Democrat Sen. Morgan Carroll is running against incumbent Republican Rep. Mike Coffman to represent District 6 (Aurora, Centennial, Highlands Ranch, Brighton, Littleton and other areas) in the U.S. House of Representatives. Carroll formerly served as the president of the Colorado State Senate 2013–2014 and as minority leader in 2015.
Carroll represented Aurora in the Colorado House of Representatives. (Find your district)
1) Which candidate do you support in the presidential race and why?
When you put Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s resumes side by side, the choice couldn’t be more clear. I think she will be better for workers, the middle class, civil rights, and the environment.
2) Why did you decide to go in to politics?
My dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease when I was two years old. He worked hard, saved – and lost all of his savings due to medical bills. After high school, I spent years working at a gas station, a video store, and as an office secretary – all without benefits and health insurance – to pay the bills and put myself through CU Denver and CU School of Law. Those experiences deepened my commitment to standing up for Colorado’s middle class families. Following law school, my mother and I opened up one of the only mother-daughter law firms in the country. I have always been an advocate for people and I felt I could help make needed policy changes. I have always been an advocate for people and I felt I could help make needed policy changes.
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3) On balance, is the Affordable Care Act working? Please describe what (if any) changes you would make to the nation’s healthcare system if you had the power to enact a plan.
I believe health care is a right and that everyone should have access to affordable health care. Too many people are still paying too much for too little health care. During my service in the state legislature, I led the charge for increased oversight on insurance premiums in Colorado and passed legislation that resulted in over $250 million in rejected rate hikes going back to individuals, small businesses, and local governments. The Affordable Care Act has reduced the number of uninsured, and stopped the insurance practice of denying people, like my dad, coverage due to pre-existing conditions. But health care is still too expensive. We need to improve the Affordable Care Act – not repeal it. I support a public option and think we must address the underlying costs of health care, including prescription drugs, by allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices.
4) Please describe a time when you found common ground with a political opponent.
I am proud of my track record of finding areas to work with my colleagues across the aisle to get real results. When I was a freshman legislator, I was overwhelmed by the army of lobbyists who came to the State Capitol to pressure lawmakers to pass bills. There was no transparency around this process – so I wrote a bill so that Coloradans could see which lobbyists were pushing for which bills. I was told by members of my own party and by a Republican governor that it was never going to happen. But working with Republicans, we passed that bill through the House– and it was signed into law. I also worked with Republicans acros the aisle to form the first aerial firefighting fleet in Colorado and pass needed HOA reforms.
5) What should be the role (if anything) of government in reducing gun violence?
I believe all law-abiding people have the right to own firearms. I also believe that weapons should be kept out of the hands of dangerous criminals and terrorists. Gun violence is personal to me. I live five minutes from where the movie theater shooting occurred in Aurora. I have talked with survivors who were in the theater and talked with grieving families who lost loved ones in that massacre. Senseless gun violence has taken too many lives, broken too many hearts, and too many homes. How many gun deaths are enough before Congress will act? I support criminal background checks before purchases of all firearms, as do most people. Congress needs to act to pass a national universal criminal background check law on all gun purchases.
6) What should the minimum wage be?
People who work hard should be able to earn a living wage that can support a family. I know what it is like to work for minimum wage. I worked multiple minimum wage jobs, struggling to pay the bills, and I know what it is like to work 80 hours per week with no health insurance, and no sick leave. I also know what it means to run a small business and to have to make payroll, even if you have to take a bank loan to do it. The minimum wage right now is $8.31 an hour in Colorado, and no one can pay the bills or raise a family on that. Wages that are too low simply shift costs on the taxpayers and keep people trapped in a cycle of poverty. I’ve lived both sides of this issue, and I wholeheartedly support increasing Colorado’s minimum wage to $12 by 2020.
7) When (if ever) is threatening a government shutdown an acceptable strategy?
The recent Congress has been one of the least productive in recent history and we are facing a crisis of confidence in the fundamental system of American democracy, due to obstructionism, government shutdowns, threats of debt default, and a greater emphasis on scoring cheap political points over doing the people’s business. This is unacceptable. Shutting down the government is not leadership, and it is not a strategy.
8) Should local governments be allowed to place restrictions, moratoriums and bans on fracking?
I support local control.
9) If you could make one change to the tax law, what would it be and why?
I support tax policies that would have billionaires and large corporations pay their fair share to lighten the burden on the working and middle class. When billionaires like Donald Trump pay little to no taxes, but middle class people and small businesses are paying taxes -- and our country can’t pay for the roads and schools we need – something is wrong. Doing so would bring in more revenue so we can better invest in education and infrastructure in our communities.
10) What should be done to address the rift between minority communities and police in this country?
I believe that by crafting smart legislation that acknowledges the disparities at hand in our criminal justice systems, and by listening to, and working alongside the communities and law enforcement agencies who would be directly impacted by proposed legislation, that we will be able to achieve real results on this issue. We must enact criminal justice reform measures to increase the accountability and oversight of law enforcement agencies related to excessive use of force. We must also improve data collection related to arrests and convictions by race and ethnicity to then be able to hold agencies accountable and increase transparency.