Endorsed by Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards, Senator Aguilar & Leader Ken Salazar

Democratic Candidate for Colorado
House District 9 Southeast Denver

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I will fight forward for Southeast Denver

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Updates

Be The Change You Wish To See.

I am proud to announce the endorsement of Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado and national reproductive rights leader and author Cecile Richards (formerly the Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Federation of America). I spent four years as the Senior Policy and Political Director for PPVC, where I worked every day to protect and work on pro-active policies around reproductive health care and education.


“We are excited to support Ashley in the upcoming election. PPVC endorses candidates who trust individuals to make their own health care decisions, including decisions about abortion care. No one has stood stronger for reproductive rights in our state. Ashley will prioritize health care access and reproductive justice for all Coloradans, especially those most marginalized by our health care system. She will continue to be a champion for the people of HD9 and all our communities,” said Sarah Taylor-Nanista, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado.


"I am so proud to be endorsed by the organization that provides and fights for women's health care every single day. Planned Parenthood is vital to so many of our communities, and has helped tens of thousands of Coloradans be able to take care of their own health and futures. I will fight for reproductive rights, health, and education, alongside Planned Parenthood in the Colorado legislature," said Ashley Wheeland.


Ballots are out! Here are the details!


1) All ballots are due June 26 by 7pm

2) Check out the nearest drop box to return your ballot here 

3) If mailing use 2 stamps and mail by June 20th to be safe

4) Unaffiliated voters will receive TWO ballots, but can ONLY VOTE WITH ONE. Destroy the ballot you do not vote 

5) The sooner you vote the sooner you are taken off everybody's call and knock list (but still take the time to research your choices and vote for who you believe in)

6) Denver residents can trace your ballot from mail to verification.



Upcoming Events:



Other Opportunities to help:


Clean Campaign Pledge


I have signed the Colorado Democratic Party's Clean Campaign Pledge. I support the pledge and the ethics it promotes, and have been abiding by it every single day of this campaign.


This promise includes:

    

  • I will run a clean and truthful campaign. 
  • My campaign will be based on facts and issues. 
  • I will focus on my vision for this office and what I have to offer.  
  • I will focus on my values, identifying problems in the community and my ideas for solving them. 
  • Identifying differences on policies, platform or positions is fair -- if factual, supported and not distorted. 
  • I will not engage in personal attacks or smears against the other Democrats in this primary race. 
  • I will encourage my supporters or volunteers to refrain from engaging in personal attacks or smears against the other Democrats in this primary race. 
  • I understand that primary attacks are short-sighted because I will need the support of the other candidates and their supporters to win a General Election, if I am the Primary nominee. 
  • I will run my Primary with an eye toward running and winning in the General Election. 



My Endorsements from Colorado Leaders

In my career in advocacy and policy I have worked with these leaders who now support me for HD9:

Former Senator and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar

Cecile Richards, National Reproductive Rights Leader and Author

Former Colorado Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald

Former Colorado Senate President John Morse

Former Speaker of the House Dickey Lee Hullinghorst

Former State Senator Betty Boyd State

State Senator Irene Aguilar

State Senator Rachel Zenzinger

State Senator Kerry Donovan

State Representative Jessie Danielson

State Representative Susan Lontine

State Representative Brittany Pettersen

State Representative Jeff Bridges

State Representative Daneya Esgar

State Representative Matt Gray

State Representative Dafna Michaelson Jenet

State Representative Dominique Jackson

State Representative Faith Winter

State Representative Edie Hooton

State Representative Dylan Roberts

State Representative Chris Kennedy

State Representative Tracy Kraft-Tharp

State Representative Joann Ginal

State Representative Janet Buckner 

State Representative Leslie Herod

Northglenn City Council Member Jenny Willford


Organizational Support

Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado

#VoteProChoice

Colorado BlueFlower Action Fund 

Moms Demand Action Candidate of Distinction

Colorado Ceasefire

SARAH (Sexual and Reproductive Advocates in Healthcare)


Community Leader Supporters

Mark Thrun, Colorado LGBTQ Advocate and Doctor

Karla Garcia Gonzales, Colorado Reproductive Justice Advocate

Dusty Gurule, Reproductive Justice Advocate

Jean Richards, HD9 Resident 

Kristen Seidel, HD9 Resident and Community Leader

Jessica Zender, Colorado Community Leader 

Peg Perl, HD9 resident and Colorado Community Leader

Jose Silva, Colorado Education Activist

Courtney Gray, Colorado Transgender Rights Activist

Lindsay Zaback, Colorado Diaper Bank Coordinator

Sue Brown, Colorado Environmental Community Leader

Raana Simmons, Colorado Women's  Rights Advocate

Steve Sherick, Doctor and Colorado Community Leader

Katie Farnan, Community Leader 

Dana Miller, Community Leader 

Michele Lawonn, HD9 Resident

Bruce Adams, HD9 Resident

Anna Crawford, Colorado Reproductive Justice Advocate

Katie Mills, Colorado Reproductive Justice Advocate

Kayla McCarnes, HD9 Resident

Ann Meisel, HD9 Resident and retired teacher

Sarah Parady, Civil Rights Lawyer

Tony Massaro, Environmental Activist 

Ann Sarsen, HD9 Resident 

Colin Averill, Colorado Community Activist

Daniel Gonzales, Colorado Voting Rights Activist

Colorado Reverend Laura Rossbert

Gail DeVore, Colorado Health Care Advocate and HD9 Resident

Amanda Henderson, Pastor and Colorado Community Leader

Leah and Rachel Pryor-Lease, HD9 Residents

Adam Fox, Colorado Health Care Advocate

Jill Wildenberg, Colorado Community Leader 

Halisi Vinson, HD9 Resident and Colorado Community Leader 

Dede dePercin, Colorado Non-profit Leader

Brooke Baxa, HD9 Resident, Community Activist, Digital Strategist

Courtney Knapp, Colorado Community Activist

Joyce Lisbin, Colorado Health Educator

Leo Kattari, Health Equity Advocate

Erin Bennett, Community Leader and Activist

Laura Reinsch, Colorado Community Activist

Toni Panetta, Health Policy Activist

Iman Jodeh, Colorado Community Advocate

Sarah Taylor-Nanista, Reproductive Rights Advocate

M. Radhika Nath, HD9 Resident 

Scott Harpin, HD9 Resident

Krista and Mark Overly, HD9 Residents

Frank and Jenny Nate Cornelia, HD9 Residents

Jon Cefkin, HD9 Resident and teacher

Sharon O'Hara, HD9 Resident and Health Care Advocate

Adria Pearson, HD9 Resident and Psychologist


My Platform

Health Care

I support universal health care that is not based on profits. I have worked for seven years in health care policy, as an attorney. As a representative I will be a leader on moving our state forward to ensure universal health care for every person.  I support policy to create a public option for Coloradans to get health care coverage.


Policies I support include creation of a Medicaid buy-in option for more low income Coloradans, legislation to respond to marketplace inflations because of federal actions (or inactions), investments in health navigation and medical home models, prescription drug transparency and negotiation programs, health care service cost transparency, and much more. I also support creation of a national program for health care coverage, but believe it must be carefully created with all stakeholder input, including the disability community.

Education

I am the product of Colorado's public schools. I went to neighborhood schools all over our state. I will fight for equity for all kids in our schools, and fight for our teachers to get the pay and respect they deserve. I will work towards dismantling the constraints TABOR puts on our education systems. 


I will also work to make higher education and technical education opportunities accessible. It has become harder and harder for many of Colorado's people to pursue the careers they want and deserve.


I have worked to support our schools and students, including support of the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, which gathers data from youth about their behaviors - to help schools and the state respond to the needs of all of our youth (including our LGBTQ youth). An education policy I would like to work on immediately are improvements to our health education and comprehensive sex education across the state. I believe our young people need accurate information about their own health to lead safe, supportive and happy lives. 



Economy

While some in Colorado are prospering,  others continue to face economic hardships that impact their families. The costs of everyday expenses in Colorado continue to rise putting many families in a place where they cannot plan for their futures. I have, and will continue to fight for policies to help them, including paid family leave,  living wages, the benefits families need, and for policies to ensure retirement security for more Coloradans.


As a caretaker of my mother who has serious health challenges since a car accident, I know all to well the economic barriers people face when caring for loved ones. This is one reason I have testified year after year in support of the bill to create a paid family leave insurance program. I waited to go to work when my mom needed me, to my own economic detriment, and I think every family should be able to do that without such impacts.


I have also been supportive of workers' rights throughout my career, standing beside those who have fought for collective bargaining in their workplaces. I have testified in support of bills to ensure protections of employees' rights and benefits, and against those that undermine them. I have and will support policies that make it so all Colorado families can thrive.

Environment

I love Colorado. Many weekends you will find my dog Ruthie and I out hiking in our beautiful parks. 


I will fight for our environment, including protections of our public lands and less use of fuels and substances that hurt our environment. I will work on and support policies that instead use energy resources that protect our health and state's beauty - renewable energy sources. I believe we need strong state regulations for oil and gas excavation, and that local communities should be able to decide if they will permit drilling and fracking.  

Campaign Finance

Our campaign finance systems are broken and corporate interests have too much power in politics. I will work on reforms to our state  campaign finance rules that ensure the people of Colorado are heard, not drowned out by special interests.  I do not accept corporate PAC money, and have rejected several offers of it. Furthermore, more than 80% of my donors are from Colorado. I am also proud to have strong support from the HD9 community.

Criminal Justice Reform

I believe we need a justice system that works for all of our communities. I support policies and proposals to ensure all of our communities, law enforcement agencies, the courts and our government bodies, including the legislature and Executive agencies, are working together. We need to ensure all voices are heard, and that those who enforce laws are trained appropriately about and with the communities they are serving. As a State Representative I will listen, I will help bring people together, and I will support policies that ensure fair and equitable treatment for all.

Homelessness

I support policies to help our homeless, not criminalize them. As an advocate with experience in working with communities and coalitions, I would support a stakeholder process to determine the best policies to reduce homelessness for the communities across our state. I believe we need policies to provide access to mental health care, veterans' care, substance abuse treatment, homes first policies and more.

Gun Safety

The issue I hear most when knocking doors in HD9 - is the need for gun safety laws. I support a ban on military-style weapons.  I support removing loopholes and improved systems for universal background checks. I do not believe that teachers should be armed.  I believe it makes sense to require gun owners to meet training and licensing standards. We require this for many less-dangerous activities. 

Reproductive Rights

I am a long-time advocate for reproductive rights and reproductive health care. I will follow the women who fought for our rights, as well as work with communities of color who often continue to face insurmountable barriers to reproductive health care, on policies to ensure all people can choose when and if to start a family.


My passion around this includes working in it. As the Senior Policy and Political Director for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains I fought against legislation to undermine access to safe and legal abortion, as well as worked on policies to help Coloradans have the options, which include education and  choice of birth control, to reduce unintended pregnancies. 


My record as a champion working on policies in support of reproductive health care, education and rights, and against attacks on them, is why Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado, #VoteProChoice and SARAH (Sexual and Reproductive Advocates in Healthcare) have endorsed me.

TABOR

Part of the challenge for our state and the needs of our communities, including health care and education, is funding because of our state's constitutional limits on the budget, like the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. I will work on policies to overcome these challenges as well as a repeal of some portions of TABOR. I support the commitment to a balanced budget. That said, the ‘ratcheting effect” contained in TABOR makes it impossible to use additional tax revenue to address the many needs of our State, such as education, healthcare, homelessness and highways to name but a few.  I recognize the need to address the inherent conflicts between TABOR, Amendment 23 and the Gallagher Amendment.  

My General Policy-Making Philosophy

I will work for equity and listen to all communities. I have been working in policy change for over a decade, and have learned it is important to do a stakeholder process, research all of the impacts of a policy change, be willing to learn, and to keep fighting forward for equity. 


#BetheChangeYouWishToSee

#Kindness















Please feel free to email to discuss any policy. Email: ashleyforcolorado@gmail.com

Policies I have Worked on for Colorado Families

Implementation of Health Care Reform

As a policy attorney I have worked on legislation to create new health care coverage options for folks who are uninsured or underinsured. I advocated and represented consumers on the passage of legislation to create Colorado's health care marketplace Connect for Health Colorado, as well served as the co-chair of the advisory group that provided consumer input for the individual options. I also advocated for legislation to expand Medicaid  to low-income adults. As a result of the work of health care advocates like myself, more than half a million more Coloradans have health coverage. This means the rate of uninsured in our state went from 17% to 7%.

Paid Family Leave Insurance

As an advocate and representative of the Women's Lobby of Colorado, I have testified and advocated for Colorado's creation of a paid family leave insurance program. The legislation Colorado's legislature has been considering would create a program employees' pay into so that when they need to take time off work to care for a loved one, they can. This legislation has not yet passed in our state, but I will advocate for it in the Colorado legislature. 

Equal Pay

I have been an advocate for equal pay throughout my advocacy career, helping prepare research and testimony in support of bills to address pay disparities. Sadly my own law school, DU law, had a group of women professors file a claim for discrimination in pay with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In support of them, I authored a letter to the school in which 1,700 people signed. I delivered the letter to DU leadership, with a group of women leaders and fellow DU graduates. After years of fighting the women who brought the claim finally won and settled their claim with the school. I have and believe we can lift up and advocate for equity policies in our government, and in our Colorado institutions. 

Birth Control Access

As the Policy Director for Planned Parenthood in Colorado I advocated and authored legislation to increase access to birth control for Coloradans. I advocated for funding for the Colorado Family Planning Initiative, which provides low income women around the state access to long acting and reversible contraception like IUDs and implants. I was one of the authors of legislation to require insurers to allow women to pick up to a year of their birth control at once. Both of these policies have resulted in making women's lives easier and preventing unintended pregnancies.

Protections for Women and Sexual Assault Survivors in our Courts

I worked on legislation to protect women's access to abortion care, while ensuring they are protected from those who would cause them to lose their pregnancies. I worked on legislation, that is now law, to create criminal and civil penalties for those who cause a woman to lose her pregnancy though a criminal or negligent act - for example drunk driving. 


This year I supported and advocated for legislation to ensure victims' of sexual assault or harassment have protections in Colorado. One of the bills became law. It requires that there is a determination of evidence hearing in civil cases where survivors bring a case for damages against their perpetrator. Prior to this law, survivors often chose not to seek damages for their assaults because of the attacks they would face in court.

Civil Rights Protections

My passion is fighting for rights. I have worked with the LGBTQ community to defeat policies that would allow discrimination using religion as a reason. As the health policy director at One Colorado I advocated for equality in our health care systems, marriage equality and transgender rights in our state. I have worked with our Civil Rights Division on important issues, including transgender rights. Colorado's anti-discmrination law is extremely important as federal protections are being undermined, especially for LGBTQ communities and women.  I advocated, including testified, for legislation last session to reauthorize and fund the Colorado Civil Rights Division. We must protect our state civil rights laws, especially at a time when they are being undermined at the Federal Level.

About Ashley

A Coloradan

I was born in Colorado and grew up in the beautiful communities of Montrose, Trinidad, and the Denver metro area. I attended neighborhood public schools in Colorado throughout my childhood. 


For college, I attended Colorado State University, where I received my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism and American government. I finished my studies at the University of Denver, getting my Juris Doctorate and passing the Colorado Bar Exam.


As a Colorado kid who went to public schools, I prioritize public education and believe every Colorado child should have equal access to a great education. 


I will focus on policies that protect and improve the state’s health care systems, public schools, and economic rights, so that all Colorado families can thrive in the state’s growing economy.

An Advocate

To learn more about my advocacy work, read this article, published by Among the Colors as part of their Inspired Women Series


I have spent my career fighting for Coloradans and their rights. From working for Senator Ken Salazar on health care, education, and civil-rights issues in the United States Senate, to my work in Colorado’s advocacy community, I has been a voice for all working Coloradans. 


I have worked on and supported passage of important health care policies, including the creation of Colorado’s health care marketplace, Connect4Health Colorado, and expansion of Medicaid. Combined, these programs have helped 500,000 more Coloradans get health care coverage. 


For the past four years, I have also worked to support LGBTQ Coloradans and their rights to marriage and health care, as well as on reproductive rights and health care policy. Specifically, I have worked for leaders in Colorado’s policy and advocacy communities, including the American Lung Association, the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, One Colorado, the state’s leading LGBTQ advocacy organization, and Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. 


I am a health care policy wonk and advocate, and will bring that knowledge to the Capitol. 


Image: Denver Post

    

Giving Back

In everything I do, I am working for our communities. For example, for the past three years I have volunteered as a board member for the Women’s Lobby of Colorado (WLC), an advocacy organization with the mission of fighting for gender equity at the Colorado Capitol. Today, I am the Interim Executive Director of WLC. In my role with WLC, I advocate for important policies Colorado women and families need, including paid family leave, pay equity, environmental protections, and protections against sexual assault and domestic violence.


I have also taught Colorado seniors, international visitors, college students, and fellow advocates about the importance of policymaking and health systems—empowering them to speak up on the issues that impact their lives. In the Colorado House of Representatives, I will work with all of my constituents to do the same.


The picture of me (left, in a quickly homemade shirt) at the airport protest following the Trump administration’s racist ban on refugees and immigrants. I joined hundreds of Coloradans in support of refugees and immigrants to protest the rule.

Check out another video from volunteer Gail devore

It means a lot when a supporter and friend works so hard to help you get elected, including creating this awesome video. Thank you Gail!