BY FREDA MIKLIN
On October 20, State Rep. Meg Froelich announced that she will run for a fourth and final term representing HD3 in the general assembly.
Froelich began her career in the state legislature on January 14, 2019, when she stepped in to replace then-HD3 Rep. Jeff Bridges after he was appointed to the State Senate when State Sen. Daniel Kagan resigned. Froelich won election to the seat in 2020 by 21 points and again in 2022 by 24 points.
HD3 includes Cherry Hills Village, Englewood, Sheridan, and southeast Denver. Prior to the revision of boundaries in 2021 by the Colorado Independent Redistricting Commission, HD3 also included Greenwood Village. GV is now in HD37, represented by Rep. Ruby Dickson.
The Villager asked Froelich what goals she had if elected to a final term in the House. She told us, “I’m very proud of what my colleagues and I have accomplished in the five years that I’ve served. When I return in January I will continue my work for Colorado’s working families, with particular emphasis on women and children…We were the first state to pass our version of the federal Keep Children Safe from Family Violence Act. We still need to secure much more funding to address domestic violence and child abuse to improve outcomes in the child welfare system and in the courts.”
Froelich continued, “We’ve made great progress – finally! – on Gun Violence Prevention but until our communities are safe from gun violence and until our terrible gun suicide rates decrease significantly, we will need to address this public health crisis in every way possible.”
Froelich is closely associated with the Reproductive Health Equity Act (RHEA), passed in 2022, that codified a person’s fundamental right to make reproductive health-care decisions free from government interference. It became especially important after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade just two months after RHEA was signed into law by Gov. Polis.
She told The Villager, “We are a beacon in the Rocky Mountain West for standing firm on reproductive rights, abortion and gender affirming care,”…adding, “We need to expand access to all healthcare in Colorado – not only reproductive healthcare but also mental and behavioral health services.”
On the subject of climate change, Froelich, who serves on the House Energy & Environment Committee, said, “We also stand apart from other states in our region in the ways in which we are addressing the realities of climate change and I’m glad I’ve been able to work on some good legislation to reduce pollution, support our natural environment, and ensure our renewable energy supply meets the needs of Colorado. I see Land Use decisions as critical to meeting our Climate goals.”
That led us to ask Froelich, who chairs the House Transportation, Housing & Local Government Committee, “What would you say to folks who expect the state’s effort to “take over land use decisions from cities and destroy single-family zoning” to come back in the 2024 session of the legislature?”
She said, “The hyperbole around Senate Bill 213 last Session – the Governor’s Land Use Bill – was one of the most disheartening aspects of the last weeks of the 2023 Legislature. I hope the well isn’t poisoned and that we can discuss how to tackle the twin challenges of climate change and our housing crisis. Exclusionary zoning has its historical roots in redlining and racism. In our House District we have local governments doing everything they can to plan for and promote workforce housing and attainable housing for home buyers. Sheridan, Englewood, and Littleton have joined to form a Tri Cities initiative on homelessness and have made great strides. They are developing multimodal transportation plans that leverage taxpayer assets like Light Rail and bicycle routes that reduce vehicle miles travelled. We are better communities when our teachers, healthcare workers and first responders can live where they work. We are better communities when people can afford to live, work, and send their children to school nearby. Even communities with large acre lots can help by building an ADU and housing a teacher or a nurse. I do think some of these issues are a matter of statewide concern. The infrastructure is taxpayer funded – your local government does not control CDOT roadways or transit like RTD. There is not a six-plex coming to your cul-de-sac! I hope we can have rational conversations about land use around transit hubs, ADUs, parking minimums, cumbersome permitting and regulations, and talk about any and all measures that would make for a more livable Colorado.”
Froelich also shared her thought process about the state of politics with The Villager, telling us, “The reason it was not an easy decision to run for re-election is because of the decline in civility and the way politics have changed since my time two decades ago on Greenwood Village City Council. There is even a marked difference from my first Session in 2019 until the present. Before we were sworn in, in 2020, we witnessed the January 6th insurrection where two members of the Colorado House participated – one led the rally here and one was in D.C. Then COVID hit and many of my colleagues refused to get vaccinated or wear a mask. I had friends I serve with who were battling cancer, one who had a medically fragile child, one whose husband was at the end of his life and another whose elderly mother lived with them. My father was nearing the end of his life and I wanted to be sure to not get COVID when I needed to be at his bedside. We couldn’t even have a safe, in-person conversation with two dozen people in our chamber. These were folks I had worked collaboratively with previously. Add that to a House Member who dropped his gun in the lobby of the House, another who left several guns unsecured in his unlocked car parked at the Capitol and the Legislature did not feel like a safe place to work. We really do work in a bipartisan, productive way in Colorado, it has just become more of a challenge to do so in the last few years.”
She continued, “Ultimately, I had to balance the threats to my person (explicit and implied) with my knowledge that it is a tremendous privilege to serve. I feel extremely fortunate to be in the Legislature – especially with the fall of Roe and the Dobbs decision. Colorado is a national leader on so many of the most pressing issues we face. I hope I get the opportunity to serve one more term.”
Froelich attended Littleton Public Schools. She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and holds a Master’s Degree in History from the University of Michigan.
Prior to her service in the state legislature, Froelich was a producer for CBS News and PBS. A credentialed teacher at the high school and college level, she was twice-elected to the Greenwood Village City Council, where she served from 2003-2008.