Democratic aid packages provide Gov. Jared Polis with platform to run on
Speaking from a stage at an Aurora community center Wednesday, Democratic Gov. Jared Polis touted his administration's work as part of a 22-stop re-election kick-off tour.
Details: Below him, people waited to pick up meals from the center’s food bank in a line that extended outside into the cold.
- In a separate room, undocumented residents applied for pandemic cash assistance.
- And tables were ready for the bi-weekly COVID-19 vaccine clinic hosted Thursdays.
Why it matters: The scene at the Village Exchange Center showcased the challenges facing Colorado in these uncertain economic times — as well as the troubles the Democratic Party can expect in persuading voters in November.
Yes, but: It also foreshadowed how the governor plans to defy the national political winds that favor Republicans.
- Each of the assistance programs offered at the center, all directed toward communities of color, are part of Democratic federal and state relief packages, center organizers told us.
- In effect, Polis didn't need to answer questions about what he is doing to help Colorado's most vulnerable in their personal recoveries — it was all right in front of him.
Between the lines: The direct aid and hyper-local focus will allow Polis, a former congressman, to separate himself from President Biden and the rest of Washington.
- In an interview with Axios Denver, Polis said he agrees "with a lot of what President Biden does," but not everything.
- He wants to see the federal government lower household costs, and endorsed a Senate bill to suspend the 18-cent gas tax for one year.
What he's saying: "We're going to be talking about what we've done to move Colorado forward," Polis told John after the event, "and just as importantly the vision for the next four years — the vision for making Colorado a place where people can afford to thrive."
Zoom in: José Gomez, a youth pastor, runs the vaccine clinic at the site. He said government benefits are tangible for people in the community.
- "We let the people know that we're part of the governor's office [program] and he's the one that's done a lot of good work in bringing clinics here to our communities."
The other side: Back at the state Capitol, lawmakers debated an additional spending package Polis requested, including more money to address the pandemic.
- Republicans lamented the ballooning spending and the growth in government.
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