What makes you the best choice for this office?
I am the only candidate who has fought for survivors in the courtroom and brought reform to this community. During my decade of service as a Deputy DA here, I designed programs to keep kids out of the system and addressed human trafficking through prosecution and policy. Unlike my opponent, I have seen the system from more than one angle, as a magistrate judge working on bail bond reform, to a victim rights attorney with the preeminent nonprofit in Colorado. I have a track record of transformative and collaborative leadership that stretches far beyond the bounds of the courthouse.
If elected, what would your top issue be?
My top issue will be keeping our community safe by ensuring we are prioritizing the ethical and effective prosecution of violent people who are a substantial risk to our community. This prioritization goes hand in hand with expanding our diversionary options for low-risk, low-level folks who can stabilize in our community without criminalization. It also means, ensuring our jail has the capacity to house people who are too dangerous for our streets, and increase transparency and accountability in our DA’s Office so we can dialogue with our community about inequities in our system and how we can improve our practices.
If elected, what would you want to accomplish in order for you to consider the term a success?
Under my leadership, we will elevate Jeffco & Gilpin to the forefront of government transparency, accountability, and community engagement. Building on my track record of reform, we will take on old problems and develop new solutions through collaborative leadership, particularly for young people and those dealing with issues of poverty, mental illness, and addiction. For those who put our community at risk, we will prosecute violent crimes with the utmost ethical standards. With these changes, we will work to recruit a more diverse staff who are focused on improving safety for everyone in our community without relying on the status quo.
With budget cuts and COVID-19 straining the county jail, how best can the DA's office respond?
Jeffco must commit to evidence-based and fiscally responsible bond reform. Over incarcerating low-level and low-risk folks destabilizes them and increases recidivism. The DA’s Office should not be in the business of increasing crime with archaic bond practices. Having already led bond reform as a magistrate judge, I will ensure that the jail is for dangerous people, not folks who can be stabilized in the community. Further, by expanding our diversion model, people can engage in treatment and restorative justice without the jail. Local law enforcement is already leading this effort, it’s time for the DA’s Office to lead too.
How would you ensure racial bias would not affect how the DA's office conducts its work?
Since I began this campaign, before George Floyd’s murder, I was championing data collection and transparency to address systemic racism. The DA is a powerful public servant who is obligated to answer tough questions including whether people are treated differently because of their identity. Once answered, we must dialogue with our community, including police, about moving forward together with solutions to address systemic inequity and public safety. Under my leadership, we have an opportunity to raise the bar in government transparency. The integrity of the justice system is earned and we will do so through accountability to those we serve.
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