Q&A with Jennifer Mitkowski, candidate for House District 43

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Party: Democrat

Residence: Highlands Ranch

Campaign Website: www.jennforcolorado.com

What makes you the best choice for this office?

I am a physician assistant, a mom with a child in hybrid learning and a health care worker on the frontlines of COVID. I am a listener and pride myself on always having an open door, something that is crucial for a state representative. What we need now is someone with the knowledge and firsthand experience to bring us out of this pandemic, get our schools safely and fully reopened, so we can safely put our economy back on track.

If you’re elected, what single issue will be at the top of your agenda?

Health care. Every day, I see patients who have lost their health insurance due to a job loss, patients who can’t afford their insurance premium or patients who are worried about losing their coverage. I am now frequently trying to navigate how I continue to provide care for patients and navigate their prescription costs after COVID-related insurance losses. We need to expand our access to timely data and resources to fight COVID so we can return to the priority of making healthcare affordable for all Coloradans.

If you’re elected, what must you accomplish in order for you to consider your term a success?

Considering my first term a success would require passing legislation to develop a pathway to safely and fully reopen schools so we can get our economy back on track. Additionally, too many people who are seeking mental health treatment do not have timely access to the resources they need. I will prioritize legislative solutions to strengthen access. Lastly, teachers’ salaries in Colorado are ranked near the bottom of all states. Teachers shouldn’t have to work two to three jobs to support their families. We need to ensure our K-12 budget places a greater priority on the teachers we want in our classrooms.

What do you see as the most important role of a member of the Colorado House of Representatives?

Being a voice for your community. Local elected officials have the most impact on your everyday life. It is important that the person we choose to represent Highlands Ranch in the state Legislature make themselves readily available to discuss what is happening at the Capitol and how it affects our community through town halls, an open office at the Capitol and an eagerness to engage with the people they represent. Highlands Ranch deserves a state representative who will listen to all voices and be willing to engage, even when they disagree.

What new challenges, brought about by COVID-19, do you see affecting the state in the coming years and how will you help address them?

I see these challenges every day, whether it is a lack of personal protective equipment, not having tests readily available or a patient saying they can no longer afford their medications due to a COVID-related job loss. I am frequently trying to navigate how I continue to provide care for patients and navigate their prescription costs after a COVID-related insurance loss. Our state can work with local organizations to expand our testing capacity, streamline the distribution of personal protective equipment, and give small businesses the support they need to stay afloat while treatment options are being researched and developed.

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