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Opinion: Why this lifelong Democrat sees two problematic U.S. Senate candidates

I am a lifelong Democrat, former U.S. Senate candidate, community activist and non-profit executive. This U.S. Senate race started off with a lot of hope and energy, and sadly it was dwindled down to two remaining candidates. 

There has been a surge during these very necessary and powerful Black Lives Matter protests of support for Andrew Romanoff because of John Hickenlooper’s  championing of broken-windows policies that led to over-policing in Black and brown communities. 

There are people, many of you who are reading this, that are expressly calling attention to this truth and to Hick’s completely tone deaf and ignorant comment that “All Lives Matter” while in the same breath hailing Romanoff for being the racial justice champion. 

Lorena Garcia

This is what I have to say: both candidates are problematic. Neither candidate has earned the title of being a racial justice champion. There is no lesser of two evils, there is only one candidate who is choosing to use progressive talking points.

Romanoff is responsible for the country’s harshest anti-immigrant policies in the country in 2006 and especially HB-1023, which continues to impact immigrant communities today. 

He and many have tried to say “it was 2006 … it was so long ago … get over it … he’s apologized,” and yet, Romanoff uses his legislative record to demonstrate why he is qualified and Colorado’s best choice. This issue and his immigration position should not be off limits, just like Hick’s broken window and pro oil and gas record should not be ignored. 

This is not an anti-Romanoff letter, nor an anti-Hick letter. This is a “wake up and stop being a hypocrite” post. It is offensive to see defenses of Romanoff’s record because he knows to use the words “Black Lives Matter,” yet does not think the lives and families of immigrants matter. 

While he apologized, words mean nothing if not followed up with action, and this means more than showing up to clean up after the protests. I have not seen any action, just like I have not seen any action on Hick’s part to make up for the over-policing of our communities.

If you are calling out Hick for his racist comments and actions and yet not calling out Romanoff for his, you are not anti-racist. You are an enabler.

Are either of these candidates better than Cory Gardner? Yes. We know that either candidate will continue to protect Roe v Wade. We know that either candidate will support protections for the LGBTIQ population. And we know that either candidate will support greater investment in mental health services.

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So, I will support whoever wins the primary, regardless of my opinions about the equitable nature of how this election was handled during COVID-19.

And in keeping with my commitment during the campaign trail, I will support them, by holding them accountable and calling out their flaws so they can be better. 

But right now, I need to call out anyone who claims to be allies and yet are willing to sacrifice one community over another. The Democratic Party will continue to flail if we don’t evaluate our prejudices and our double standards. The reality is if we lose the U.S. Senate race, it is because these two candidates are problematic.


Lorena Garcia is a Denver resident, former U.S. Senate candidate, nonprofit executive and community activist. @lorenaforsenate 


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