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How to Fix the Coronavirus

By Yara Zokaie, Candidate for Colorado House District 49

I answer work calls with a three-year-old hanging from my neck and a one-year-old wanting to
be picked up. My husband is in a Zoom meeting and we need to prepare lunch. My toddler wants
to go to a park. “But I can’t go.. because of the sickness.” It’s something we discuss almost daily.
I hope he understands but I know he doesn’t fully grasp what is going on in the world around
him. No one is capable of working full time while raising children full-time and still managing to
stay fed and take care of their home. No child is meant to be deprived socialization and activities.
Yet our sacrifice is small compared to those working on the front lines. We are lucky, I am
grateful, and that doesn’t make it any easier. I go through all the feelings every day: anxiety that
my high-risk little one will get COVID-19, anger that preventative measures were not taken
earlier, fear that this will continue on for another year, and of course moments of joy when I get
to be present with my children and husband.

The truth of the matter is that this crisis will not end unless we all stay home. Even when it is
unbearable. But how do we ask someone to stay home when that means no food on the table? Or
an inability to pay rent? Nearly 5% of Coloradoans are unemployed. Many who still have a job
have seen a drop in income. Anyone telling those suffering to stay home for the safety of others
is on the losing side of the argument. We must making staying home viable for everyone if we
want to go back to normal. This will only happen by being bold and standing strong against
power players in this state. We cannot wait for the Federal Government to step in. We have seen
them dole out trillions in handouts to the ultra-wealthy, but when it comes to everyday
Americans the relief has been sluggish and insufficient.

Colorado is not powerless and our hands are not tied by Federal inaction. Colorado can and must
cancel and forgive rent and suspend mortgage payments. Colorado can and must provide
efficient unemployment payments that make families whole. Colorado can and must give all
employees sick leave and hazard pay. These policies must remain in place for the entire duration
of the crisis. No means testing. Because while the wealthy can say we are all in this together,
they certainly do not treat us all the same, and this crisis has only made this more evident.

Make no mistake, we will exit this crisis an entirely different country and an entirely different
Colorado. Whoever is sitting in the legislature come 2021 is going to have to face the aftermath
of the greatest economic collapse since the Great Depression. Small businesses will be hurting,
families will be trying to make up for lost income, and our already deepening wealth inequality
will be exacerbated. We will need representatives who are laser-focused on addressing these
problems as we work together to rebuild the Colorado we know and fell in love with.

Vote for someone who will fight to help the working class and young families. Vote for someone
who is grassroots funded and will be answering to constituents instead of giant donors. I am
running to be a voice for the people. I am running to ensure that the working class, young
families, and local businesses are not only at the table, but are in the forefront as we work to
rebuild our state.

-Yara Zokaie, Candidate for Colorado House District 49


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