Dear Fellow Americans,
As you have seen in the news this past week, a large area of the state of Colorado has been impacted by devastating floods. An unusual storm system resulted in historic rainfall that has destroyed hundreds of homes, cut off whole towns from civilization, wrecked vital infrastructure our state needs to function, and killed an as-yet unknown number of Colorado citizens. The damage to our state's economy has not even begun to be assessed as the focus remains on public safety and immediate relief.
Every member of Colorado's congressional delegation, Republicans and Democrats, has come together to request emergency federal relief as our state recovers from this enormous natural disaster. Gov. John Hickenlooper has already stated that federal relief legislation may potentially be necessary to provide the funding the state needs to address the damage done. The damage to roads and bridges alone is estimated to be many times the state's annual transportation budget.
It has been rightly pointed out that Republican members of the Colorado delegation voted against similar aid for victims of Hurricane Sandy in 2012. This vote was in fact roundly criticized here in Colorado, and it should not be considered representative of the population of this state–especially those now in need of assistance with recovery from this disaster. It is worth noting that provisions in that bill for flooding mitigation in Colorado were stripped out by Congressional Republicans, over the objections of their colleagues in Colorado. Democrats from Colorado nonetheless supported the final Hurricane Sandy aid bill.
Political debate in Washington and in Colorado has become increasingly dysfunctional. Despite this, the generosity shown by fellow Americans in response to disaster is one of the most powerful ties that binds us together. In Aurora, a city which suffered greatly in the recent flooding, on the Eastern Plains, in the mountain towns of Boulder and Larimer Counties–when aid reaches these communities provided by fellow Americans from across the nation, including places like Louisiana and New Jersey, the gratitude of Colorado citizens will speak louder than the hypocrisy of a few local politicians.
When the time comes to reciprocate as Americans and neighbors, Colorado won't forget. And we thank Americans everywhere for the support we know will be there in this time of need.
The editors of Colorado Pols, on behalf of the people of Colorado