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CU Denver professor running for Mayor of Aurora

Professor Omar Montgomery’s plans for Aurora

by Gabby Bye

Volunteers for Montgomery gather at Arapahoe County Democratic Headquarters.
Photo: Samantha Register · The Sentry

Omar Montgomery, a Professor at CU Denver, will face off against candidates Mike Coffman, Ryan Frazier, Marsha Berzins, Renie Peterson, and write-in candidate Tiffany Grays during this year’s Aurora mayoral election on Nov. 5.

Montgomery works as an adjunct professor at CU Denver teaching Ethnic Studies, and also serves as Director of Black Student Services at the Center of Identity and Inclusion. Montgomery has been a part of the staff for more than 14 years.

Montgomery has additionally served as Director of the Aurora branch of The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), as well as holding a variety of positions on Aurora city and community boards and committees.

Currently, Montgomery’s biggest opponent is Coffman, who served as a Republican representative for Colorado’s 6th congressional district in the past and broke the record for campaign fundraising this election cycle.

The election has already garnered national attention after former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords came to Aurora to endorse Montgomery for his proposed approach to gun violence in Aurora, which would involve getting illegal guns off the street, making the community safer for youth, and getting mentally ill individuals the help they need.

Other notable endorsements for Montgomery come from several Colorado Democratic representatives, including Ed Perlmutter and Jason Crow.

Aurora is quickly growing, with an abundance of diversity to show for it, but it still faces many issues. A lack of affordable housing in the area is a topic that plagues residents, as is the issue of high crime amongst youth in certain areas, especially when it comes to adolescents who regularly skip school. 

Crime in general is also a concern, as made evident by Montgomery’s website: “Our Aurora is the #1 safest large city in the state. But substance addiction, crime, and homelessness are still part of our reality.”

The campaign website also touches on infrastructure, caring for Aurora’s youth, “smart development,” public safety, housing, and inclusivity for minorities. Montgomery has also touched on a growing issue of first responders leaving Aurora for Denver in response to better benefits and wages.

CU Denver student and Aurora resident Abby Bronchick isn’t set on a candidate yet, but she does know what she wants from the next mayor.

“Whoever does become mayor, I would like them to address the fact that Aurora has a very big homeless problem right now. The not-nice parts of Aurora are getting pushed under the rug. I’ve been having a very big issue in my neighborhood with people coming from the light rail that appear to be on drugs, homeless, and giving a really bad rep to our neighborhood,” Bronchick said.

“I don’t feel safe sometimes. I’m all about my community and I love where I live, but there is a very big problem,” Bronchick added. “Whoever comes into mayor next needs to consider the fact that Aurora isn’t just Southeast Aurora. They need to consider all of Aurora.”

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