Opinion: Now is the time for fundamental change | SteamboatToday.com

Opinion: Now is the time for fundamental change

James Iacino
For Steamboat Pilot & Today

Last Friday, June 19, many white Americans celebrated and recognized Juneteenth, the day that the last slaves learned of their emancipation in Texas in 1865, for the first time. An event that should have been the beginning of a new chapter in our country’s history instead turned into a short-lived period of reconstruction, followed by decades of devastating Jim Crow laws targeted at preventing Black Americans from participating in our civic, social and economic processes. By 1964, President Johnson was able to sign into law the Civil Rights Act, and soon after the Voting Rights Act, enshrining that everyone is created equal, regardless of the color of their skin.

Despite these protections, the nearly 60 years since of the passage of the Civil Rights Act have been wrought with violence and prejudice against black Americans. We celebrated last Friday not because our society has championed justice, but because we have failed to. It’s devastating that it took the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless others for us to publicly reckon with our dark history of oppression, but this is where we are today.

James Iacino is running for U.S. representative in the 3rd Congressional District against Diane Mitsch Bush in the Democratic primary.

Moving forward we need to have tough but important conversations on policing and the entire criminal justice system, and we need to implement policies that end the cycle of hate that we have yet to rise above.

Maybe fittingly, the discourse around these issues has arisen during what may be the largest period of economic unrest our country has seen since the Great Depression. Even with marginal job growth in May, over 40 million Americans are still without work since the onset of the global pandemic.

Now is the time to make the fundamental change that our country needs to transform our society and our economy. We have the ability to correct the course Colorado and our country have been set upon, but we need leaders to guide us there, not politicians who have proven they are more interested in personal gain and partisan interests.

Scott Tipton has failed to bring real representation for Southern and Western Colorado to Congress for the past decade. He has been an empty voice for special interests and a rubber stamp for the current administration. We have some of the highest health care costs in the entire country, yet he has voted consistently to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and defund rural hospitals.

On Tipton’s watch, we have seen the economy shift away from coal, but no plans or contingencies put into place to help communities like Craig and Nucla transition their economic base. Rather than fighting to end racial inequity and help Colorado recover, Scott Tipton has spent the last three months investigating Chinese leadership and playing the blame game.

This failure in representation combined with the systemic inequities that have left minorities and rural America behind is why I am running for Congress.

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Under my leadership, we tripled the size of our family business and put 200 Coloradans from communities across the state to work with good union jobs, and we made Seattle Fish a global leader on sustainability and environmental protection, which earned us the recognition of Green Business of the Year.

We need a representative that will stand up for us, who will work with like-minded leaders to start fixing these problems, lead us out of this crisis and build an economy that works for everyone. I’ve been endorsed by leaders like Ken and John Salazar and Phil Weiser because they know that I have the background to beat Scott Tipton. I ask that you join us with your vote on June 30.

James Iacino, a Democrat, is running for U.S. representative in the 3rd Congressional District.

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