I am running for office because I’m concerned about the state of affairs at the national level and how decisions in DC affect Coloradans and the country.
Among My Concerns Are:
- Campaign Finance and Government Reform
- Energy and the Environment
- Gun Safety
- Health Care
- International Relations and Trade
- LGBTQ Rights
- Military and Veterans
- Women’s Rights
As a veterinarian, I come from a scientific field. I collect as much information as I can about an issue and then carefully consider all outcomes. With this approach, I will make well-informed choices and guide policy decisions that would best benefit our citizens.
My moral compass is partly guided by a principle in medicine – above all do no harm. Reason and compassion help to guide my decision making.
I welcome support from all Americans, regardless of political affiliation. I pledge to work together with all parties to achieve goals for the good of the country.
Our district has nearly 26,000 farms and ranches which produce over $6.4 billion of agricultural crops (corn, wheat, grain sorghum, millet, sugar beets and hay) and livestock (cattle and calves, hogs, dairy products and chicken eggs) annually. It is the top ranked congressional district in the state for agricultural products, the 11 th ranked U.S. Congressional District for total value of agricultural products sold, and the 5 th ranked U.S. Congressional District for value of livestock and poultry products sold. Managing risk is essential for farmers and ranchers who face unpredictable and uncontrollable threats from the weather, pests, disease and commodity markets. Farmers and ranchers need a combination of crop insurance and farm and conservation programs to manage this risk, provide a safety net for their annual crop and livestock production and improve their land. Agricultural trade is essential to farmers and ranchers and the American economy. With the world’s population expected to swell to nine billion by the year 2050, free and open trade is a priority for farmers and ranchers. Farmers and ranchers need the continued long-term investment of federal dollars into public agricultural research by USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and land-grant colleges such as Colorado State University for cutting-edge research to sustain a competitive agricultural economy, enhance the natural resource base and environment, and ensure high-quality and safe food. It also means protecting the water that our farmers and ranchers need to stay in business while sustaining population growth in Colorado which could double from 5 million today by 2060 to ensure a productive agriculture, a productive economy, vibrant and sustainable cities, a strong environment, and a robust recreation industry. In addition to producing food and fiber, Colorado farmers and ranchers are producers of renewable energy from wind, solar and biofuels which creates investments in rural Colorado from new jobs, lease payments to landowners and expansion of local and county tax bases.
Democracies only work when all voices and votes count equally. We need to press for accurate and complete voter rolls, and work for districting reform. The influx of big money in our elections threatens our very democracy. Too many politicians are bought and paid for by special interests, while the voices of everyday Americans are being drowned out. Karen will fight to end the rigged system that puts special interests above the voters. Karen will work to stop the unlimited special interest money in our elections and close loopholes that allow foreign interests to secretly influence our elections, to restore the voice of the voters and restore a government that is accountable to the public.
All Coloradans and all Americans deserve a top tier education to fulfill each individual’s potential and have a shared understanding of the American experience. It is in all of our interests to have the best schools, the best teachers, and highly educated students. We need to support public schools and make sure that all students have a chance to succeed, no matter their background or where they live. We need to make sure that our students have the most qualified teachers available, and that means supporting strong wages and opportunities for professional development. Higher education has become unaffordable for many families and student debt has become the largest cause of personal debt in the united States, so Congress needs to take action on student debt relief, find ways to make college more affordable, and develop innovative apprenticeship programs that can serve as an alternative to a traditional four year university program.
Our economy is in an exciting time of transition as there are multiple sources of energy at our disposal and emerging technology that will make our energy more affordable, cleaner, and will guarantee America’s energy independence. While our economy and infrastructure still depend on carbon fuels, we should continue to work to make sure oil, gas and coal retrieval is done intelligently and safely. As renewal energy sources continue to become more cost effective we are seeing a growing economy with jobs and income for those involved, especially here on Colorado’s eastern plains. Our communities can look to these technologies to harvest the great resources of solar and wind in the 4th Congressional District. Colorado can be a leader for the rest of the country in how development of these energy sources can stimulate and stabilize the economy, create good-paying jobs and leave a healthier environment for generations of Coloradans to follow.
Karen comes from a family of gun owners and knows that when we put partisan bickering aside, a vast majority of Americans support common sense legislation to keep guns out of the hands of those who pose a threat to our kids and families. It is critical to implement federally mandated universal background checks for all gun sales to keep guns out of the hands of convicted criminals and gun traffickers. The presence of a gun dangerously compounds the risk of impulsive acts of violence like spousal abuse or suicide, which is why it is important to implement waiting periods, or “cooling off” laws, which have been proven to decrease gun related violence by creating an important window of time for gun purchasers to reconsider their intentions which can lead to a change of heart and a life saved. Solutions like these can help to curtail the epidemic levels of gun violence that our country faces without compromising the Second Amendment.
Securing affordable and accessible healthcare for families everywhere needs to be a top priority for our Representatives in Congress. We need to work to protect medicare and medicaid for generations to come, work to lower the costs of pharmaceuticals, and make sure that we protect small local clinics like the ones that serve Coloradans on the eastern plains of our district. I would work hard to ensure Coloradans are not burdened by health care costs for their employees or for themselves. We need to streamline our healthcare systems and continue moving forward together to solve the issues surrounding health care. Having millions without health care is expensive and inefficient for every single American, and we need to protect the advancements that we have made under programs like the Affordable Care Act.
As a mother of three, it is unconscionable to me that we would separate immigrant children from their families as we have seen on our Southern border, and this crisis only reinforces the importance of quickly passing comprehensive immigration reform that is rooted in compassion. America is a nation of immigrants, and immigrant communities like the ones here in our district make our nation stronger. We need to pass a clean DREAM Act and end the zero tolerance policies that have led to the separation of children from their parents. Most people agree that our current immigration system is not working, and we need to completely overhaul and streamline our immigration system. Colorado’s farmers and ranchers, and especially small family farms, depend on the H-2 visa program to find temporary agricultural workers and we need to expand programs like these that make sure that agricultural businesses like the ones that help our district thrive can find the labor they need to make their farms run.
Our infrastructure is on life support. Our shared roads, bridges, water and power systems need to be upgraded to 21st Century standards. Colorado’s broadband access should be of a high quality in every county in our state, because rural communities and businesses are being left behind without access to these critical services. We need to ensure that every Coloradan has reliable access to clean drinking water, and it is unacceptable for projects like the Arkansas Valley Conduit to have been delayed because of bureaucratic dysfunction. Rebuilding our infrastructure will create and maintain thousands of good-paying jobs throughout our state and the economic impact of stronger infrastructure will benefit everyone.
Our relations have been frayed with nations who share our democratic and free market values. We need to restore and strengthen these ties, in our own best interests. Our country gains influence when we act in a manner that reflects the principles we embrace, whether it be in the fields of trade, human rights, or military force. Threats of trade wars fray our relationships with our allies and harm American workers. Economic isolation will not bring jobs back to our country, and we need to make sure that our country has a seat at the table in international economic discussions by engaging in new trade agreements and supporting existing international political and economic relationships.
No American should face discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, and as the mother to a member of the LGBTQ community, this issue is personal to my family. In Congress I will work to protect recent victories for the LGBTQ community, and I will make sure that our country keeps moving forward on this issue by advocating for federal workplace protections, enforcement of hate crime laws, and advocating for out LGBTQ military service members and veterans.
For far too long Congress has abdicated its proper Constitutional role in deciding when and where to engage in military force, allowing a President to deploy forces almost at will. We need to restore stronger Congressional oversight and own the responsibility of sending our men and women into harm’s way. Congress has not been accountable to our veterans, but in Congress I will advocate for accountability at the VA and a secure retirement for all of our veterans.
The population of those 65 and older in Colorado is expected to double to 1.2 million by 2030. We need to ensure our seniors are able to live dignified, independent lives and remain in their home if they choose. In Congress I will work to make sure that all of our seniors have access to the housing, health care, transportation and support services they need. I will be a strong advocate for social security and medicare, and will fight back against proposals to raise the age or add burdensome requirements for people to be able to collect these benefits.
I will fight to protect a woman’s right to choose. All women should have the right to make healthcare decisions that are right for their families without any kind of government interference, and in Congress I will fight to protect the federal funding that many women’s health centers depend on. It is unacceptable that America is the only developed nation in the world without guaranteed parental leave programs, and I will work with the growing bipartisan coalition of Representatives who support paid family leave programs for new parents.