State of the State: Polis addresses unemployment issues, education, pandemic response

Politics

DENVER (KDVR) – It’s one thing to give a State of the State address – it’s another to tackle the unemployment benefits problem and other issues currently plaguing Colorado.

We asked the governor about it point-blank.

Colorado’s unemployment rate currently sits at 8.4%. The national average is 6.3%. Gov. Jared Polis acknowledged the state needs to do better, but he wouldn’t specifically address the department’s leadership.

“Is it time to reexamine leadership in that department?,” FOX31 Reporter Gabrielle Franklin asked the governor.

“Well, it’s certainly time to make sure the technology works. They’ve had several weeks of delays of implementing the new technology. This was long overdue; this should have been years ago — should’ve been done before the pandemic. They are updating their technology so they are able to get checks out quicker going forward,” Polis said. “It’s important that people know, everybody will get every penny they are entitled to. Nobody is losing a benefit but that’s little consolation when your payment is three weeks away or four weeks away.”

What about your kids? How can the state get every student back in the classroom? As a local control state, the governor says it’s out of his hands. 

“There’s nothing that a Legislature or governor can do to force it to happen. But it’s really important they do that,” Polis said. “Frankly, parents are demanding that, teachers are demanding that, students and families are demanding that. And I’m thrilled that Colorado is at least one of the leading states in terms of the safe return of schools.”

With the pandemic spilling over into the final part of his first term, we asked the governor to grade himself on his relief response.

He didn’t give us a number or letter, but he’s says Colorado is in a better position than most because he stuck to the data even when that meant closing the doors of some businesses.

“We’ve lost 5,688 people. We could have lost 10,000 or 15,000 or 20,000 or more if we hadn’t taken these science-based measures to protect people’s health and prevent our hospitals from being overwhelmed,” Polis said.

We talked with the governor about a number of other topics, including plans for more stimulus relief. He says focused on making sure families get a $600 per child tax credit this year.

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