed the most that's why we just announced a ten
million dollar rural venture fund to focus equity investment and access to
capital in the rural parts of the state similar to what they've been doing for
years along the Front Range startup Colorado is a five-year initiative to
organize and convene startups around the state supported by Brad Feld and other
top entrepreneurial leaders we're expanding our blueprint and rural
jumpstart economic development programs maybe we should look at expanding
jumpstart incentives to seven years we're back stopping loans for rural
markets that allow businesses and startups to get more access to capital
but maybe we should find ways to do more we need to make it easier for anyone to
love any part of Colorado and to be able to start a business in that place
companies also in any place need affordable quality health care we have
some we have some of the most expensive
counties for health care in the country and 14 counties have only one option on
the exchange all of them are in rural areas we need our friends in Washington
to finally move past the tired fight over the Affordable Care Act it's not
perfect and we need to strengthen it in lots of ways but it has helped reduce
our uninsured rate by half 600,000 Coloradans many from rural parts of the
state now have coverage who didn't before and has helped save lives however we can also all agree that
America spends too much on health care and we don't get enough for it this is
an economic argument as much as a health or moral argument the year before the
Affordable Care Act two thirds of the bankruptcies in Colorado were caused by
medical debt two thirds of the bankruptcy that's over a hundred
thousand bankruptcies hundred thousand individuals and families and a
disproportionate number were in rural areas the following year the ACA helped
reduce that number by 60% more than more than 60,000 families didn't go
through the trauma the agony of bankruptcy and when we're secure in
health care were more likely to take risk so take a chance to start a
business now every economist and anyone with a smartphone would agree our
economy today is undergoing tectonic shifts with the acceleration of
automation and artificial intelligence yet today in almost every part of
Colorado zip code still determines your educational outcome and that determines
your economic outcome this needs to change we reconvene the education
Leadership Council with your help to build a long-term vision and path
forward it's nonpartisan and comprehensive with a focus on the
building blocks of a child's success from early childhood to workforce and
beyond we're pumping an additional 100 million dollars above enrollment and
inflation into the schools this year and adding ten million dollars to address
teacher shortages in rural areas we also proposed repeating this year's 30
million dollars to rural score rural schools next year even with these
increases we remain roughly 3/4 of a billion dollars behind the funding the
Colorado voters placed in our constitution nearly two decades ago we
need to be honest with ourselves and with our voters this numbers not going
to go down much without their help and if we if we were really being blunt
it hurts rural Colorado more than the than even the Front Range but to create
the kind of workforce that will keep pace with this economy and keep our
state at the forefront of the new economy we need to go beyond the funding
issue we need to to rethink and retool our entire approach we need to
transition from a degree based education system
– one that also includes skills based training experts tell us that almost 60% of the
kids in America today will not get a four-year degree and that number is true
in Colorado as well career and professions by the dozens are
going to be swept away in the coming decades by automation and artificial
intelligence but new industries will merge at an equally frantic rate we will
need not just engineers but huge numbers of technicians and analysts with new
sets of skills we need to get more kids learning those skills that matter and we
need to do it yesterday that's why we're working with the State Board of
Education to expose more students to coding in the middle and high school
years why not give those schools with a foreign language requirement the choice
to offer coding as an alternative language but let's not fall back into that trap
of instituting a bunch of coding classes and thinking where we've we've solved
the problem we need flexible solutions that can adapt to what employers need
tomorrow not just what they need today this means training and apprenticeships
working closely with business and education leaders in a public-private
partnership Colorado is igniting an apprenticeship Renaissance with career
wise and it's a model being copied around the country we're connecting
companies talent k-12 schools community colleges and training centers we have
youth apprentices in a pilot in pilot programs at thirty-one schools in four
districts and we're partnering with 40 businesses and this isn't your
grandparents vision of apprenticeship this is on the job skills training in
industries like business operations in health care an advanced manufacturing
within a decade we want to see 20,000 students per year receiving college
credit developing the skills and learning how business works
apprenticeships are designed to grow hand and glove with skillful a digital
platform that we developed with LinkedIn and the Marco foundation that's helping
to connect job seekers and employers in this new rapidly changing economy last
summer Microsoft philanthropies announced a
twenty six million dollar investment unskillful to expand these efforts the
largest grant in the history of their foundation now projections of all kinds suggests
that we're going to fall short well short in training workers in nearly
every industry over the next decade we need all hands on deck we need everyone
getting training we need to expand our training programs and also tailor them
for for people with disabilities and those who are incarcerated but
soon-to-be-released there's a lot to do but Colorado has a head start on most of
the country and we need to continue to lead we've become a model for most of
the country I presented our apprenticeship and skill for programs to
a couple dozen of executives from some of the nation's largest foundations who
are putting their considerable weight behind solving these challenges of the
21st century and building a skills based workforce now our work around skills
transitions into our work in higher education last fall the Colorado
Commission on Higher Education presented our updated higher education master plan
we need to increase post-secondary credentials by by tens of thousands in
the next eight years and erase equity gaps over the last seven years we've
added more than two hundred and fifty million dollars to support higher
education and we need to do more to help those schools succeed and expand they
are engines of our economy yet we're still seeing a seemingly in continuous
inflation of tuition fees and books we need to redouble efforts at the same
time around costs collaboration and Student Success Purdue University has
not raised tuition for resident under graduation resident undergraduates for
the past six years now ambitious moves like that will take some flexibility
from those in this building – but I think that's the kind of goals we need
to have we created a strong foundation for growth but no matter how hard we
work to incentivize chi'lan capitalise on on topo philia on
this love of place Coloradans won't continue to love this place
or build their lives here if they can't move around easily if they can't find
affordable housing if they can't stay connected
it's about companies like mayfly which builds equipment for anglers and work to
the state to move all their manufacturing to montrose they wanted a
rural environment but a rural environment was strong broadband they're
training local workers while building an outdoor rec center and a business park
at the same time because they believe their business should grow side-by-side
with the community and we're grateful to have david dragoo here for this stand up
take a bow thank you for picking Colorado it's great news for rural communities
that many jobs can be done anywhere but it requires good internet we need to get
up we went from 60% to 80% coverage in
rural Colorado in the last two years we'll be at about 85 percent by the end
of this year and hopefully 100 percent by 2020 but to get there but to get
there we need your support one of the most essential pieces of infrastructure
in our economy is our natural landscape our clean air clean water the things
everyone thinks about when they hear the word Colorado it's one reason why
companies of all sorts have been drawn to this place we love and the reason why
the outdoor recreation show is coming to Denver in a couple weeks with its 110
million dollars in economic impact it's why many of our farmers and ranchers who
live on the land came here and stay here but the responsibility to good to be
good stewards does not just fall on the rural parts of the state it rests with
all of us Excel has submitted a plan to close two coal plants in Pueblo so we'll
clean our air and lower costs for consumers and read to lead to greater
investments that support 21st century jobs I'm still unsure what it is that
the critics don't like they don't like the cleaner air or the lower utility
bills clean air matters Excel is also working with every as Rocky Mountain
steel which is one of the cleanest steel plants in this country if not the world
they're working them to move toward a renewable energy while protecting Pablos
future as a center for steel manufacturing we're going to need
everyone's support to make sure this is a reality
Pablo is known as Steel City but but soon it could also be known as solar and
wind city and most of us agree that shot that science shows our climate is
changing a significant rate and I would say in a large part because of humans
now many well some I shouldn't say but even those who disagree with me on
climate change can agree that we need to protect the Colorado environment that
our grandchildren are going to grow to love with a strong economy where those
grandchildren can come back and find jobs now this includes protecting our
water for agriculture if we don't implement the water plan and find the
funding rural agricultural communities will be the first and hardest hit we
live in a state of open markets the rural economies can never afford to
match what Front Range homeowners pay for domestic water and yet having a
sustainable source of food no matter what happens around the world is an
essential foundation for the future of our state we are one of the great
exporting States and it's a point of pride for many people who've come here
and we have to make sure that that's a resource that we continue to invest in
rather than put at risk the Colorado water plan provides a framework but
doesn't include all the funding over the next 30 years it lays out about 85% we
need the support of the General Assembly to make sure we find the rest of that
funding but the cost of water has been a small small part of the overall
inflation and new housing prices along much of the Front Range and elsewhere it
strains one's ability to love where they are where they live when they can't
afford the price of a home or even rent near the jobs and communities they care
about while many conversations around
affordable housing are combined are confined to the Front Range the
Colorado Housing and Finance Authority has supported housing projects all
across Colorado they've invested over thirteen billion dollars across the
state I think we need to increase our affordable housing tax credits by 50%
these are matching funds that work only with local investment if we believe
private enterprise is part of the solution then chafa is one of the
answers now I'm forgetting one other type of
infrastructure what ah right the multi-billion dollar hole in our roads it's about connecting to our communities
our jobs our markets it's about connecting the people we love and good
infrastructure creates good jobs these are facts Fort Morgan voters said yes to
raising their sales tax so they could get to work preparing their city streets
and now Paso County voted for new lanes on i-25 Coloradans want to invest in our
quality of life because of their affection for Colorado and they want us
to allow us to pass that affection confidently on to the next generation
that's why communities are easing traffic and bike lanes with creating
walkable areas and in response to demand from Southwest Colorado and other rural
parts of the state bus sang is expanding routes it's part of why we partnered
with Panasonic to see how we can link vehicles with smart highways and save
lives futuristic transportation companies like
areevo ro and Hyperloop or making Colorado a testing ground but we're not
going to be able to innovate our way out of traffic jams and congestion without
resources Coloradans spend hundreds of dollars a year extra per car on repairs
and operating costs as a result of bad road conditions we waste dozens probably
on an average over forty hours a year in traffic the cost of asphalt and concrete
continued to rise yet we haven't increased the state gas tax in over
twenty five years we've been driving on a flat tire for almost quarter of a
century all the while Utah raised their gas tax
twice not that I'm competitive not only do we under fund maintenance by more
than 200 million dollars per year but we also have a project list of nine billion
dollars total needs are estimated to be twenty five billion dollars by 2040 and
that's all on top of Sadat's existing budget last year we committed 1.9
billion dollars in financing for roads when we addressed the hospital provider
fee and I think soon next to thanks to Senate bill 267 we will see a 100
million dollar per year commitment in general fund revenue towards those needs
last week we proposed another one hundred and forty eight million dollars
from the recent increased the recent increase in revenues and then in the
coming years our proposal for future revenues will continue to dedicate more
than a hundred million dollars per year on top of that also from the general
fund that's progress but it still won't be enough to solve our transportation
problem and it doesn't devote a single dollar to our city and county roads and
bridges we need to be even more ambitious it's time we look at a
long-term solution with a sustainable funding source a sustainable funding
source there's broad agreement across party lines Coloradans deserve the
opportunity to vote on whether we need new resources and where they should come
from it is time to go to the voters now it's
tempting to surround ourselves with people who agree with us it's easy to
create an echo chamber but we're investing in the unglamorous effort it
takes to listen because it works in ancient Greece conversations about the
great disagreements of the day took place around big dinners that lasted
days strangers were welcome the restaurant tourney loves this
conversation would slow down and unlike a cable TV debate or a tweet storm it's
allowed a spectrum a spectrum of viewpoints to emerge people invested
their time in each other often fueled by wine here in Colorado we'll probably
stick with beer but I think we need to get back to that point where we had deep
discussions we need to rebuild these places of convergence and all as one
open up my office we have 364 days left in this administration that's an
eternity for compromise it only took 87 days for 39 delegates to create
Colorado's Constitution and that included a Bill of Rights three branch
state government bicameral legislature an elected governor and supreme district
and county courts it's an eternity but the issues are fiercely urgent as Martin
Luther King jr. said tomorrow is today when we invest in education today we
make our kids more competitive tomorrow when we modernize our infrastructure we
lay the groundwork for the jobs of the future when we stand up for common-sense
approaches to to health care and get more
people covered we lower costs and save lies for years to come these core
priorities aren't always glamorous they don't always get big headlines but
that's part of the Colorado way this is the Colorado that has lured generations
from across the country and around the world it's why we swell with pride
whenever we tell us we tell outsiders where we're from and it's why they smile
in response it's what Walter Cheeseman and Claude
Boettcher and Bruce Randolph all worked towards and what Emily Griffith investor
her life in there's no other place like it
David May stated Mason our poet laureate said it best some come out west to beat
the odds and find out the sky's the limit some simply stare no end to it the
way you can love a land and quite a few of the people in it
give me the sage in sunlight warm even in winter
give me the moonlit snow give me the book cliffs and the farms for
wildflowers of Colorado one of the greatest joys in my life was when I was
pitching baseball games in high school you have to be so focused and every atom
of your being is intense just totally intent on on throwing that
pitch to the perfect spot but you'll never succeed without a great team
behind you the joy of these past seven years has been every bit as intense and
every bit is sweet I've been blessed to work with an incredible group of people
I'd like my cabinet and senior staff to stand up and again be recognized and I also include all of you as part of
this team you are an incredible group of people as
well and I cannot express how much I appreciate your partnership your
friendship and and your support through some difficult and some joyous times and
especially for deepening our love of this wonderful wild place so one last
time from this podium giddyup

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