Political Science Student Union hosts Auraria’s candidates
The time has come once again for Denver to hold city elections, and this time the Auraria Campus got involved in the campaign process. On April 9, the Political Science Student Union hosted a City Council debate in the Tivoli.
Blythe Scott, President of the PSSU, highlighted the importance of local elections, saying, “Local elections matter more than national… because the decisions made locally affect your life more.”
Auraria is part of Denver’s District 9, one of the city’s 11 districts.Along with the campus, District 9 also includes Union Station, Five Points, Globeville, Elyria Swansea, and City Park. This year, there are four candidates running for city council.
The candidates are Albus Brooks, the incumbent councilman who has served two terms; Jonathan Woodley, a member of the Colorado Army National Guard who served overseas from 2016 to 2017; Candi CdeBaca, a Denver native and community leader who founded the nonprofit Project Voyce; and Dave Oletski, a Globeville native with a long list of volunteer positions in the Denver metro area.
All four candidates confirmed their participation in the event, but Oletski did not attend.
The debate was a lively one, and some of Denver’s toughest issues were touched upon. Candidates’ supporters in the audience were often vocal, especially those cheering on CdeBaca.
Each candidate was allowed an opening statement. Albus Brooks went first, highlighting his three-part vision for the city: to create housing for all, to provide equitable transit for all, and to focus on the next generation with an emphasis on early childhood education. Candi CdeBaca offered a community-centric message, stating it is her desire to “lift up the voices that are always forgotten.” Jonathan Woodley said his focus is on Denver’s economic inequality.
Next came the debate questions. First, the moderators asked four in-depth questions that centered around Denver’s hottest current issues, followed by shorter questions, a rapid-fire round, and lastly, audience questions.
The whole debate lasted around two hours and covered a wide variety of topics ranging from housing, mass-transit, and the I-70 expansion, to the homeless camping ban and the decriminalization of mushrooms. However, the topic that was focused on most was Denver’s affordable housing issue. When asked what each candidate saw as the biggest problem currently facing the city was, each cited housing.
CdeBaca said that Denver must make affordable development mandatory. She stated, “It’s time to take care of the people who are here” rather than incentivize expensive development in order to draw more people in.
Woodley said he wants to make Denver more cosmopolitan by including everyone in the conversation, saying, “[addressing the affordable housing issue] needs to be an ongoing community-engagement process.”
Albus Brooks, too, cited the need for more affordable housing and the necessity to listen to the needs of the people in that housing. He also came at the question from a business angle, explaining, “My focus is black, brown, and woman-owned businesses.” This focus, Brooks said, is because minority-owned businesses in Denver have been disappearing.
Denver is holding mayoral, city clerk, auditor, and council elections on May 7. Voting information can be found at the Denver Division of Elections website.