JASON CROW: Coffman’s support of GOP tax reform bill underscores the need for servant leadership

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If you are waiting for congressional Republicans in Washington to have an honest discussion about the effects of their tax plan, you might be waiting a long time. President Donald Trump’s tax plan does almost nothing to help the middle class or boost economic growth, and House Republicans are lying to the American people by claiming otherwise. Congressman Mike Coffman has voted with Trump 94 percent of the time – including his vote for this plan that hands out tax breaks to America’s largest corporations and richest 1 percent at the expense of Colorado’s middle class, students and seniors. It is an agenda that benefits their corporate donors instead of the people they were elected to represent

Economists estimate the current version of the Republican tax plan will add roughly $1.5 trillion to the federal debt over the next 10 years. It slashes the corporate tax rate almost in half and cuts the estate tax – a benefit only the ultra-wealthy will enjoy.

To pay for this lost revenue, Republicans will put Medicaid and Medicare on the chopping block. Medicaid will be cut by $1.3 trillion and Medicare, a critical benefit for seniors, will be cut by $470 billion over the next 10 years.

Republicans are also going after important tax benefits claimed by a majority of Americans, including students. Americans already owe $1.5 trillion in student debt, but the House tax plan will further cripple young people by taking away deductions for interest on student loan payments and ending tuition waivers.

I come from a family of construction workers and small business owners. I worked construction in college to make ends meet before enlisting in the National Guard and then entering active duty service. After leaving the Army, my wife, Deserai, and I had nearly $200,000 in student debt as a young couple; that debt would have doubled had my wife not had access to tuition waivers. Like so many others, we would not have had the opportunity to start a family, buy a house and build our careers without some tax relief.

Coffman supported the House tax plan to give his corporate donors a tax cut – ignoring students pursuing careers in health care at the CU Anschutz Hospital and the 100,200 people covered through Medicare plans in the district. Wealthy donors and corporations shouldn’t get a tax break on the backs of the middle class. Coffman and his colleagues knew this and rammed the bill through with no hearings or input from his constituents. I guess this shouldn’t be a surprise since Coffman has accepted nearly $3 million dollars from the corporations and lobbyists that support the bill.  The lack of process and accountability demonstrate just how broken Washington is today.

To solve our nation’s greatest problems, our elected officials must lead by example. I have pledged not to take corporate PAC money because I believe that Coloradans, not special interests, deserve to have someone fighting for them.

I believe in servant leadership. That’s what I learned in the Army. As an officer, my soldiers always ate first, and if there wasn’t any food left over, I didn’t eat. When we were doing airborne operations, I jumped out the plane first and my soldiers would follow. Leaders, fundamentally, are servants of the folks they are called to lead.

But in Washington, Coffman is eating first and leaving us behind. Coffman claims he’s an independent problem solver, but consider the facts: He has voted with Trump 94 percent of the time, more than anyone else in the Colorado delegation, and his vote for President Trump’s tax plan will saddle my children and future generations with crushing debt.

This isn’t just a race for a congressional seat, this is a fight for a way of life. More of the same is what got us to where we are today, and enough is enough.  I’m running for Congress so that you and your family can compete on a level playing field, rather than fighting uphill against special interests and a rigged political system. It has become very clear who Coffman is fighting for, and it’s not those of us back here in Colorado.

We’re in this together. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Jason Crow is a lawyer and Democratic candidate for the 6th Congressional District