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Meet Trailblazer Jillian Freeland

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jillian Freeland.

Jillian, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Girls who grew up with hand-me-downs, food stamps, and Medicaid aren’t supposed to run for Congress, but here I am! I’m living proof of our government’s huge potential as a force for good in people’s lives, so I’m running for Congress to make sure that all people have access to the tools they need to thrive, not simply survive. Clean air, food, and water, excellent healthcare and education, and affordable homes in safe communities are the responsibility of our government. I’m ready to fight to guarantee those needs are met.

I have served my community by volunteering ever since I was a teenager. I started in the local hospital in high school, then a women’s health center, then as an activist dedicated to helping people contact their elected officials. I currently serve as Vice President of my homeowner’s association and citizen member of El Paso County’s Board of Adjustment and the Community Corrections board. I am now stepping up to serve as Representative of Colorado’s Fifth Congressional District because my family, my district, and my country need my compassion and experience to succeed.

Has it been a smooth road?
We all have trauma. I’ve received death threats, lost friends, and fought off postpartum depression. It was awful at the time, but I wouldn’t be who I am without those experiences. A good therapist helps, and mental healthcare is not shameful.

I have to remind myself (often) of the best advice I can give: ask for help when you need it, remember that you can learn anything, and know that you ARE qualified to lead.

In the immortal words of Dori from Finding Nemo, “just keep swimming, just keep swimming…”

We’d love to hear more about Freeland for Congress.
I am running for Congress to ensure every person has the rights guaranteed by our Founding Fathers; life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Every human deserves to live with dignity, and our elected officials need to get back to protecting PEOPLE instead of corporations and lobbyists. There are basic minimums we all need to thrive, not simply survive- clean air, food, and water, excellent healthcare and education, and affordable homes in safe communities.

Energy and clean air: In Colorado Springs, we depend on coal plants to power the majority of homes, businesses, and military bases. Generating electricity by burning coal may be reliable and familiar, but it’s now more expensive than investing in wind and solar power, and the harm caused by pollution is clear. Colorado’s Front Range has been under Ozone Alert many days this summer because we are burning coal and other fossil fuels, and this pollution increases asthma, allergies, miscarriage, and dementia. Technology in the renewable energy production and storage is surging, and making investments now will protect our future generations.

This is also a matter of national security, because creating smaller grids powered by wind and solar make our military bases less vulnerable to terrorism.  Also, reducing our reliance on fossil fuels will help us bring our service members home from wars and end the use of violence to secure natural resources.

Clean food: Record numbers of farms have had to declare bankruptcy this year. Helping farmers helps us all. We have to support them until the trade war ends, and also while they transition to farming methods that replenish the topsoil instead of depending on chemical fertilizers. Supporting local farming will reduce the distance food has to travel to the table, cutting down waste and the pollution caused by transporting it. Eating good food will make us all healthier and happier.

Clean water: Many communities across the country have been impacted by water contamination. We have too many examples- it’s lead in Flint, Michigan, oil spills off the coasts and in our rivers, and PFAS in Colorado and across the country. Whoever pollutes must be held responsible for cleaning it up.

Healthcare: Providing excellent care has to be the number one goal, not filling the wallets of CEOs and shareholders. Every single person must be covered with a superb plan; that means getting rid of deductibles, separating health insurance from employment, reducing drug prices, improving access to mental healthcare and addiction treatment, and ending the “your doctor is not in-network” problem. We have many examples of successful systems around the world, and we can learn from what has worked for them and what we can improve upon.

My mission as a midwife and sociologist was to create a safer, more personal experience for families during their pregnancies and births. America has the highest maternal mortality rate of all developed nations, with women of color suffering the most. We can make people safer by providing evidence-based, patient-centered care, but it’s very difficult to do in our system. I was very frustrated by how much time I spent fighting the insurance companies to make them pay for the services supposedly covered by the premiums coming out of our paychecks. Streamlining our medical system will make our system more affordable and efficient, and it will give providers more time with their patients.

Education: If we educate people well, they have a better chance at living a happy and productive life. Our education system is suffering from underfunding. We don’t pay teachers what they’re worth or give them the supplies they need, they have too many students, and we don’t preserve the programs that set kids up for success. We must make trade schools and college a debt-free path so that people can choose rewarding careers that pay their bills.

Affordable housing: Across the country, people are struggling to afford their homes. One step we need to take is increasing the federal minimum wage to match the cost of living. Master planning can create walkable communities with all the schools, grocery stores, and medical facilities they need, and reliable public transportation will improve quality of life for many Americans who are struggling to make ends meet.

Safe communities: America has more gun violence than any other developed nation. We no longer feel safe in our schools, streets, places of worship, grocery stores, concerts, and homes. Common sense reforms like universal background checks, a federal extreme risk protection order, standardized education and licensing, safe storage requirements, and banning weapons of war will make us all safer. The Second Amendment mandates that gun ownership be well regulated; I will work to make that a reality.

Do you feel like there was something about the experiences you had growing up that played an outsized role in setting you up for success later in life?
I have been lucky to have many powerful women in my life. My mother is strong, smart, principled, and fiercely protective. Every woman who trusted me to care for her in pregnancy and childbirth taught me bravery and endurance in the face of incredible pain and fear. All of the women who are running for office inspire me to keep going on days that seem like there are too many fires to fight. Ultimately, the women who have inspired me the most are still babies; my daughters will grow up and need a world that is safe, compassionate, and equitable, so they need me to run for Congress!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
photos at Garden of the Gods: Kreteaka Henshall Photography
garden photo: Thomas Cavaness
speaking engagement photo: Lorena Garcia

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