South Denver City Council elections

A guide to the people running in south Denver's districts

Posted

Washington Park Profile includes neighborhoods from City Council Districts 4, 5, 6, 7 and 10. Below are the candidates running for those districts, as well as for the two at-large positions.

City Council District 4

The district covers the Wellshire, University Hills, Goldsmith, Hampden, Hampden South, Kennedy and Souhmoor Park neighborhoods. Councilmember Kendra Black currently represents District 4.

Kendra Black

Is a Denver native, and has lived here for nearly 55 years.

Profession: Denver City Council member. Black was elected in 2015.

Campaign Website: www.kendraforcouncil.org

Why are you seeking this office?

I am running for re-election to build on the many successes we have achieved over the last 3 1/2 years — safer and more walkable streets, more parkland and better maintained parks, protecting our seniors and easier transit connections. Having worked and volunteered in southeast Denver for over 25 years, I am proud of the achievements with which I’ve been involved. It’s clear we have come a long way, but we still have much to accomplish.

What makes you the best choice for this office?

I’ve lived in Council District 4 most of my life. My husband and I grew up here, raised and educated our kids here, and we plan to retire here. My history of public service to southeast Denver goes back 20 years before I was elected — volunteering at my kids’ schools, advocating on behalf of our parks, and heading up various other community projects. I am the only candidate in this race with a proven, decades-long history of getting things done for southeast Denver.

What are the most important duties for a member of council?

Listening, engaging and executing. The very best councilmembers who represent districts — as opposed to representing the city at-large — try to distill the collective vision of their constituents, formulate plans, find the funding and put those plans into action. Representing the values, priorities and creative ideas of District 4 constituents is not just immensely gratifying, it’s really the essence of the job. Additionally, councilmembers must work together and with city staff to address the many issues facing our city and its residents.

What should be done to ensure a high quality of life for residents as Denver’s population continues to grow?

I will continue to address the many issues related to Denver’s unprecedented growth: housing and homelessness, traffic and mobility, environmental issues like pressure on parks, air quality and solid waste, planning and loss of neighborhood character. I am leading on some of these important issues and collaborating on others.

I have engaged thousands of my constituents through dozens of community meetings to learn their concerns and priorities, some of which include a park in the U-Hills neighborhood, improved pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, area planning and improved land use.

What will be your top priority if you are elected to this office?

My priority is to serve my constituents and expand upon the civic engagement efforts we’ve undertaken through the District 4 council office. Together we will continue to work to preserve and enhance our neighborhoods and parks, improve land use, and to increase safety and mobility options. I will continue to engage my constituents, listen and respond quickly to their comments, questions and great ideas. Making good on those responses requires a sustained effort to ensure we get our fair share of city amenities, investments, repairs and infrastructure improvements.

Colleen Zahradnicek

Has lived in Denver for 31 years.

Profession: Real Estate

Campaign Website: https://colleen4denver.com/

Why are you seeking this office?

I am running for city council because the people deserve representation that stands up for them and serves them. I’ve lived in Denver nearly my entire life and in the past four years the city has become unaffordable, unjust and unsafe. While government can’t control or fix everything, we can and must do better. We need leaders who aren’t afraid to make hard decisions and who are focused on the needs of community, not developers.

What makes you the best choice for this office?

I am a regular person. I’m not a political insider or a special-interest darling. I am grassroots, for the people. I am a real estate broker by trade; I understand the nuance of needing growth but respecting community. I’m a person who saw the city she grew up in becoming unrecognizable and decided to stand up. I’m a mom who wants her daughter to grow up in a city that she is proud of.

What are the most important duties for a member of council?

Standing up for your community and constituents is the most important duty. Making sure you are pushing back on bad policy, even if it makes you unpopular with others in city hall. Centering policy around the marginalized to ensure that a rising tide lifts all boats. Working hard on difficult topics for the entirety of your term, not just going after low-hanging fruit and rolling out grand policy six months prior to an election.

What should be done to ensure a high quality of life for residents as Denver’s population continues to grow?

We need to ensure our people and communities are at the forefront of all decisions. For too long, the only interests that have been taken into account are those of developers and high-monied special interests. On city council, I will always put community first, which includes making sure new growth is environmentally and economically sustainable.

What will be your top priority if you are elected to this office?

My top priority will be housing affordability and how to make that a reality. Additionally, multi-modal transit (buses, trackless trams, trolley cars, protected bike lanes) and neighborhood safety round out my top three issues I will be focused on.

City Council District 5

District 5 covers the Hale, Montclair, East Colfax, Hilltop, Lowry Field, Washington Virginia Vale and Windsor neighborhoods. Councilmember Mary Beth Susman currently represents District 5.

Michele Fry

Has lived in Denver for 47 years.

Profession: Chief of staff and policy analyst for Colorado State Rep. Jovan Melton

Campaign Website: www.fryfor5.com

Why are you seeking this office?

I am running to bring government back to the people. We need to create an economy that allows hard-working people to live well and enjoy life. We must improve our infrastructure and expand our transit services. We need to promote carefully thought out and diverse development. We need to be welcoming to new residents, while making sure those who call Denver and District 5 home can stay in their homes and continue to live the life they have worked hard to achieve.

What makes you the best choice for this office?

I have the experience to bring real solutions to city council. Working at the Capitol for the past several years as chief of staff and policy analyst for a state representative, coupled with my community organizing, I know the importance of working with other municipalities and the state government. I have built the relationships necessary to hit the ground running from day one. I promise to represent the interests of the taxpayers and residents of Denver, not the interests of profit-driven developers and large corporations. We deserve better.

What are the most important duties for a member of council?

To represent the people who elected them to office. To work collaboratively with all stakeholders, not just the few who contribute to campaigns and know how to leverage their position with the elected members of council. City council is responsible for many things that directly impact quality of life for every person who works and lives in Denver. City council salaries are paid by the taxpayers who elect us to represent their interests first.

What should be done to ensure a high quality of life for residents as Denver’s population continues to grow?

Ensuring our current green areas remain intact, more, not less parks, and keeping our tree canopy healthy. We need to have better mobility, which means increased and better public transit that is affordable. People are spending more and more time in their cars which adds exponentially to the smog and pollution. As the population continues to grow, we need to look to the companies moving to Denver to bring a housing and transit plan with them to ease the strain on the current infrastructure.

What will be your top priority if you are elected to this office?

Property tax relief to homeowners. Find a reasonable curb the rising rents throughout Denver. Rent control is not an option until the Legislature fixes Colorado revised statutes specific to Telluride. Currently rent control in Colorado is illegal. Equal pay for equal work — a livable wage, paid family and medical leave for workers throughout the City and County of Denver.

Stephen Replin

Is a Denver native.

Profession: Lawyer

Campaign Website: www.ReplinForCouncil.com

Why are you seeking this office?

I am eager to put the city on a more sensible path as it grows. Decisions are being made in our district without the full input of our residents, and the development decisions could well cause a significant increase in traffic and prices. I want to bring COMMON SENSE back to Denver.

What makes you the best choice for this office?

As an attorney, a CPA and a “fast track” business coach, I believe that I have the most relevant experience with issues faced daily by the city by representing small and growing businesses, and yes, even a number of developers, my entire career. My experience includes literally thousands of negotiations. In the political process (as in life itself), knowing how to reach a consensus is indispensable skill in arriving at ideal solutions for all.

What are the most important duties for a member of council?

The most important duties of a member of council are to listen to those who elected you and to represent their thoughts, problems, solutions and input into the city processes. Secondly, council members are directly responsible for the direction of the city, with the mayor, and it is their wisdom and experience that will make the difference between a congested and unlivable city or a wonderful place for our residents and visitors.

What should be done to ensure a high quality of life for residents as Denver’s population continues to grow?

We need to stop granting all new building permits (but for existing zoning and its uses), for 24 months in order to assess the impact of the units under construction now. Once development starts, it is impossible to reverse its course. Once buildings are completed, there is no opportunity to fix mistakes for the neighborhoods. We need to revise our new building permit application process significantly to include traffic studies and overall neighborhood impact.

What will be your top priority if you are elected to this office?

My top priority will be to research the best ways to deal with the dangerous and growing impact of our traffic congestion. The inability to get anywhere easily and efficiently is impacting our entire city in very negative ways. We are not yet a mass-transit-oriented city like New York, and until we have the necessary infrastructure, the solution to this problem needs to occur now before we slowly sink into city-wide gridlock.

Amanda Sawyer

Has lived in Colorado periodically since 1989. Moved back three years ago.

Profession: Sales and marketing consultant and managing director of ASE Advisors, LLC

Campaign Website: www.Amanda4Denver.org

Why are you seeking this office?

I’m running for Denver City Council because the current council has been short-sighted. They have stopped being responsive to the concerns of the people who live in Denver. It’s time for a change. I will bring a long-term, strategic approach to our city planning. We need to be thoughtful about the way Denver develops moving forward. I will make ensure that the people who live in our neighborhoods have a voice and a seat at the table in these conversations.

What makes you the best choice for this office?

I am the best choice for this office because I am just like the people I seek to represent. I face the same challenges we all face living in this city, like traffic congestion, concerns about crime and safety, and frustration with the direction Denver is headed. I have three kids in Denver Public Schools. I shop the local stores and spend weekends on the sideline of our local soccer fields. I look forward to being part of the solution to the issues that face our wonderful city.

What are the most important duties for a member of council?

The single most important duty of a city councilperson is to represent the people who live in our neighborhoods.

What should be done to ensure a high quality of life for residents as Denver’s population continues to grow?

We need to find workable solutions to our housing crisis so that we stop driving out the hard-working families who live in Denver. We need to find solutions to our homeless crisis. We need to make sure that we have enough parks and open space for our population. We need to get people out of their cars by providing mobility and transit infrastructure for the people who live in our neighborhoods.

What will be your top priority if you are elected to this office?

When elected, my top priority will be to establish a dedicated source of funding for transit and mobility infrastructure. For numerous reasons, we need to provide solutions for Denverites to get out of their cars when it’s possible. But without the necessary funding, that will be impossible. I look forward to the opportunity to providing realistic mobility solutions that work for the people who live here.

Mary Beth Susman

Has lived in Denver for 50 years.

Profession: Denver City Council member. Susman was elected in 2011.

Campaign Website: www.susmanforcitycouncil.com

Why are you seeking this office?

I’ve been doing this for eight years and the opportunity to engage with my fellow residents in the stewardship of our city is a gift. I lived in many cities growing up, but never a city where everyone loves their city, wants to help their city, and engages so much. Denver has been and continues to be created by Denverites.

What makes you the best choice for this office?

Experience in my previous career and as a city council member. Running a city is complicated. But I was well prepared. My previous career had me running large complex organizations and budgets in an evolving culture.

A track record of getting things done: 1) President of Council who guided our new marijuana laws in 2011 that became a standard for other cities. 2) Creation of our short-term rental laws. 3) Getting a bond issue that puts half a billion dollars into transportation and mobility infrastructure.

What are the most important duties for a member of council?

City Council is the legislative body of city government. Making laws is our function. Our major responsibility is land use. I have been the Land Use Committee chair for five years now, and the competing and complimentary needs of each councilmember’s constituents, debated and compromised, is one of the best things to experience.

Our ability to get things done for a constituent require developing good relationships with city agencies and employees so they trust your respect for their time, resources, and expertise.

What should be done to ensure a high quality of life for residents as Denver’s population continues to grow?

In addition to taking care that the physical environment is healthy and safe, that personal opportunities for healthy lifestyles, safety and economic security are present, the best ingredient is the participation of as many residents as possible in making decisions about quality of life. It means different things to different people, and the greater the variety of perspective and expertise you can draw on the better the outcome.

What will be your top priority if you are elected to this office?

My top priority has been transportation and mobility. I’ve been successful in getting the city to create a Transportation and Mobility Department, coming soon, that focuses on our ability to move on top of (or under or above) our infrastructure. Denver needs to own our mobility needs that include better, more convenient and inexpensive transit, and is prepared for the innovations in mobility coming.

City Council District 6

The district includes the Washington Park, Belcaro, Cory-Merrill, Virginia Village, Indian Creek, Rosedale, University and University Park neighborhoods. Councilmember Paul Kashmann currently represents District 6.

Paul Kashmann

Has lived in Denver for 47 years.

Profession: Denver City Council member. Kashmann was elected in 2015.

Campaign Website: www.kashmannforCouncil6.com

Why are you seeking this office?

I am seeking re-election because I have made real contributions to keeping Denver a great place to live in my first term, and I want to continue that work. Plus, I love working the people and businesses and institutions of District 6.

What makes you the best choice for this office?

I have lived in District 6 for about 45 years. I’ve lived in the Washington Park, Cory-Merrill and Virginia Village neighborhoods. My family has played in District 6 parks, shopped at its stores and attended its schools. Before running for City Council I published the Washington Park Profile newspaper for 36 years, covering the news. I believe I have a unique understanding of the community as a resident, a parent, a journalist and a councilman that helps me in my role.

What are the most important duties for a member of City Council?

The primary job of any government is to keep its people safe. As a council representative that responsibility is carried out through two channels. The first is to craft laws that further public health and safety, whether regarding public behavior, traffic control, zoning, environmental policy, etc. The second involves connecting individual residents to their government through day-to-day contact to be sure that the laws we craft are being applied and enforced.

What should be done to ensure a high quality of life for residents as Denver’s population continues to grow?

Development in Denver has been booming for much of the past decade, but its benefits have not reached all residents or all neighborhoods. We must create an inventory of affordable housing. Our homeless must have shelter and services needed to restore them to a productive lifestyle. Seniors must have affordable options for housing should they choose to downsize later in life. Young families must have the choice to raise their families in the neighborhoods where they themselves were raised.

What will be your top priority if you are elected to this office?

I will work to craft policies that shift the emphasis of development in Denver to serve our civic values first and private profit second — meaning construction of quality attainable housing for all income levels, creation of more green space where community can flourish and ensuring that as we grow, we do so in a manner that takes into account the effect of that development on our planet.

Kashmann is running unopposed.

City Council District 7

The district covers the Valverde, Baker, Speer, Athmar Park, Washington Park West, Ruby Hill, Overland, College View-South Platte and Platt Park neighborhoods. Councilmember Jolon Clark currently represents District 7.

Jolon Clark

Is a Denver native.

Profession: Denver City Council member. Clark was elected in 2015 and is currently the City Council president.

Campaign Website: www.jolonclarkfordenver.com

Why are you seeking this office?

It has been an amazing honor to represent District 7 for the past four years, and I am running to keep fighting hard for my community on the city council. Working with the neighborhoods in District 7, we were able to get funding for so many infrastructure projects that the community has been asking for and get so many great things started, but there is so much more to do.  

What makes you the best choice for this office?

I love this community, I spent my entire adult life working with and for this community, first along the South Platte with The Greenway Foundation, and over the past four years on the city council. My heart and my passion is working for and fighting for this community. With four years under my belt I am even better equipped tackle the issues that matter to my constituents.

What are the most important duties for a member of council?

Helping citizens navigate the city, get answers to their questions, and advocate for their concerns, managing and approving the city budget while ensuring that the money matches the needs and priorities of the community.

What should be done to ensure a high quality of life for residents as Denver’s population continues to grow?

We need to get every neighborhood a neighborhood plan so that they have a real voice in how growth happens and what it looks like. We need to make sure that every citizen has a park within a safe 10 minute walk and that all of our parks have high quality amenities. We need a complete network for transit, bikes, and pedestrians so that people have real options about how they get around the city.

What will be your top priority if you are elected to this office?

Continue to be accessible and responsive to the citizens that I represent while being a strong voice for them on the city council. 

Clark is running unopposed.

City Council District 10

The district covers the Uptown, Golden Triangle, Capitol Hill, Cheesman Park, Congress Park, Alamo Placita, Country Club and Cherry Creek neighborhoods. Councilmember Wayne New currently represents District 10.

Chris Hinds

Has lived in Denver for the last 12 years.

Profession: Financial analyst

Campaign Website: https://ChrisForDenver.com/

Why are you seeking this office?

I’ve been an advocate at the local and state levels for years now. My neighbors kept asking me to speak on their behalf because they felt like they didn’t have a champion at City Hall who was representing their interests. I’ve served on Blueprint, multiple RNOs (Registered Neighborhood Organizations) including CHUN (Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods), successfully lobbied the state Legislature, and even have a law named after me. We need qualified representation, and I’m ready to fight for District 10.

What makes you the best choice for this office?

The Chris Hinds Act proves that I have the skill and disposition to listen to all sides of the conversation to create something that works for everyone. But don’t take just my word for it — look at ChrisForDenver.com and you’ll see the more than 60 elected officials and organizations who agree that I’m the best person to serve District 10. Better yet, call me at 303-717-9174, and let’s talk about what matters most to you.

What are the most important duties for a member of council?

A representative’s most important duty is to represent. That means having a fully staffed office that can field and respond to calls, and it also means a representative that actively visits every neighborhood in the district at times when constituents are available. People consistently tell me that I’m “everywhere.” While that’s factually impossible, many tell me they have no challenge finding me to share concerns. (Also, I honestly have no twin brothers or body doubles!)

What should be done to ensure a high quality of life for residents as Denver’s population continues to grow?

We need viable car alternatives. Fix our busted and broken sidewalks. Install protected bike lanes. Improve mass transit. We all deserve the freedom to get from A to B and feel safe while getting there. Let’s make sure everything needed to thrive is available in each neighborhood within a 20-minute walk or roll. It helps the planet and our physical health. It helps community, too, because we see our neighbors more and develop stronger bonds.

What will be your top priority if you are elected to this office?

We must restore trust in residents that all of District 10 is represented. I’ve already spoken with thousands in District 10, and we will formalize the many ways everyone in 10 can share input. We will once again have a champion for the district, someone who’s ready and willing to fight for the needs of 10. Let’s preserve what makes us special while also welcoming newcomers to our wonderful city. I hope you’ll join us!

Antonio Mendez

Has lived in Denver since 2011.

Profession: Executive director at Serve Colorado

Campaign Website: www.mendezfordenver.com

Why are you seeking this office?

I’m running for city council because I want to represent our entire district, not just one subsection. Denver is growing fast and we need leadership to address some of the challenges we are facing as a result of that growth — lack of affordable housing, a growing homeless population, increased pollution, and poor infrastructure. I believe our leadership needs to be focused on building the Denver of tomorrow, not preserving the Denver of yesterday.

What makes you the best choice for this office?

I’ve spent my entire career as a public servant — from serving a class of third-graders in Newark, New Jersey to teaching a class of Andorran high schoolers English as a Fulbright Fellow to serving as deputy chief of staff for two Colorado lieutenant governors. My varied experiences in public service gives me the tools necessary to lead on day one. My unique background has prepared me to take on the challenges of effective city governance.

What are the most important duties for a member of council?

The most important duty of a city council member, at this moment, is to represent their community. Our current city council members are criticized heavily by residents who feel they are beholden to private interests and no longer have the interest of the people at heart. This next city council has to re-instill faith in leadership and government before they can work on the city budget or new community plans.

What should be done to ensure a high quality of life for residents as Denver’s population continues to grow?

City council needs to address Denver’s environmental concern including water, air, and natural lands. We’ve seen the rise in ozone-related air quality issues affect our citizens negatively and an increase in heart and lung problems. With all the growth in Denver (over 100,000 people in the last seven years) water demand will soon exceed supply. Conservation is in our city’s DNA so we need to make sure to prioritize from a policy and legislative perspective.

What will be your top priority if you are elected to this office?

Addressing our city’s affordable housing problem. Many know that wages have not kept pace with inflation and the growth in our city, the shortage of housing supply, especially condos, in our housing market, and other factors have led to a housing crisis in our city. City council’s efforts have barely made an impact and more concentrated efforts and innovation are needed to truly address this issue.

Wayne New

Has lived in Denver since 1999.

Profession: Denver City Council member. New was elected in 2015.

Campaign Website: www.wayneforcouncil.com

Why are you seeking this office?

Grateful for current successes, I want to do more. My whole life is a blend of public service and business management, making me the most qualified. My first term gives me hands-on knowledge and enables me to get more things done. District 10 is beautiful and diverse with art, history, unique neighborhoods, parks, character, and vibrancy. I love representing the “heart of Denver” and I want to continue serving, protecting and enhancing our quality of life.

What makes you the best choice for this office?

Before my election, I earned 30-plus years’ experience with children’s hospital management. The city, like hospitals, has almost 70 percent labor costs, operates 24/7, and meets daily citizen needs dealing with quality-of-life issues. Through education and experience, I have great insight into financial operations and extensive operational improvement experience. I am an inclusive facilitator, able to bring community leaders and city officials together, creating the most effective, quality solutions for our neighborhoods and businesses.

What are the most important duties for a member of council?

Being accessible and communicating regularly with all constituents. I achieve this through constant, responsive office assistance; weekly in-the-community office hours; informative newsletters and emails; and resident surveys on key city issues. Having a thorough understanding of the zoning code and processes is indispensable. Lastly, having a broad perspective on both current and future citywide needs, in order to build cooperation among city council and the mayor to promote and maintain smart strategies for the future.

What should be done to ensure a high quality of life for residents as Denver’s population continues to grow?

We need strategic, synergistic planning that identifies implementation and funding. Our three most pressing issues, affordable housing, homelessness, and transportation, should have integrated solutions. Smarter solutions solve more than one issue simultaneously, costing less. Reducing neighborhood traffic as well as crime enhances public safety. Preserving the quality of parks contributes to health and well-being. A city is its people. Elected officials and all city employees must remember: We serve the people first!

What will be your top priority if you are elected to this office?

I run my office on what I call the five E’s: Education to build understanding; Effectiveness to eliminate waste and respond quickly to constituents; Efficiency to spend your tax dollars delivering value and the quality of life you deserve; Enforcement of existing regulations; and Enhancement of the environment to protect and maintain the beauty and quality of our neighborhoods, parks, open space, and natural resources. I love Denver.

Tony Smith

Has lived in Denver since 2000.

Profession: Cherry Creek Arts Festival

Campaign Website: www.tonyfordenver.com

Why are you seeking this office?

I am seeking this office because I strongly believe that Denverites are missing a connection to local government — I will represent District 10’s diversity, because we all need to feel represented and have a connection to local government. I want to be a proactive strong voice for their concerns, focusing on listening to District 10’s residents’ concerns and learning from them.

What makes you the best choice for this office?

When I look at City Council, I see a group of individuals rather than a team. As shown by my time at the Cherry Creek Arts Festival and on various city commissions, and boards of directors, I am a proven collaborator and coalition builder, and I can help build coalitions on city council and with the myriad of city agencies and departments on crucial issues facing the city. We need people on council that can relate to all people, be proactive, relatable and passionately serve our citizens.

What are the most important duties for a member of council?

The most important duty is to listen, respond and represent the views of their district. I will work tirelessly to make sure District 10 is fairly and fully represented on council. Furthermore, we need city council to more effectively manage the growth of the city.

What should be done to ensure a high quality of life for residents as Denver’s population continues to grow?

We need to expand affordable and low-income housing options in the city, provide increased services for our growing homeless population, proactively work to preserve the character of our neighborhoods, provide access to a more robust transportation network and educate residents on the incredible city resources available for health and wellness.

What will be your top priority if you are elected to this office?

My top priority will certainly be to expand affordable and low-income housing in Denver. Too many residents are struggling to find places to live, and we must focus on equitable solutions for all.

City Council-At-Large

City Council members that serve at-large serve the city as a whole. There are two seats for at-large councilmembers. Robin Kniech and Deborah Ortega are the councilmembers currently in this position.

Johnny Hayes

Grew up in Denver. 

Profession:  Artist, musician and writer

Campaign Website: www.johnnyhayesfordenver.org

Why are you seeking this office?

I’m seeking the office of City Council At-Large to affect change that improves the quality of life for the people of Denver. Through my volunteer work and connection to the community, I noticed solvable problems that have yet to be fixed. My volunteerism within the community has involved working with children and the homeless, primarily of a therapeutic nature. I believe in the arts, preservation of our history, protection of civil rights, government accountability, and have a special connection with the Deaf community.

What makes you the best choice for this office?

I’m a problem solver and a leader, and I’m willing to think outside of the box to find creative solutions. What I see now are wheelchair accessible sidewalks at every intersection and that wasn’t always the case. That is creative thinking and a progressive idea. I don’t try to think in terms of who is the best candidate because two of us will be working together after the election as part of a team. I think more in line with what are the best choices.

What are the most important duties for a member of council?

The most important duties of City Council are to serve the public in ways that benefit the people most by being inclusive and all encompassing. We do this through legislation, investigation of government agencies and employees, and through budgeting. But those in government also have the effect of influence, and we must be concerned with how our influence affects people.

What should be done to ensure a high quality of life for residents as Denver's population continues to grow?

People need to have the ability to rent or own homes at an affordable cost in conjunction with having the ability to stay in their community and grow and define their culture. Transportation needs improvement. We need to improve upon our current infrastructure while at the same time we need to look into creative solutions that will appeal to the people. We also need to encourage and protect small businesses. Personally, I’d like to bring more Deaf and Blind friendly businesses to Denver.

What will be your top priority if you are elected to this office?

My top priority will be to address the concerns of the citizens of Denver. Currently we are dealing with a homeless crisis, growth and development issues, job opportunities/wages, and civil rights to name a few. However, I will also have on my mind, progression of the arts, preservation of history, education of our children and of those who educate them, mental health needs, government accountability, and inclusion of the Deaf and Blind communities.

Robin Kniech

Has been living in Denver since 2004.

Profession: Denver City Council member. Kniech was elected in 2011.

Campaign Website: www.kniechforcouncil.com

Why are you seeking this office?

I have been honored to serve as a progressive partner and champion during my time as one of Denver’s two at-large councilmembers. I am seeking re-election to build on my record of bringing people together to keep our city inclusive and move Denver forward on good jobs, access to affordable housing, conservation to protect our climate, and multimodal transportation funding to promote safety and a good quality of life in Denver.

What makes you the best choice for this office?

I have a proven track record of working with impacted communities on accomplishments that improve the lives of Denver’s residents, including: leading a transformation from $0 to over $30 million per year for affordable housing, expanding property tax rebates for low-income homeowners, free eviction defense services and collaborating on a minimum wage increase for over 8,000 workers. My eight years of regional transportation experience will help me ensure sustainable funding for better, more efficient transportation.

What are the most important duties for a member of council?

1) Balance the voices of diverse communities to ensure all perspectives are heard, in spite of disagreement, 2) involve those who are most impacted in setting the agenda and shaping policies, 3) take bold action to improve our community and people’s lives, 4) understand how to partner with the administration to win resources, outcomes for the people you serve, and when to challenge them on proposals that don’t live up to expectations, 5) be responsive.

What should be done to ensure a high quality of life for residents as Denver’s population continues to grow?

Growth can and must have a conscience. Each redevelopment is an opportunity for accountability ranging from open space to job standards that uplift vulnerable families, training for new middle-income construction careers, and housing affordable to families and seniors. While we direct growth to redevelopment areas and on major transit corridors, we must preserve more of our historic buildings, as well as our culturally diverse business districts and neighborhoods with policies to fight displacement.

What will be your top priority if you are elected to this office?

My top priority has been and will continue to be supporting equity, inclusion and a good quality of life in our city even as we continue to grow. Creating job and housing opportunities that allow people of all incomes to thrive is essential, along with healthy open spaces and a transportation system to connect our lives to the places we love affordably and efficiently.

Deborah Ortegea

Has lived in Denver for 51 years.

Profession: Denver City Council member. Ortega was elected in 2011.

Campaign Website: www.ortegaatlarge.com

Why are you seeking this office?

I am seeking this office to continue my service to the people of Denver. Our city is experiencing a lot of challenges that are having a great impact on our residents – and there are also lots of opportunities coming into our city to help our people thrive. I will continue to be a tireless voice for Denver’s diverse communities and advocate for housing at varying price points that don’t exist in today’s market.

What makes you the best choice for this office?

I know how the city works and operates and I know how to get things done. For over 30 years, I have helped shape Denver into the great city we know today. I have been a tireless voice for Denver’s communities.

I am committed to a fair and equitable Denver. I understand our city government must be accountable and responsive to Denver communities and neighborhoods. I will continue to listen, advocate, collaborate, and strive to protect the public trust.

What are the most important duties for a member of council?

As the legislative branch and policy-making body in a strong mayor form of government, I believe our most important duties are to: Serve the people we represent, look to the city’s goals, review and approve funding for major projects and infrastructure improvements, delivery of basic city services (safe roads, libraries, public safety, etc) as well as address community growth, land use, finances and strategic planning.

What should be done to ensure a high quality of life for residents as Denver’s population continues to grow?

We need to make sure we have housing we can afford, jobs that pay a livable wage and affordable transportation options for all. I will fight to protect our unique neighborhoods. I will work to combat growing traffic problems with more transit options. I’ll work to create more parks and expand greenways. I will continue to push for comprehensive planning of the cumulative impact of 500 acres proposed along the Interstate 25 corridor to address infrastructure impacts as well as address displacement and gentrification of adjacent neighborhoods.

What will be your top priority if you are elected to this office?

My top priority will be to continue to put the people of our city first. I have worked to protect and preserve a city that helps its people thrive. I will continue to work to protect the most vulnerable during a time of rapid change. As the city moves to implement projects funded in the 2017 Elevate Bond, I will work with the administration to utilize Denver’s new program that is looking at race and equity as part of these projects.

Jesse Parris

Campaign Website: https://www.facebook.com/jesselashawnparris/

Jesse Parris did not respond to a request from Washington Park Profile to fill out questions for the upcoming election.

Anthony Pigford

Has lived in Denver for 34 years.

Profession: Dean at the Boys School of Denver.

Campaign Website: www.pigfordfordenver.com

Why are you seeking this office?

Denver has become a great place to live — for the wealthy. We need to make sure this city is one where everyone, regardless of what they do or where they live, can thrive. As the new at-large councilman, my goal is to represent the interests of everyday people in Denver.

What makes you the best choice for this office?

My family has lived in Denver going back to the early 20th century. I have been able to see firsthand, despite overt racism of past eras, how my parents and grandparents were able to build families and businesses in Denver. They would not be able to do so in Denver today. I want other people in Denver to be able to carry on the legacy my parents left me.

What are the most important duties for a member of council?

An at-large councilmember has the luxury of thinking beyond the confines of a single district; I believe it the most important thing an at-large member can be doing is working continuously to build unlikely coalitions to get things done for everyday people.

What should be done to ensure a high quality of life for residents as Denver’s population continues to grow?

We need to institute renter protections at the municipal level. If you’re paying more than 30 percent of your monthly income on housing, you need “affordable housing,” and it needs to be in the places people are living in right now.

What will be your top priority if you are elected to this office?

Instituting local control to ban fracking on all properties within Denver city limits.

Lynne Langdon

Grew up in Boulder, and has lived in Denver for two and 1/2 years.

Profession: Realtor

Campaign Website: https://www.facebook.com/lynne.langdon.77

Why are you seeking this office? 

I am passionate about doing a great job for Denver city residents, and making sure we are building a bright future for our city!

What Makes you the best choice for this office?

I grew up in Colorado. I value the wonderful qualities that this city has to offer it’s residents. I also have been recognized for my leadership abilities, and served on several boards in my past. The other candidates have taken money from groups and individuals and may be beholden to them when making decisions for your future.  

I am using my own money so I will be able to serve ALL Denver citizens of Denver equally.  

What are the most important duties for a member of council?

I believe my most important duty is to LISTEN and IMPLEMENT ACTION toward the issues that Denver city residents want to see done. I plan to be very excessable to citizens so that their concerns are heard and met.  

What Should be done to ensure a high quality of life for residents as Denver’s population continues to grow? 

To me a growing city needs to have a BALANCE, and a MIX of housing options in a range of prices to protect the cities diversity. I also want to make sure we implement new technologies, and proven. lower cost. green resources into our new developments. It is important to Keep our city connected to the environment in unique ways as is being done in SMART Cities such as Quayside, Toronto which can serve as a role model. 

What will be your top priority if you are elected to this office? 

My top priorities will be to create and find better solutions for our homeless and others in need of rehabilation, and in upgrading our infrastructure and transporation options and safety for all Denver citizens.  

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