My Fellow Coloradans,
Yesterday I traveled to Washington D.C. to meet with the President at the White House to advocate for additional resources for Colorado’s recovery and response efforts.
Despite the risk associated with traveling long distances during this pandemic, I felt it was important to make the trip so that the President could hear first-hand what’s really going on in communities across Colorado that are being ravaged by this virus.
We’ve made significant progress here in our state, but until there is a cure or a vaccine, we will continue to stay home when we can and wear facial masks when we go out and we need national support to weather the public health and the economic crisis that this virus has caused.
During our conversation and through recent correspondence, I asked the President for specific resources that only the federal government has the capacity to supply during this time:
- Support for testing supplies and contact tracing so that we test more Coloradans for coronavirus and isolate those who have come in contact with an infected individual. This will allow us to relax more restrictions on our economy and our society and act quickly to prevent outbreaks and save lives.
- Shipments of personal protective equipment, including gloves, masks, gowns, face shields, and other equipment that can protect our health care personnel and frontline workers. This is incredibly important for our senior care facilities where the population is extremely vulnerable to COVID-19.
- Ability to purchase protective equipment from vendors. If the federal government cannot provide the supplies that we need, then Colorado needs to be able to purchase them on the open market.
- Extending the federal government’s pre-existing commitment to fully fund Colorado National Guard activities -- including care at congregate facilities like nursing homes -- through the end of the year.
- Continued support to small business, through the Payroll Protection Program that allows small businesses to continue to pay staff through the pandemic, and additional support so small businesses, especially in our tourism, restaurant, and hospitality sectors, so they can make it through these tough times and help pay for additional protective measures like glass dividers between employees and customers.
- Support for small producers/family farmers and ranchers so that Colorado’s agricultural sector can continue to thrive and provide the nation with Colorado-grown-and-raised food.
- Support for state and local governments so that we can meet emergency needs.
- Additional funding for Medicaid to prevent hundreds of thousands of Coloradans from losing their health care through no fault of their own.
Furthermore, I asked the President and the Secretary of the Interior to:
- Have the Bureau of Land Management and Interior Department work with local gateway communities to our national parks (e.g. Estes Park and Grand Junction) to honor our local host community perspectives and help limit the likelihood of an outbreak when these communities receive summer visitors.
- Support and sign the CORE (Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy) Act. While many venues -- sporting events, concerts, bars -- are still too dangerous to open, outdoor recreation is one of the safest and healthiest activities you can do during the COVID crisis.
As you know, the President and I don’t always see eye-to-eye, but the people of Colorado elected me to fight for their interests, and that includes working with anyone at any level of government -- regardless of political party -- who can help to protect our state from this terrible virus and prevent unnecessary deaths.
I hope that the President will make good on his commitments to the state of Colorado, and rest assured my administration will do all we can to secure the support we need to weather the storm.
Governor Jared Polis