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PoliticsIamA I'm Jared Polis, candidate for governor of Colorado, for net neutrality, the fight for a free and open internet is not over! AMA!

Dec 12th 2017 by jaredpolis • 34 Questions • 415 Points

My short bio: Internet entrepreneur (bluemountain.com, proflowers.com, Techstars, others) member of Congress representing Northern CO (tech work includes Email Privacy Act, fighting NSA/DOJ surveillance, bitcoin/blockchain), founded two public schools and was Chairman of State Board of Education, gaymer and dad, candidate for Governor of Colorado My Proof: https://imgur.com/uU8F9j8

Q:

What are the downsides you see to our state having legalized marijuana? Overall, is it a net positive or negative?

A:

Overall a POSITIVE. I supported Amendment 64 and I think that it not only generates tax revenues, creates jobs but also helps drive the criminal cartels out of business!

I don't see a lot of downsides to it being legal, I think it's important that we do more work to reduce driving under the influence of any drug or alcohol, and that we try to prevent kids from using marijuana


Q:

is the increase of homeless in downtown denver due to the construction boom, or pot?

seattle has seen the exactly same issues--even my hometown now has a huge amount of homeless.

A:

There are lots of causes, I think the biggest is a very simple one: It is a lot more expensive to live in Denver than it was 10 years ago or 5 years ago. Rent is much higher, and there are more people who simply can't afford a place to live even if they have jobs and are therefore homeless.


Q:

How would you address this?

A:

We should consider a permanent funding source for affordable housing programs across the state. We also need more protections for folks who are vulnerable to displacement and housing supply and demand. And we need better zoning laws to expand mixed-income/mixed-use housing, as well as more multi-family homes that are affordable to middle-class families.


Q:

Thank you for your response. For those interested in further reading about why impeachment should wait, here's an excellent op-ed: https://coloradopolitics.com/bidlack-impeachment-another-name/

A:

FYI here was my statement on the vote to proceed and not table: My full statement on that vote: With great reflection and sadness, today I voted to open debate on an Impeachment Resolution against President Trump.

From day one, our president has shown contempt for the truth and for basic transparency at every turn. New evidence comes to light almost every week casting serious doubt upon his truthfulness, his integrity, and his ability to lead — from undermining a federal investigation into his campaign, to allegedly sharing classified intelligence with Russian government officials, to potential collusion and obstruction of justice.

Congress cannot continue to pretend that the president's behavior isn't putting our republic at risk. This is a debate that must happen NOW for the good of our country.

Colorado families deserve to have confidence in our elected leaders and this is one step toward ensuring our government remains accountable to the people. I’ve never hesitated to fight for our values as a representative, and I won’t hesitate to fight for them as your governor.


Q:

That just sounds like partisan complaining if you ask me. The previous president literally spied on reporters and I didn't hear any impeachment talk from Republicans about that. They never introduced articles of impeachment like your party has in recent months. You guys blew whatever semblance of political capital you had by voting on this, now nobody will take an impeachment effort seriously in the future.

A:

...says a person named penis pump


Q:

Hey Jared! Great to hear you are running for governor, is there anything I can do in particular to help your campaign?

A:

Yes! You can sign up to volunteer at: www.polisforcolorado.com or make a small contribution of $5 or $10! Thank you! And spread the word!


Q:

Hi Jared! I'm a resident of Fort Collins, and I have 2 questions for you:

I am trying really hard to differentiate between the various Democratic candidates for governor. You all seem very progressive, so I would like to know: what sets you apart from the others?

And question two is: are you supporting anyone for Senate in 2020 to take over Gardner's seat? If not, have you considered Trish Zornio?

A:

1) I would say my out of the box approach and creativity, you won't find others (that I know of) talking about blockchain and what states can do for net neutrality in addition to usual progressive stuff. I'm also proud of my work in education not only in policy but founding and running public schools.

2) Wow I'm thinking about 2018! I don't know Trish feel free to make an intro. I doubt I will think about who to support in 2020 much until after 2018 election!


Q:

Thanks for your answers! On number 2--Zornio is the one potential candidate I've found who is testing the waters to take on Gardner's seat, and she is also a major progressive. Her campaign issue stances seem very congenial to your own.

I've decided that it's important to get started on this political process early, so I've already reached out to Trish to let her know that she has my support and volunteer-time. Hopefully she takes the message and declares her intent to run--and, if she does so, perhaps we can all work together to help her campaign. I'm so excited to help push Colorado into a more progressive future. Thanks for hosting this AMA :)

A:

yeah especially if you are just starting out in politics you definitely need time to build a winning campaign.

The funny thing is that so many people tell me they wish campaign seasons were shorter, but to win you need to start SO early to build support and name id


Q:

Right?! If campaign seasons were any shorter, that would practically guarantee that grassroots political movements would never be able to take off. It just takes time to reach out to individuals.

And I have a followup question/concern: I've only been learning about you for a few weeks as I research candidates, but one concern that pops up is your wealth. I and many others have problems with politicians who are run by special interest groups--but that doesn't seem to be your case. You made your wealth through selling businesses or something like that, right? That's cool--but has your wealth proved an issue in previous (and current) political campaigns? Has anyone tried to frame you as an oligarch (sorry) or anything like that? I hope this question doesn't seem offensive--I just want to have your character accurate in my head, in case I decide to lend you my more vocal support in 2018.

A:

I don't think anyone frames me as an "oligarch" because that would probably mean I still have active businesses I run, and I don't run any businesses now and most of my assets are in a blind trust.

I think the positive you hit on is right, I can take on the special interests because I don't rely on them. I think the main negative is the assumption that all rich people are a**holds or that all rich people are totally out of touch.


Q:

I can take on the special interests because I don't rely on them.

That's excellent. Yeah, I hate to sound like I'm painting anyone in that light, but I know that progressives, especially young ones, are suspicious of people of vast wealth, and sometimes unreasonably so. I like the idea that you're not only philanthropic, but also you have an increased immunity to corporate interests. That's something special.

I'll leave room now for others to ask more questions. Thank you again, and I'll make sure to use your answers in (probably) supporting you in your campaign for governor.

Good luck! If you ever make it to For Collins in the next few years, I hope you can check out our efforts to get more progressive measures on the 2019 ballot. We're aiming to do something special here :)

A:

well people should be suspicious of wealth, especially wealthy interests co-opting the political system for their advantage. I'm in FoCo quite a bit so if you see me around say hi! good luck on the ballot!


Q:

I can take on the special interests because I don't rely on them.

That's excellent. Yeah, I hate to sound like I'm painting anyone in that light, but I know that progressives, especially young ones, are suspicious of people of vast wealth, and sometimes unreasonably so. I like the idea that you're not only philanthropic, but also you have an increased immunity to corporate interests. That's something special.

I'll leave room now for others to ask more questions. Thank you again, and I'll make sure to use your answers in (probably) supporting you in your campaign for governor.

Good luck! If you ever make it to For Collins in the next few years, I hope you can check out our efforts to get more progressive measures on the 2019 ballot. We're aiming to do something special here :)

A:

btw good job remembering who I main :) Tree forever!


Q:

What are your views on zoning deregulation in crowded cities? Do you think that less restrictive zoning laws could decrease housing prices in many cases?

A:

well of course they would, simple economics (more supply of housing) but local residents often oppose them because of protecting their neighborhoods quality of life or property values. In Colorado, this plays out at the local level in fights for city council and county commissioner races.


Q:

Hello, thank you for doing this AMA. As governor of Colorado how will you push back against protectionist/isolationist rhetoric that is popping up in the United States?

In addition, do you feel that free trade will benefit Colorado?

A:

This neo-isolationism saddens me greatly. Protectionism is bad for all parties. I believe in bringing the world closer together. I've supported expanding trade opportunities in Congress and I believe that bringing the world together is the best way to prevent deadly conflicts.

This is (yet another area) where President Trump's worldview is fundamentally flawed. We are not fighting over a static pie with China, Mexico, Canada, etc. Trump thinks if we get more, they get less and vice verse. Trade between willing, informed parties benefits both sides. We can GROW the pie together.

Yes as Governor I can have an impact. A Governor can lead trade missions to other countries to build economic and cultural ties between our state and other nations, and I look forward to that part of the job!

Yes Colorado is a trade dependent state and for our agriculture industry, mining, manufacturing, and much more we can benefit from global supply chains and more access to new markets.


Q:

Increased political tribalism has me very concerned. What GOP proposal or platform element are you most supportive of? What do you think Democrats have lost their way on?

(Yes, I'm well aware that the GOP as currently constituted is bonkers. But, obviously Democrats don't have a monopoly on the truth.)

A:

Thank you for disputing the false equivalency with the second part of your comment. Yes Democrats can be wrong but are not generally speaking completely bonkers.

In general I support more individual freedom and a smaller, more efficient government that gets the job done. Some people say that Republicans used to support these things. That was before they went bonkers.

Many of my bills in Congress are bi-partisan.

One issue lately I've been working with many Republicans on is Kurdish Independence. It's not inherently a partisan issue but lately I've been getting a better reception on the R side. Here's a piece I wrote a couple years ago on the topic: http://www.denverpost.com/2014/10/03/polis-the-promise-of-an-independent-kurdish-republic/


Q:

What political party are you affiliated with?

A:

I'm a Democrat!


Q:

Good, I hope you win friend. (Over any Republican that is, don't know your democratic competition)

A:

yeah I didn't put my party in the intro because identifying right away in a particular party turns people off


Q:

But that's essentially what you just did

A:

No, I was ASKED. Obviously that is the purpose of an AMA. You get asked things and you answer. I didn't put in the intro for the reason cited above in this thread.


Q:

Do you think constitutional amendment is needed to provide meaningful reform, update, and clarification to the 12th? IDK if it matters, but I'm in Lakewood, used to be in your district, but I moved.

A:

YES I support a constitutional amendment to abolish the electoral college and move to direct election of the President.

since passing constitutional amendments are so hard, a more realistic path would be in my new job as Governor to support the interstate compact:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Popular_Vote_Interstate_Compact


Q:

Would you support a bill that would offer Colorado graduates student loan forgiveness in exchange for an increased income tax rate of 3 or 4% of their income (so they'd still pay into the education system over time, but not have the debt burden)?

A:

These exist. They are called "Income Share Agreements" usually.

I introduced a bi-partisan bill to provide some more legal certainty around them and reduce costs as an alternative way to finance college: https://polis.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=397901


Q:

Hi Jared! Thank you for being my rep in congress! I'm proud to have a progressive like you fighting for me. My question: You want to encourage more companies to participate in profit sharing and employee ownership programs. How exactly do you convince the CEOs of those companies to do that?

A:

Companies I started like proflowers.com had stock options for every employee.

I have several ideas to make it easier for companies to implement this here they are (copying and pasting):

State-support for an Employee Ownership Business Center to provide technical support to companies looking to share profits and ownership with their employees.Currently Vermont has one of the highest percentages of employee owned business per capita in the nation; they also have one of the oldest state supported Employee Ownership Business Centers. We can look to the success that other states have had with creating and supporting Employee Ownership Business Centers. This smart investment in supporting the replication and growth of employee ownership models will help Colorado lead the nation in profit sharing.

In Congress,I introduced the Work Act with Senator Bernie Sanders to provide funding to states who are willing to invest in Employee Ownership Business Centers, as Governor I can do even more to replicate these successful tactics.Establishing employee-owned companies as a priority for state contracting. All other things being equal, the state should work with companies that are structured to reward hard work.Statewide branding campaign with support the of the Governor’s Office. Employee owned businesses can display their status with pride, as part of efforts of building an inclusive economy for all Coloradans. In 1999, Colorado launched an innovative brand campaign “Colorado Proud” to promote Colorado’s agricultural products. We can support Employee Owned Business and encourage businesses to pursue profit sharing by launching a marketing program designed to help consumers identify and support employee owned businesses.Make Colorado the national center for formation of employee owned cooperative businessesby highlighting our extraordinarily low business filing and registration fees, the absence of Secretary of State excise taxes, and further improving the flexible and robust nature of Colorado’s cooperative law. Colorado is an ideal place to incorporate a cooperative or employee-owned business, and just as over 50% of all publicly-traded companies and 64% of Fortune 500 companies select Delaware as their legal home, I will help make Colorado the leading state for formation of employee owned cooperatives.Explore opportunities for the state to play a role in facilitating less costly financing for firms transitioning to employee ownership.Establish objective metrics for comparison with the goal of Colorado being the number 1 state in employee-ownership percentage within 8 years.

More info at: http://v.fastcdn.co/u/70bc6dd0/21710611-0-JP-EconomyV3.pdf


Q:

Will you run for president?

A:

I really don't think so.


Q:

Would you sponsor a bill for towns to be able to control their own fiber internet?

A:

Yes this is part of my rural broadband plan for Colorado (which would work in other states): https://www.summitdaily.com/opinion/polis-and-stiegelmeier-overcoming-rural-colorados-broadband-hurdles-column/


Q:

Hello Mr. Polis, thank you for doing this AMA! I'm not a Colorado resident, so forgive me if I'm distracting from your intended topic, but given your support of net neutrality, I'm wondering what actions you think people can take to help beyond calling their representatives? I'm a Maryland resident, and both of my senators, as well as my district representative, all support net neutrality, so calling them feels like preaching to the choir. What else can I do?

A:

maybe write a letter to the editor in your local paper, or choose to support other candidates (with money or time as a volunteer) in nearby areas who are in favor or net neutrality running against candidates who oppose net neutrality.


Q:

What are your thoughts on the Mental Health Access Improvement Act of 2017?

A:

It hasn't come out of Committee yet so I haven't had a chance to look at it


Q:

Hi Jared, I'm glad you were representing Colorado in congress. Is there a reason you are trying for governor now rather than trying to continue to represent us in congress?

A:

yes I think that I can make more progress on what drives me to serve at the public level. First and foremost education. I want to bring quality preschool and kindergarten to every child in Colorado, every child deserves a strong start! And with President Trump pulling out of the Paris Climate Accords, we need to continue to make progress at the state and local level and I have a plan to transition our state to 100% renewable energy by 2040.


Q:

What is the best way and what is your plan to help promote private sector employment of those with disabilities?

A:

I visited this restaurant recently and was impressed: http://www.timescall.com/business/local-business/ci_28305968/real-world-work-longmont-restaurant-owners-create-environment

Counties can partner with businesses to get those with disabilities successfully into the workforce doing meaningful work to ultimately support themselves. There are some great programs out there we just need to scale them up!


Q:

Governors have to make quickly make decisions on a very wide range of policy issues, often outside their area of expertise.

What is your process for making decisions and educating yourself on policy issues? How do you ensure that you don't become intransigent on an issue if new data becomes available, or if you came to the wrong conclusion?

Edit: Have you recently changed your mind on any of your closely held beliefs? If so, which one? If not, are you certain you are testing them often enough?

A:

That's really important. Effective public officials should be driven by data and science. I am familiar with avoiding the sunk-cost fallacy from my success in the private sector, and we should apply the same lesson to government. Summary (not wedded to this, just best summary I could find on google in 2 mins): https://business.tutsplus.com/tutorials/sunk-cost-fallacy-how-to-avoid-bias-based-on-past-decisions--cms-26642

One should look to the data and the best science with objectivity and without a pre-determined outcome in mind. While I know a lot about a few areas (education, business) I realize I have to be a generalist and make decisions on areas like fire prevention, transportation, etc on which I need to rely on expert opinion and I would try to find the best experts to talk to and if appropriate employ.


Q:

I think I may have editted this in while you were typing your response, sorry for my lack of reddiquette:

Have you recently changed your mind on any of your closely held beliefs? If so, which one? If not, are you certain you are testing them often enough?

A:

yeah I didn't see that part. So Being in Congress is different. We only get to vote on something once (usually). So if you later change your mind you don't get to go back and change your vote. Doesn't mean you can't change your mind, but your input phase is already done unless a similar vote comes up again.

As Governor and in business, you can change your mind if you determine you were wrong on a more dynamic basis. Adjustments in course are very important.

Also many "closely held beliefs" are based on morality as well, and while ones morality can change over time usually a person stays fairly true to what they believe as right and wrong. Tactics, however, change. In addressing climate change, I regret that the the Democrats pushed cap and trade over a simpler, carbon fee that would have allowed tax reductions in other areas. It's not so much that the policy was horribly flawed, but the latter could have been marketed more effectively and would have been better for the overall economy.


Q:

Do you think the Colorado Rockies are making the right moves to improve next season?

A:

Most of the big potential moves are just rumors at his point.... Adding Andrew McCutchen and Carlos Santana would be great if they can pull it off.

Nothing against Alex Colome but I'm not a fan of buying high on closers, especially for the Rockies,


Q:

Hey Jared! What's a "gaymer"?

A:

haha, someone who is gay and a gamer

and wait for it there is a subreddit for it! ;)

https://www.reddit.com/r/gaymers/


Q:

Hah you learn something every day! Cheers.

A:

yeah there is a subreddit for that too!

https://www.reddit.com/r/todayilearned/


Q:

Hi Representative Polis,

I want to thank you for the times you have met with me. I am a member of Moms Demand Action and I appreciate your support in our efforts to prevent more gun violence in our country.

I am also the mother to an 8 year old transgender child. Is there anything you would recommend I tell her in light of the presidential election, Trump's administration's efforts to roll back protections for the LGBT community, and what that says about our country's acceptance of her?

A:

Yes, I think that society is moving forward in accepting all people regardless of one's gender identify. Tell her how now is different and better than the 1950s. Or the 1980s or even 1990s when you (guessing) grew up. And that people her own age are far more accepting and they will grow up and vote and not elect people like Trump.


Q:

Thanks! I am a older mom so the 1980s were my jam.

A:

me too! :)

We just showed our six year old and three year old Neverending Story

Re 80s, I thought this was a fun recent advertisement from Spotify: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQ07z6X1dg0


Q:

Do black lives matter?

Is it ok to be white?

Why is Colorado the best state?

A:

yes. yes. Because: https://imgur.com/a/Np3TJ