Weekly Democratic Address
December 28, 2018
Good morning. My name is Joe Neguse, and I’m honored to be the Representative-Elect for Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District.
The election results this past November give me so much hope that, together, we can restore the future for my newborn daughter’s generation. And when my colleagues and I take the oath and are sworn into the 116th Congress in just a few days, that will be our focus – to stand up for our children’s future, and for the future of working families across our country.
Unfortunately, as we have seen this past week, we have a long way to go to restoring common sense to Washington, DC. We watched President Trump drive our nation into a needless and destructive Trump Shutdown, right in the middle of the holidays.
Literally, as we speak, over 420,000 Federal Employees across the country are going without pay, including firefighters in our national forests, TSA agents who secure us all during our holiday travel, and countless others.
The partisanship, rancor and dysfunction of the Trump Shutdown is exactly what voters rebuked in November. And that is why on January 3rd, when the New Democratic House Majority arrives, we will bring the hope, vision and goals of effective governance back to the forefront.
We will not only swiftly pass legislation to reopen government, but ensure that the government is responsible, ethical and is truly of, by and for the people.
It is with that message and directive in mind, that the Democratic Majority will also make restoring our democracy a top priority with the passage of HR 1. This bill will begin to clean up the mess in Washington, D.C. by doing three critical things: securing our elections, reducing the power of special interests in political campaigns, and increasing ethical standards for our elected officials.
For too long, we have seen insidious efforts to prevent certain types of voters from voting – whether it’s by creating barriers to registration, shutting down polling places, or preventing common-sense upgrades to our voting systems, too many Americans are blocked from the ballot-box. That ends with passage of the HR 1.
We will work not only to automate voter registration but also to expand access to voting through early, absentee, and in-person methods. Here in Colorado, where we’ve taken many of these same steps, we’ve seen people engage in their democracy in record-breaking numbers, including in my district, District 2. It’s long past time we do the same at the national level.
HR 1 will also work to protect the security and sanctity of our voting systems against nefarious attempts from outside sources to influence our elections. And because voting is one of the most important of our civil rights, we will commit to full reinstatement of the Voting Rights Act, which in recent years had been weakened by hostile and wrong-headed court decisions. Put simply, every voter matters, and every vote must count.
The second tenet of HR 1 is to make our campaigns clean and deprive Big Money of its ability to drown out the voices of regular citizens. HR 1 will require complete disclosure of political spending by special interest groups, it will clean up our oversight of elections and amplify the voices of every day Americans, not big business.
Finally, Democrats will clean up the culture in Washington, DC. Over the past two years, we have all witnessed what happens when public officials and public servants attempt to enrich themselves, when foreign entities and big business can exert influence through loopholes and work-arounds, and when an Administration acts unethically at every turn.
The result is higher health care costs, hard-working families struggling to keep up, more pollution in our air and our water, and now literally a Trump Shutdown of our own government.
HR 1 will change that. The bill will strengthen our ethics laws and make sure that when voters send someone to Washington, D.C., they are serving the public and not themselves.
HR 1 will be the bedrock of everything we do in the next two years, reminding us that when it works, the United States of America has the best form of government ever invented. We can do big things. We can be bold in our ideas and bold in our solutions. We can take bold action to lower health care costs and prescription drug prices, raise paychecks, end gun violence, rebuild our infrastructure and fight climate change.
But we know that first we have to restore trust, faith, transparency, and hope in our government, and remind Americans that this government truly belongs to all of us. The Democratic Majority is going to do just that, and HR 1 is the first step in that process.
Happy holidays from my family to yours and I wish you and your families a healthy and happy New Year.