Savannah Wolfson: What Will It Take to Fund Our Schools?

Savannah Wolfson: What Will It Take to Fund Our Schools?

Oddly enough, many Democrats are running on a platform of education funding this year. They’ve had a supermajority in Colorado for 6 years, but chose not to fund our schools. Here’s one example of a rural school in our district dealing with severe water damage. Elementary kids in Rio Blanco County have had to stop class and help clean up water in the hallways. When I met with superintendent Matt Scoggins, his wish list for the school was simple. He wants to keep the kids safe, warm, and dry. Instead, he gets a facility with problems like this one.

Matt believes that this is poor stewardship and that the Budget Stabilization factor has hurt rural schools like his. Many attempts to boost education funding without raising taxes were introduced by Republicans in the last session, and the Democratic Party shot them down, because they didn’t want the money to be redirected from their pet projects.

This is where my Democratic opponent and I have a clear difference in policy ideas. She claims there is no funding for education because we need to get rid of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. Our state budget is over $30 billion. At some point, we need to ask, “Where is our money going?”

TABOR is a special law that says you, the people, get to decide if something is worth funding and worth a tax increase. Sometimes, the voters say yes. Other times, they say no. It is also a law that says that the state should return extra money they collect back to the people. It puts a check on the whims of politicians, and keeps your power and money within your family.

Any politician who wants to get rid of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights is a politician who doesn’t believe in honoring your finances. They are not a public servant. They cannot stand on a platform of affordability. They will not support the will of the people. This November, it’s a simple choice between a candidate who wants higher taxes and a candidate who believes in your right to say no.

While our schools are underfunded, let’s be the solution! Here are the Amazon Wish Lists of two teachers in the flooded elementary school. Would you buy a few items for these teachers?

This is the wish list for 5th grade

This is the wish list for 2nd Grade.

To those who buy from the wish lists, thank you for joining the movement to unite and protect our district!

Speaking of uniting and protecting NW Colorado, we’re in our last 100 days of campaigning to win this seat. Every dollar counts in this swing district. It is our firm belief that a candidate running on the Western Slope should have been living in the community before running for the seat, and separate from the Boulder politics. If you agree, pitch in and help us win!

No more one-party rule. No more Boulder reaching out and intruding on our local control. Instead, let’s have a representative focused on our local issues. We want #Affordability, and we want to #EndTheWarOnRuralColorado.

SOURCE: Savannah Wolfson for House District 26

Savannah Wolfson: #CrackdownOnCrime: What Does It Mean?

Savannah Wolfson: #CrackdownOnCrime: What Does It Mean?

One of my closest friends is an artist, a kind and compassionate woman who seeks peace and smiles everywhere she goes. She is also a survivor of horrific domestic violence. Her abuser tried to murder her. He violated his restraining order 84x in Routt County.

Usually, when we talk about high crime rates, everyone points to Denver. Our streets are cleaner, our people are friendly, and our schools don’t have metal detectors at the entrance. We don’t think about crime until it hits close to home, and then those who see it up close know that our system is failing victims. The truth is, we have a dark way of handling domestic violence around these parts. Abusers are often let out on the streets on PR bonds, with no ankle monitor. They are free as they keep their victims in a prison of terror.

Local law enforcement feels helpless. I talked to one officer in Steamboat Springs who said, “The ink isn’t even dry on the arrest paperwork before they’re let out again.” What a thankless job. While rehabilitation of abusers is possible at times, the needs of victims must always come first, and law enforcement needs to be supported.

Here are some more examples: “In Routt County, 336 domestic violence cases from 2018 to 2020 resulted in the defendant being issued a PR bond…” Failure to protect: A system meant to support defendants often backfires on victims of domestic violence |

“‘a piece of paper won’t stop a gun or a knife blade. I’ve seen the scenario many times where someone gets arrested for domestic violence, they get out, and they’re arrested again within days,’ Karzen said. ‘At that point, the victim is terrorized, the victim loses trust in the system, and then the offender, to the extent there was hope of recovery and rehabilitation, is now facing more serious charges.’ Oak Creek shooter had history of domestic violence, was repeatedly let out on PR bond |

PR bonds should never be issued for violent crime. The main reason we keep violent criminals behind bars is to keep victims safe. Routt County is my backyard, and I’ve observed this locally for a few years now, but I hear these stories across the district. If you have one to share, please contact me at [email protected]. I want to keep you in mind as I work on this at the state Capitol.

Finally, I’m excited to receive the endorsement of my local sheriff, Garrett Wiggins. I’m proud that my local law enforcement friends are also backing my candidacy, putting up signs in their yards and telling their friends to vote for me. These men and women are my heroes, the ones who run towards the danger instead of away from it, and it is humbling to receive their support. They are villainized in Colorado just for doing their jobs. It was the same party who touted “defund the police,” who has also let abusers run free across the state, and seeks to disarm the innocent. I will always stand up for our law enforcement to be able to do their jobs with more training, not less funding. We need to support them as they defend the innocent.

Standing up for victims–this is what it means to #CrackdownOnCrime.

If you want to see a strong advocate for victims go to the Colorado State House, please invest in this campaign today. Our investment limit is $800 per person, and even $20 a month makes a big difference!

SOURCE: Savannah Wolfson for House District 26

Opinion: How we stop fentanyl distribution rings

Opinion: How we stop fentanyl distribution rings

Crime and public safety is a central and growing concern across the nation and here in Colorado. Fentanyl remains the single biggest public safety issue facing our state. While steps were taken at the state Capitol this year to try and address the situation, those steps did not go nearly far enough.

We have all seen and been angered at the headlines telling of fentanyl’s deadly toll among our young people. And it is not only those addicted to this poison who are falling victim to it. Increasingly, the deaths are coming to those who take what they consider less dangerous illicit drugs which happen to be laced with fentanyl. Now, more than ever, taking any drug is akin to playing Russian Roulette.

It goes without saying that the deaths inflicted by this pernicious synthetic opioid are the most serious, tragic, and important part of the equation. But what is often not understood, or is understated, is fentanyl’s role in driving crime overall.

The numbers from the federal and the Colorado bureaus of investigation paint a disturbing picture in the state: crime is up across the board, a trend which started well before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and which continues its devastating rise. Violent crime went up 17% between 2019 and 2021. Murder went up by 42%, making this one of the deadliest years in Colorado in decades. Property crime is up 20%. And vehicle theft, up a staggering 86%. A great deal of this increase can be attributed directly or indirectly to the importation, distribution, and use of fentanyl.

Distributing fentanyl is not merely a disorganized amateur undertaking, but a complex and sophisticated enterprise involving organized crime with their own hierarchies, networks, and resources. Over the past few months in the 18th Judicial District alone we have seized hundreds of thousands of deadly fentanyl pills from cartel-linked distributors, along with dozens of guns. The DEA conservatively estimates that 40% of those pills contain a potentially lethal dose.

To take a bite out of the cartel’s operations, district attorneys and law enforcement would benefit from the establishment of a statewide information fusion center that links cases between jurisdictions. With this kind of central coordination, intelligence developed from a case in, for example, Arapahoe County could be linked to an investigation of a distribution network in Mesa County.

In addition, the grant funding provided for in the Fentanyl Accountability Act, which goes into effect today, should be made available to local law enforcement agencies immediately. We can’t be bogged down by red tape when lives are on the line; police need the resources to fight this scourge now, instead of 10 months or a year from now. We must also leverage federal laws and the resources of federal partners to cover the many gaps in our state law.

The impact of all of this fentanyl-driven crime is devastating on individuals, families, businesses, and communities. More and more Coloradans leave their homes in the morning to find their vehicles missing, or to find their car’s catalytic converter has been sawed off while they were in the grocery store, costing them thousands. More and more Coloradans dare not go to a show or a restaurant in downtown Denver for fear of being mugged or worse. More and more Coloradans are terrified to send their kids to the store or a friend’s house, not knowing what might happen on the way. More and more businesses are shutting their doors or moving elsewhere after being broken into one too many times. Some businesses that choose to take their chances and remain in the downtown area are even charging “crime surcharges” to try and help cover their losses.

It is a shame that so much of this crime and social devastation is to finance and support an organized fentanyl distribution network that leaves a trail of death and hopelessness in its wake.

Political leaders at the state capitol recognized the seriousness of the fentanyl problem, if some did not quite grasp its full scope. A bill was passed in the final days of the legislative session to try and address the problem, and it included some good things – providing resources for the addicted, expanding access to Narcan, and other measures to try and reduce the harm done by this deadly drug. It also took a first step towards giving law enforcement the tools they need to combat this scourge by partially reversing the lamentable decision made two years ago to essentially decriminalize fentanyl by reducing possession of up to 4 grams of it to a misdemeanor. But so much more remains to be done.

The focus in recent years on the demand side of the equation – the addict – has been laudable, and those efforts need to continue. But just as the much-maligned “War on Drugs” over-focused exclusively on the supply side of the problem to the exclusion of addressing the problem of addiction, so does the new approach overlook the realities of fentanyl and its relationship to street crime.

This is not an academic exercise. Fentanyl is killing our young people, and the crime it spurs is impacting all Coloradans. Colorado’s neighborhoods should no longer be used as laboratories for exotic social experiments. Our political leaders need to recognize this is a crisis fueled by transnational criminal enterprises – cartels – and provide law enforcement and prosecutors the tools and support we need to be able to effectively combat it. This is our state, and it’s time we take it back from the dealers.

SOURCE: The Denver Post