Q&A with David Ortiz, candidate for state House District 38

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Party: Democratic

Residence: Littleton

Campaign website: www.davidortizcolorado.com

What makes you the best choice for this office?

I know how to work hard to get things done. It was hard becoming an Army aviator. It was hard surviving a catastrophic helicopter crash and regaining my independence. Anyone who tells you legislating is easy doesn't know what they're talking about. It takes hard work to pass bipartisan legislation for the people of Colorado. The voters in my district can always count on me putting in hard work for them.

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

I believe health care is a right. I survived a catastrophic helicopter crash as a combat aviator in Afghanistan, which left me paralyzed from the waist down. If I did not have access to quality and affordable healthcare, I would not have been able to regain my independence and continue serving my community through the nonprofit work I do and as a lobbyist/advocate for veterans and the disabled at our state Capitol in Denver. I am a public education supporter. Public educators helped me get a scholarship to attend university and become a combat aviator.

What steps would you take to overcome partisan divide?

As a third-generation service member, I know we belong to the same American family regardless of our specific political beliefs. All of the legislation I have championed came with bipartisan sponsorship. One bill that required me to reach across the aisle and facilitate compromise is HB17-1004: College Credit for Military Education and Training. It passed unanimously out of the State House. In the State Senate, we worked together with our Republican sponsor and stakeholders to soften a hostile amendment to still respect the intent of the bill. My ability to work across the aisle and bring people together is proven.

How should the General Assembly address budget shortfalls?

We need to make cuts based on our values like prioritizing deferment programs and restorative justice programs. After we need to ensure we support and protect our entrepreneurs and local businesses through COVID-19 and the resultant economic recession. Once we help carry them through this, we facilitate a robust economic recovery led by them. Legislators need to be able to be fiscally responsible when faced with future setbacks. TABOR has not allowed us to create a true rainy day fund during a crisis, which is why the impact of COVID-19 harming our critical government programs like education.

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

A successful first term for me would be mitigating the impact from COVID-19, improving affordability of our healthcare system, carrying our small local businesses through this COVID-19-induced economic recession, and supporting a robust and strong economic recovery. So many hardworking families have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing economic shortfalls. Getting them back on their feet would be a success for me.

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