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Guest Opinion: Hernan Villanueva: A new citizen’s experience

Hernan Villanueva

9.23.2021

Excerpts presented below, read the full article in the Daily Camera


After I became a U.S. citizen, I was excited to tackle some of the issues that face our community here in Bo

ulder. I thought my PhD in Engineering and my job at a federal lab were meaningful credentials for service on the Environmental Advisory Board. I applied, and City Council offered me a position on the board. I felt excited to dip my toes into the political arena of Boulder. I had an idealistic, almost naive vision of people from different backgrounds coming together to solve problems. But the reality was far from that.

After joining the Environmental Advisory Board, some community members and I decided to form FRWRDboulder (pronounced “Forward Boulder”). Our primary objective is to raise awareness about political polarization in Boulder and its negative impact on our community.


While most Boulderites were enjoying the end of summer, those of us actively engaged in the emerging election season found ourselves submerged in a flood of political tricks and personal attacks. The tactics were endless: Fake websites, fake social media pages, misinformation, false accusations, and innuendo. Sadly, this has become the new standard of politics in Boulder.


As a new citizen of this great nation, the current state of local politics saddened me. ...


We need vigorous debate to understand all perspectives and consider all possible approaches if we want to address policy challenges. But polarization’s “us versus them” mentality is a barrier to inclusive and productive discourse. ...


Boulder has things it must get done. Boulder must find ways forward on housing affordability for individuals and families at all stages of life. Boulder must find effective tools to reduce its climate footprint and increase its climate resiliency. Boulder must find ways to encourage a regional approach to the needs of the unhoused, including mental health and addiction treatment as well as housing and work. ...


That is why I believe we must move beyond division and find smart, effective solutions to the issues that face us, together. Because something I’m 100% sure of is that Boulder is better together. ...


Read the full article in the Daily Camera

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