From The Denver Post.com:
Green Party’s Jill Stein says Colorado leading the way to the future
With ballot proposals that would revamp the state’s health care system, raise the minimum wage, and allow local governments to regulate fracking, Colorado is blazing a path that the rest of the country should follow, Jill Stein, Green Party presidential candidate told a crowd in Denver.
“Colorado is leading the charge. These are the things we need to do at the national level,” Stein, a 66-year-old physician, told a packed house at the Mercury Cafe on Sunday.
Stein said providing Medicare for all U.S. citizens would revitalize the poorly working health care system by redirecting funds into services that now are spent on administration, bloated salaries for executives, and other costs.
“Ultimately, we want to go to a single-payer system. Amendment 69 (the Colorado “Medicare for all” proposal) gets us started,” she said.
Also on Colorado’s Nov. 8 ballot is an amendment to raise the minimum wage to $12-an-hour by 2020.
The governors of both New York and California have signed bills that will raise the hourly minimum to $15. But even that boost will barely bring low-wage workers out of poverty, Stein said.
“But the $12 minimum is a start,” Stein said. “I applaud you for making a big step forward.”
Ballot initiative 75 would allow local governments to regulate fracking within their borders, and another initiative, 78, would require new oil and gas wells to be at least 2,500 feet from homes and schools.
The measures were put on the ballot after the Colorado Supreme Court ruled in May that bans by Fort Collins and Loveland on hydraulic fracturing, commonly called fracking, were pre-empted by state law.
Stein said the two fracking ballot measures would give communities the ability to protect their residents.
While the oil and gas industry says that fracking, which involves injecting sand, water and chemicals into the ground to free natural gas deposits, is safe, environmental advocates say the chemicals can leach into groundwater, and cause health problems.
“Colorado is ground zero in fracking,” Stein said.
Stein also addressed what she called a crisis of police violence. Every community should have a civilian review board that would have subpoena power to investigate police, she said.
“The violence isn’t new, what is new is the video cameras in our cell phones,” she said.
She also suggested creating a national commission to start a series of conversations about racism and other social ills.
A Green Party administration would rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, to make it a “fair trade agreement, not a free trade agreement.”
The unrest in the Middle East and the resulting refugee crisis were caused by U.S. military actions, Stein said. “What created ISIS grew out of the catastrophes of Iraq and Libya.”
The U.S. needs to launch a weapons embargo that would cut off the sale of arms in war-torn regions, she said.
“We have been a major supplier of weapons in the mideast and all around the world. These wars are making us less secure and at the same time damaging our budget.”
She also called for a green jobs program that would create 20 million well-paying jobs in the renewable energy sector. Climate change threatens the planet, and “the only future we have is a green, just and sustainable future.”