During a recent vacation, I was able to meet and talk with several people who are from the Denver area. What I found interesting is what they told me their plans for the future hold. You see, they did not talk about a love for Colorado or Denver in terms of living day-to-day.
They love the parks, trails, mountains and wildlife. However, they are not happy with the direction this state is headed.
One family is changing. A couple is getting married. She has a daughter, and he has a young teenage daughter. The upcoming family of four will not be staying in Denver as their new life begins. Instead, they they cannot afford to come together and live here.
He is a teacher. He said the salaries for teachers in Colorado are some of the worst in the nation. That means he is looking elsewhere.
The couple, once married, will be moving to Texas where teachers are paid a lot better.
Let that sink in. Texas, which makes the news regularly for politics in schools and other controversies, is about to gain a lovely family to improve their economy and communities.
Besides not being able to make it work on a professional level — the couple also said they cannot afford to find a home to come together as a new family. Costs are too high. Property taxes are high because of valuations — believe me, I have read mine. That means Texas will get a new-home purchasing family.
To stress, this is a family that contributes to our economy, attends our schools and has a truly positive impact on our local communities. This is a family we are about to lose.
Given current living conditions — they cannot stay here.
Moving on to another gentleman that I had a lovely conversation with while waiting for a boat to leave for deep-sea fishing: He talked about working in the Denver metro area and along the Front Range, and said his wife, in law enforcement, works in another state.
He said given the current nature of politics in not just Colorado, but all over the U.S., he and his wife will likely be living in another country in the next few years.
Again, a well-established couple who works hard and contributes positively to our country — does not want to be here anymore.
Look at our own legislature in Colorado. With the 2023 session ending on May 8, the day this column was written, the Democratic majority waited until the very last minute to even consider addressing the property tax issue. Let’s face it — it was not exactly a secret. So – focusing on left-leaning priorities and fighting with the Republicans the majority of the session did nothing to help local families want to stay here. In fact, in my neighborhood I’ve had plenty of discussions with moms who say when school is out — so are they.
Good families are leaving our state for another state. Young couples are saying they do not even want to be in our country anymore.
While these are quiet conversations I have had on a trip or in picking my kids up from school — the sentiments are loud and I am willing to bet a lot of families and residents are getting fed up.
And, as they move away, so will the sensible voters lawmakers might need in the next big election.
Thelma Grimes is the south metro editor for Colorado Community Media.