Cagin For Colorado State House

June 2018: A Winning Message: Tax the Rich

June 30, 2018

Filed under Campaign Diary

June 10 Here’s a new thought about canvassing, obvious but not often observed: there is no better way for a candidate to get to really know his district.  What else but canvassing would cause any person to walk every street in a district, talking to strangers about politics? How else would a candidate be able to have a conversation with so many people of all stripes? Win or lose, by the end of this campaign, I will deeply know the voters of the 58th House District, to the extent that such knowledge is possible. This is one reason canvassing is effective. Many voters appreciate the effort that goes into it, and for the right reason. A candidate like me, who is canvassing (almost) every day is not powered by money but instead by some kind of crazy devotion to a concept of democracy. There are core Democratic Party values that almost all voters agree with: everyone should be able to afford health insurance, schools should be adequately funded, public lands should be protected. Occasionally someone will push back against one of those precepts. But here’s the big surprise. “How ...

February 2018: Let’s Talk

February 28, 2018

Filed under Campaign Diary

Monday, February 5 I am in Denver, where I participated in a visit with state officials jointly sponsored by the three organizations that represent rural counties. The event consisted of presentations by department heads and legislative leaders to bring the group of visiting local officials, business leaders and interested citizens  from Colorado's outback up to speed on the most pressing issues the state faces. Those most pressing issues all revolve around money, or more precisely the shortage of money, because the state and the local jurisdictions within the state have all been handcuffed by provisions voters enacted into the state constitution during the “taxpayer revolt” of the 1980s and 1990s, severely restricting the government’s ability to raise taxes. The biggest problem is that both the Gallagher Amendment (restricting property taxes) and TABOR (the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights) ratchet down tax rates using inflexible formulas, while raising any tax always requires voter approval.  Rural counties and towns are particularly affected, because rural voters are so reluctant to raise t...

December 2017: Finding a Path to Victory.

December 31, 2017

Filed under Campaign Diary

Monday, December 3 Life intervenes again. I’ve been sidelined by a nasty eye infection that has made it impossible to go out and talk to people and difficult to read and write. It should clear up in about ten days, says the doctor. Ten days? An election can be lost in far less time than that! Still, I’ve been heartened by very generous donations totaling over $2,000 already, and this has come just from my email list and website. This is a sign, I believe, that many citizens have been energized by the last year of life under Trump, and are eager to fight back at every level of politics. Just as I’ve been galvanized into taking on this seemingly impossible task of running as a progressive candidate for the Colorado House of Representatives in a conservative district, others have been unusually supportive of me.  In a typical year, a longshot bid like mine would not gain much traction. I sense that this year we all understand the wisdom that we need to transform our politics from the grass roots up. We all get it that there is in fact a direct if modest link between capturing the 58th House Dis...

November 2017: I’m Really Doing This.

November 30, 2017

Filed under Campaign Diary

Monday, November 13. Last Tuesday, Virginia Democrats did something miraculous. They won seats by being themselves in gerrymandered districts that nobody thought were winnable. This was a test of the political theory that says Democrats need to work a lot harder, and also a lot differently, in response to Trump and Trumpism. It’s a theory that says we need to build from the grassroots up if we have any hope of overcoming the reactionary pressures threatening not just our democracy but the survival of humanity on this Earth.  The theory posits that Democrats need to run in every district, even in districts that appear to be unfavorable turf. We need to talk to people in three broad categories: those who lean Democratic but may be discouraged, those who lean Republican but would consider voting for a Democrat, and those who rarely vote at all. We need to meet the voters and potential voters where they are, at home. We need to talk to them about the issues that concern them. We need to find the common ground – where their issues overlap with progressive values, even if they are unaware of it ...