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Colorado experienced an almost 70 percent increase in fatal fentanyl overdoses from 2020 to 2021, earning it the unenviable distinction of being in the top five states for fentanyl overdose deaths. It’s also currently the number one state for car thefts, and was number one for bank robberies in 2021—a crime driven by desperation and addiction, Colorado’s FBI points out.
Despite the statistics on significantly increasing crime, Colorado Democratic Senator, and candidate for Colorado’s 7th Congressional District, Brittany Pettersen, championed a Colorado bill that reduced the penalty for fentanyl possession, Erik Aadland, Pettersen’s Republican opponent for CD7, told The Epoch Times in an interview.
The Epoch Times reached out to Pettersen’s campaign for comment on Aadland’s claims but did not receive a response.
Aadland added that thanks to the I-25 corridor running north to south, one of the catalysts for Colorado’s increasing crime is drug cartels “building an empire on the Southern Border.”
“[Colorado is] number one in auto theft, number one in bank robberies, cocaine capital of the country, and … leading in fentanyl overdose deaths. But most concerning is this disaster on the Southern Border.”
Unfortunately, Aadland added, instead of looking for ways to secure the southern border from the influx of drugs from cartels, in 2021, Pettersen went so far as to sign a letter urging President Joe Biden to defund all border enforcement agencies, and grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants.
Such a stance, Aadland claimed, is not in the best interest of Colorado or the nation, and will continue to fuel a rise in crime and inflation.
Soft on Crime Leads to More
Colorado has essentially become a border state, thanks to the I-25 corridor and the massive influx of illegal immigrants using it, Aadland stated.
“There’s significant drug trafficking coming up [I-25] and putting Denver on the map for distribution of illicit drugs. … The crime wave we’re experiencing in Colorado is linked” to the porous Southern Border and soft-on-crime laws.
Aadland pointed out that in the Colorado General Assembly, Pettersen not only worked to pass laws reducing the penalties for fentanyl possession but also for auto thefts. In 2019, Pettersen co-sponsored Colorado House Bill 19-1263, which reduced possession of lethal doses of fentanyl from a felony to a misdemeanor.
And in 2014, Pettersen voted for House Bill 14-1266, which lowered auto theft from a Class 4 to a Class 5 felony when the value of the stolen car was less than $20,000. Now, if a vehicle is valued at less than $20,000, a criminal can steal it and be released immediately. Aadland added that there’s evidence that cartels are involved in auto thefts.
But regardless of whether it’s cartels or citizens behind the particular theft, because of Colorado’s lax laws, there’s no actual deterrent to crime, he said.
“Perpetrators continue to either cut out catalytic converters or continue to steal cars again, and that affects hardworking families,” Aadland detailed. And it doesn’t stop there.
Aadland stated, “when you have one rise in crime, it [has a correlating] effect on crime altogether. Because usually, those who are consistently committing crimes are involved in other forms of criminal activity.” Consequently, Aadland called Pettersen’s stance “shocking” and “incongruent” with what needs to happen to reduce crime.
In Aadland’s opinion, to help reduce crime in Colorado and the rest of the nation, there needs to be “reasonable controls in place” at the Southern Border, and legislators need to reverse their soft-on-crime stance.
A reversal Democrats in general refuse to embrace thanks to “antagonism” coming from the Biden administration and “Democratic leadership.”
Pettersen’s campaign website doesn’t address rising crime.
Reversing Rising Crime
As evidence of Biden’s antagonism toward the border, Aadland said, “When Biden took office, he got rid of the remain in Mexico policy. That [was] the most important policy in terms of managing asylum seekers and preventing that illegal flow of immigration.” He added that Biden then refused to enforce immigration laws or complete “the wall.”
Further, Aadland added, Democrats are undermining the police with their “defund the police” movement, and that’s led to a precipitous drop in recruitment numbers. Aadland labeled the Democrats’ stance a “dereliction of duty.” He said, “the primary charge of the federal government is to protect this country and to secure our borders and uphold the U.S. Constitution.”
When asked why Democrats have taken such a position, Aadland responded that it’s impossible to know their objective fully, but there appears to be an element of “malicious intent.” He added that from appearances, it looks like Democrats are following a policy designed to change the voting demographic but cautioned that he couldn’t say that with absolute certainty.
Still, Aadland did say he believes Democrats are doing “everything they can to tear down the rule of law, and it’s creating crime. It’s creating chaos. It’s making people less trustful of their institutions. I think there’s an unprecedented distrust in our institutions altogether.”
As evidence, Aadland pointed out that Colorado’s Secretary of State recently sent out a letter encouraging some 30,000 people to register to vote who are ineligible. He specified that he didn’t know if that was due to “corruption, extraordinary incompetence,” or “ineptness,” but it shouldn’t have occurred, and it causes people to question intent.
Additionally, Aadland pointed to the recent arrest of Konnech’s CEO, Eugene Yu, who allegedly stole the personal data of Los Angeles County election workers and then stored the information on servers in China.
He called the Chinese storage of such information “deeply alarming,” as it could point to foreign interference in the United States elections. Aadland said that instead of turning a blind eye to potential problems, those in positions of authority need to take a closer look at the system as a whole, “identify any flaws and fix it.” He said Americans need to trust the system, and fixing issues should be “nonpartisan.” That, however, isn’t happening.
Instead, Aadland alleged, Democrats, along with their allies in the mainstream media, and specifically, Progressives, are using “divisive rhetoric” to inhibit conversations. They are looking to sow division and distraction to keep people away from examining their policies that “destroy the economy. They destroy our national security. They destroy our energy independence. They undermine the fabric of American strength.”
Aadland said to reverse that trend, Americans need to elect leaders who will “start with addressing the fundamentals of American strength and the kitchen table issues that are hurting Coloradans and everyday people nationwide.”
To get the economy back on track and lower inflation, Aadland said legislators need to rein in government spending and make “government more efficient, so we’re spending within our cash flow. On her campaign website, Pettersen acknowledges that the economy is struggling to recover, but believes to address it, government needs to increase access to capital, and invest in research and infrastructure.
To reverse rising crime, Aadland said legislators need to secure the Southern Border, uphold the rule of law, and be willing to look for common ground across the aisle. “These are things that we’ve got to address immediately, or we will continue to deteriorate,” he stated.
“I think JFK had a great quote. ‘It’s not the Democratic answer or the Republican answer. It’s the right answer.’… We’ve got to move past this hyper-partisanship and find ways to come together on common ground.”
Pettersen doesn’t address the Southern Border, or immigration on her website, but has encouraged Biden to revoke border funding, and grant amnesty.
Striking a Balance
As evidence of his more moderate approach, Aadland acknowledged that society impacts the environment and should be “judicious stewards of our resources.” He pointed to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in CD7 and said he wants to fully fund its endeavors to look for ways to be less wasteful. However, Aadland added that he disagrees with the partisan approach of only looking for one way to be responsible stewards.
In his opinion, the United States should be exploring all options regarding energy, including pursuing a nuclear policy and pumping petroleum, which the United States does “more cleanly” than anyone else, Aadland asserted. He also said the increased dependency on China for rare earth metals for things like electric vehicles is “deeply concerning.”
“Just look at Russia and Ukraine and Europe’s dependency on Russian petroleum and natural gas. We need to be energy independent. We need to produce oil and natural gas as we build out nuclear. As wind and solar become more efficient and even unexplored technology. … It’s all got to be done in balance. You can’t destroy the economy and rush towards a disastrous Green New Deal in the meantime.”
Aadland argued that by solely focusing on one path, Democrats had committed themselves to “ideology” instead of science, and now their radical Progressive policies are destroying the country.
To fix that, Aadland said the United States needs to elect “reasonable leaders in office who recognize economic fundamentals” and commit to solid leadership that thinks outside party lines.
Pettersen, is not such a leader, and will vote in lockstep with the Biden and Pelosi agenda, Aadland concluded.
On her website, Pettersen lists “climate change” as “one of the greatest threats we face.” She added that her “two-year old son Davis reminds her every day that the clock is ticking,” and that “we must act now by investing in an energy grid that will meet the needs of the future for energy transmission, the research to expedite battery and energy storage needs of clean technologies.”
Neither Pettersen, nor her campaign, responded to The Epoch Times’ multiple requests for comment.