2023 Leg Session, Exclusives, Gold Dome, Uncategorized, Weld County

Cooke: Unelected Senator Kevin Priola disregards Weld County

If you’re reading this, chances are that you’re more aware of the horrific policy coming out of the Colorado capitol than most citizens. However, do your family, friends, and neighbors know?

You also know that I proudly served the people of Weld County as your Sheriff for 12 years and then eight years as your State Senator for Senate District 13. In each capacity, I fought against the progressive left that has seized control of our state and threatened our personal and economic freedom. With term limits, I retired from the State Senate when the gavel dropped on the 2023 legislative session.

Unfortunately, the new senator representing SD-13 is Kevin Priola (D-Adams County). He claims he’s been representing us since being drawn into the district after redistricting took place post-2020 census. Yes, he was drawn into the district. Not elected from the district.

Color me skeptical about Sen. Priola’s commitment to the Weld County residents of SD-13. The party-fluid senator who transitioned from Republican to Democrat just last year – after Republicans spent millions in 2020 getting him re-elected to his previous district – can’t be bothered to meet his new constituents in Weld County. All of you who call Greeley, Evans, LaSalle, Milliken, Gilcrest, Platteville, and Fort Lupton home, it seems that Sen. Priola just isn’t that into you.

If Senator Priola bothered to reach out to the diverse constituents who live in these communities, he would find that, regardless of political affiliation, he IS NOT representing his constituents and our communities’ values.

How many of you support having in your neighborhood a government-hosted, taxpayer-funded safe space for addicts to shoot up, inhale, or ingest illegal drugs without fear of being arrested for possession or use of these drugs?

Not only does Sen. Priola think this is great idea, he is also actually a sponsor of legislation to allow these ‘safe’ injection sites.  Addicts deserve our help getting treatment so they can overcome their addiction. Nowhere in his bill does Sen. Priola even mention treatment or rehabilitation. Instead, he believes in keeping addicted to the very drug that is destroying their ability to enjoy any quality of life.

While Priola is content keeping people on illegal drugs, he is all in on a bill that would slap a new “fee” on alcohol distributors for treatment and rehabilitation associated with alcohol abuse. We all know this “fee” is really a tax that will be passed along to Colorado consumers. It’s no surprise that Priola is fine circumventing our Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR). He’s been openly hostile toward TABOR his entire time at the legislature.

If you’re at all concerned about the prescription drug crisis and/or youth mental health in Colorado, you, your family, friends, and neighbors should learn more about Priola’s bill that will allow psychologists to prescribe and administer psychotropic medications.

If Priola bothered to meet the good people of SD-13 who I had the honor of representing, he’d learn that issues like the cost of living and excessively high utility bills are top of mind in our community. Speaking of your high utility bill, Priola is one of the main culprits. He’s been a reliable vote for Xcel Energy and the progressive left’s spate of green new deal bills that have driven rates up and reliability down.

Now that Priola is no longer encumbered by a faux concern for small business and economic prosperity, he freely signed onto the “Average Weekly Wage Paid Leave Benefits” bill that already expands on the paid family leave mandate that voters passed in 2022 before the first Colorado worker is even eligible to file a claim.

If Senator Priola won’t bother to meet his new constituents, feel free to email him at kevin.priola.senate@coleg.gov. It’s time to educate Sen. Priola on Weld County values and concerns.

John Cooke is the former Senate District 13 representative, as well as former Weld County Sheriff.


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