North Denver City Council elections

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

Posted

Life on Capitol Hill includes neighborhoods from City Council Districts 9 and 10. Below are the candidates running for those districts, as well as for the two at-large positions.

District 9

This district covers the Globeville, Elyria Swansea, Five Points, Cole, Clayton, Whittier, Skyland, City Park West, City Park, Auraria, Union Station and the Central Business District neighborhoods. Councilmember Albus Brooks currently represents District 9.

Albus Brooks

Has lived in Denver for 20 years.

Profession: Denver City Council member. Brooks was first elected in 2015.

Campaign Website: http://albusbrooks.com/

Why are you seeking this office?

I am seeking office to build a truly inclusive city. An inclusive city is one where everyone can find a place where they feel a sense of belonging, and can afford to raise a family there. I’m running so that I can build the social and physical infrastructure of our city, starting with more affordable housing, better transit and mobility, and investments in our youngest residents. It’s time to harness our growth to build an inclusive Denver.

What makes you the best choice for this office?

I’ve been a councilmember, and council president, for two terms, and have been hard at work! Our district has more new affordable housing, sidewalks, bike lanes, social services, and cultural institutions than any other district. I have a bold vision for an inclusive city, and I actually know how to get the job done. From funding and expanding Denver Preschool Program to give universal access to preschool for all 4-year-olds, to creating our first affordable housing fund of $300 million, I’ve been hard at work.

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

The most important job of a councilmember is to listen, then lead. I’ve conducted listening tours, neighborhood chats, surveys, and knocked on doors every year in office. A good councilmember responds to constituents (my office resolves 400-plus cases per year), then represents their needs with policy.

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

Quality of life comes from building a city where everyone can find a place where they feel a sense of belonging, and can afford to raise a family there. This means that the shared rhythms of neighbors need to be built on a solid foundation of housing for all, greater mobility and transit, and investing in our youngest residents.

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

My priority will be to deliver immediate, tangible results in three areas: housing for all, greater mobility and transit, and investing in our youth. Within the year I will have accomplished the following: host a convening with the city, state, DPS, RTD, & DHA to identify land that can be developed for workforce housing; propose a $50 million annual funding strategy to complete Denver Moves for increased transit and mobility; fund the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative to identify areas of impact to serve our young men of color.

Candi CdeBaca

Is a fifth-generation Denver native from District 9.

Profession: Nonprofit

Campaign Website: www.CandiforCouncil.com

Why are you seeking this office?

In Denver we have concentrated our resources and services in an urban core that is less accessible daily. We need to focus on the big issues from a neighborhood perspective and each neighborhood has to be a self-reliant, fully functional ecosystem. In order to remain a beacon and livable city, we must leverage our growth and diversity for racial, social and economic justice. Man-made policy has led us to the inequity we experience today. We can make policy that is intentional and compassionate to address our most pressing challenges.

What makes you the best choice for this office?

As a fifth-generation native of District 9, a product of DPS schools and a nonprofit executive — I have devoted my career to improving our neighborhoods and ensuring representation and equity in all sectors of society. I believe we can meaningfully address the challenges we face across District 9 and build complete neighborhoods that are sustainable and co-governed by their residents. City council will be an opportunity to scale proven concepts and steer Denver in a direction of responsible growth, people-centered transportation and government we can trust.

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

Many people underestimate the power of councilmembers. Councilmembers authorize millions of dollars every week and most importantly approve zoning and land-use changes that shape the fundamental functions and purpose of every block in the city. City council members essentially tell us when, where, and how we can live, shop, work, walk, sell, drive, park, etc. In a home-rule city like Denver, city council is virtually the only check/balance to our mayor, which makes them/us the most important conduit for representation of our needs and desires.

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

We need to take a step back and decide how we want to grow. Responsible growth is about centering people in our city, not just profit. Unmanaged growth will not automatically result in high-quality life experiences for our residents. The cost of growth has the potential to degrade our quality of life if we do not plan for it thoughtfully. Denverites need to collectively define what a high quality life looks and feels like. Then we have to devote the appropriate resources to manifesting that vision.

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

Nothing we are building in this city matters more than building up our people. I believe in collective ownership of land, labor, resources and the distribution of resources. This is OUR city, it literally belongs to us. I would like to craft and implement policies that require and enable co-governance and participatory democracy giving the people the power to shape our city. Establishing a public bank, devoting city resources to community land trusts and investing in cooperative and employee-owned businesses are a few of my priorities.

David Oletski

Has been in Denver for 64 years.

Profession: Retired

Campaign Website:

Why are you seeking this office?

Because of all my years of family history and all of my personal life history. I have a lot to offer that no one else has to offer.

What makes you the best choice for this office?

There again, life experience, business experience and history.

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

To listen to your constituents and to do what the voters want in their neighborhood.

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

All neighborhoods should be healthy, clean and safe. All neighborhoods should be equal as far as amenities and services.

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

To make sure all neighborhoods are healthy,clean and safe. To make sure all neighborhoods have access to amenities such as grocery stores, restaurants and dentists and all services needed.

Jonathan Woodley

Has lived in Denver since 2000.

Profession: Sergeant in the National Guard, Master of Arts student at the University of Denver (graduating 2020).

Campaign Website: www.jpwoodley.org

Why are you seeking this office?

The political system in Denver's local municipality is broken and must be reset. We have elected officials that prioritize profits, self-preservation, and special interests over the people. Denver residents have longed to have any say in the development of the city. We have a reactive regime type of local government, instead of a proactive community involved approach. Issues such as housing, homelessness, violent crimes, pollution, traffic congestion, mental health, opioid addiction, and human trafficking have been progressively getting worse, not better with the current administration.

What makes you the best choice for this office?

I am best fit for this office because I believe that balance is key to sustainability. My campaign and personal position regarding campaign financing are direct examples of the integrity I feel lacks within our local government. There are zero ties to special interests or agendas, my priorities are directly involved in the people. My military service, business experience and educational background fill the voids currently held by current elected officials.

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

The most important duties for a member of city council include creating a vision for the city with the inclusion of the community and experts; to create, implement, and sustain growth and enrichment. A councilmember needs to be the driving force in their respective district and neighboring area for progress to all residents, not just selected few. They need to maintain the integrity of office by providing an environment where residents are empowered, not powerless. To defend against social and economic injustice, not be the cause for it.

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

First step is to elect new leaders, it is time to hit that reset button. From there, it is time to include all voices in the conversation. We must start building affordable housing. High-density areas should be expected; however, we really need solutions to our infrastructure problems. We cannot continue to build and build without proper outlets and parking. We must build a better foundation for our city, and this has to happen yesterday.

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

Number one has been housing. City leaders have not done enough to provide affordable housing. The affordable housing fund that is "bragged" about is a result of very minimal linkage fees aimed at developers as a "way out" of providing affordable units. This is what happens when elected officials are in the pockets of large developers. Our housing issues trickle down to most other issues we have in Denver. Rising costs lead to displacement.

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 Life on Capitol Hill 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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