Simone Aiken, candidate for state House District 44

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Party: Democratic

City or town of residence: Parker

Profession: Software developer

Campaign website: https://simoneaiken4colorado.com/

What makes you the best choice for this office?

My bills will be bipartisan, practical, passable and will put the district's priorities ahead of my own interests. When my opponent was appointed by the the vacancy committee she described herself as "as far to the right as you can find." She didn't lie. 25 percent of her bills were so extreme that Republican senators would not introduce them to the upper chamber. I won't waste taxpayer dollars introducing bills that are dead on arrival.

What can the Legislature do to ease the strain of rising housing prices on Colorado residents?

Homeownership rates in Denver went from 71 percent in 2005 to 53 percent in 2018. This is due to a combination of population growth and investors snapping up foreclosed homes in the crash to turn into rental properties. We have a shortage of trained construction workers to increase the supply of new homes. Initiatives like the Colorado Homebuilding Academy are seeking to fix this, but we need a greater focus on the trades in K-12.

What can be done to ensure the state's transportation system will be able to accommodate continued population growth?

There are two bond proposals on the ballot to fund our transit growth/maintenance. One implements a temporary half-penny sales tax to pay off the bond. The other raids the general fund. We know where the money is coming from in the former while the latter is a mystery. Even the people who proposed it don't know what will be cut to pay for it, but they solemnly swear that it won't be something important.

What two issues demand more attention in the upcoming Legislative session than they received in the previous one, and why?

I plan to write a bill relating to transparency in prescription-drug pricing. The efforts from last year were a blind fishing expedition that were opposed due to high cost of compliance. My time working in this industry uniquely qualifies me to ask the right questions in a manner that is trivial to comply with. Several constituents — and Sheriff Spurlock — have also expressed to me a strong interest in improving our mental health system.

If elected, what must you accomplish in order for you to consider your term a success?

I will consider my term a success if I am able to decrease partisan tensions and get people working with each other. When you move discussions from the ideological to the practical it is much easier to reach consensus. I have 17 years of experience in a variety of politically sensitive industries and it is my hope that I can use them to provide vital context to the one-dimensional narratives that lobbyists push.

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