September is one of my favorite months in Colorado, the weather is wonderful and the aspens are always stunning! I hope that amidst life's business, you have had the chance to enjoy our beautiful state.
The summer has been busy. Here is a look at some of the significant events and topics we’ve been working on.
We had the honor of attending and speaking at several events focused on raising awareness about the realities of human trafficking and what faith-based organizations are doing to help. Regardless of your beliefs, the fact that these organizations are making a positive difference is something we can all agree to support. In the next legislative session we must make sure the the efforts to combat human trafficking brings more hands and hearts to the struggle. We must make sure non-profit organizations and ministries are allowed and encouraged to help. They provide public education and care to the victims of this heinous crime of coercing children into the commercial sex trade.
As part of our effort to make progress on this issue, throughout the summer we participated on the Legislative Task Force of the Human Trafficking Council. The council is mandated to report to the General Assembly at the end of the year.
This month we also spoke at Human Trafficking Aware-a-Thon St. Peter’s Church in Monument Sponsored by Prayer Pants Ministry, a ladies group that makes and donates lounge pants to victims http://www.petertherock.org/main/prayer-pant/
Photo by Cathy Kusman, Pictured Jan Rose, Laura Resnick, Joyce Wisken, Stephanie Kemp Linda Wilson, Therese Davern
Continuing the effort to expand awareness of this blight on America and Colorado, we spoke at Human trafficking Seminar at The Rock Church Castle Rock in support of ministries like LOVE146 that equips grassroots activism and help survivors recover http://love146.org/
Photo by Cathy Kusman Pictured Paul Lundeen, Dianne March, Rev. Ron Raab, Laura Cyrus
This month we also attended “Free the Girls” Gala, a ministry that empowers victims of trafficking to gain financial independence by making, refurbishing, and selling bras. http://freethegirls.org/
Excellence in Education
Earlier this summer we attended the ACE Scholarship and Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice gathering. We were acknowledged for sponsoring the Colorado Flexible Lifetime Learning Expenditures Account Act (CFLEX), an education savings account plan that would improve education choice and provide students with more customized learning options.
Last week, we were honored to be a dinner speaker along with Congressman Ken Buck (pictured) at an Education and Opportunity Summit hosted by Americans for Prosperity in Denver highlighting the need for expanded School Choice in Colorado.
Personal freedom and personal choice are core values of mine and all who support a successful education for each student. The classic saying “give a man a fish he will eat for a day, teach a man (or woman) to fish he will feed herself for a lifetime” is relevant to our education system. We must stand up for the most vulnerable in our society by allowing them to access an education tailored to their needs. Programs like Education Savings Accounts give parents the choice on how to customize their child's education.
Local Economy and a Bit of Fun
Recently we attended the Great American Beer Festival at the Denver Convention Center. The House and the Senate competed for best beer in the "Hop the Vote 2015" team competition. The House brewed a "The Ayes Have It Aye-PA" and the Senate brewed a "Shout Out Stout" which won. Colorado has a thriving craft beer industry with over 200 locally owned and operated breweries which contribute millions of dollars of profits to our economy. Supporting local restaurants and breweries builds community and allows for more diversity and choices in the market.
A Busy Summer. Here’s a partial list of some other activities.
Groundbreaking for the new performing arts center at UCCS along with Reps Kit Roupe and Dan Nordberg (pictured).
- Lewis Palmer High School Baccalaureate Address. We talked about “Defining your Dash” a challenge to graduating students to build value into their lives by defining the values they hold most important. (May)
- Community Improvement Event. Brought the State Office of Information Technology to the District to discuss the possibilities of improving broadband quality and access in the area. (May)
- America Succeeds and the Colorado Entrepreneurs group (June). Spoke on the importance of quality education and the hope school choice brings to improve quality through innovation and competition.
- The Constitution Camp. What could be more important or fun than speaking about the importance of the US Constitution? Spoke with parents at Don Rodger’s summer camp. (June)
- Young Conservatives Leadership Conference at Colorado Christian University (June). We spoke with a group of young women about the importance and opportunity for women to step into leadership in public policy.
- American Conservatives of Color. We spoke about how conservative principles provide the moral high ground as we work to provide a hand up for the most vulnerable among us. (June)
- Community meetings in Monument and Calhan listening to concerns of our friends and neighbors and seeking pathways where state policy can help and identifying where we need to eliminate or improve state policy. (June)
- We spoke to two different Colorado Youth Corps crews working in the Fox Run Park this summer about the importance of personal responsibility and education. (June and July)
- Invited to participate in the Jackson Hole Institute (July). Presented on the Colorado Flexible Lifetime Learning Account Act CFLEX bill sponsored in the 2015 session.
- Observed school safety training classes provided by a group of professionals with experience ranging from law enforcement to the CIA. (August)
- Independence Center briefing on Disability (September). Learning how we can expand the effort to support the most vulnerable among us by reaching out to people beyond government is a key to helping build a stronger society. We are always pleased when we can speak this message of neighbors helping neighbors.
Of course Connie and I were fortunate to attend a number of fun events in support of the community as well. The Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo and Monument Independence Day Parade were just two of the many fun opportunities we had to enjoy the beautiful people and scenery of Colorado.
Throughout the summer, I attended and spoke at several Community Service Clubs and Republican Clubs and Lincoln Day Dinners in El Paso County and surrounding counties. I always learn more than I teach at events like these. Please let me know if you have a club or community event you would like me to attend to speak at.