I have lived in Denver for 30 plus years, moving here as a child in 1984. My parents moved here from northern Wisconsin for a better quality of life, and my husband and I are raising our daughter here for the same reason.
I am a real estate agent and over the past few years I have seen the availability in homes drop with the prices going through the roof. Hard working, middle-class people can barely afford to live here, with the average home in Denver now over half a million dollars. When I moved here in the 80s, we were a quiet little cow town. Over the past decade the secret of Denver has gotten out, and we have experienced an influx of people all wanting the amazing life Denver and Colorado can provide. But because of the lack of long term vision of many city and state leaders, we have been unprepared for the growth, and we now find the city playing catch up to accommodate everyone who is here. We see this lack of vision in many areas including the lack of permanently affordable housing, the increase in the homeless population and our ever growing traffic combined with lack of resources allocated for innovative public transit. This is one reason why I am running for city council.
I want to preserve the wonderful quality of life that brings so many here and keeps us all here, and to do that we need to focus on the needs of the citizens. We need leaders who aren’t afraid to stand up for what is right, even if its difficult politically. I am honored to have the opportunity to earn your vote for Denver City Council District 4.
Like all of Denver, the housing market in district 4 has seen substantial growth in the past 5 plus years. This can be great for those who are building equity, but it creates a barrier for many trying to own a home. Teachers, firefighters, police officers, nurses, and new families are just a few groups who are finding the Denver market difficult if not impossible to buy in. Having an economically diverse neighborhood is good for long term stability as well as freedom of movement. As a real estate agent, I have the unique perspective of helping mainly middle class clients purchase homes in the metro area. Recently the average home in Denver is now over $500,000 dollars. That is not an amount most can afford, and I believe people should have the ability to live in the areas they work. When homes are out of reach for our teachers, police officers, nurses and firefighters, they have to spend more time commuting to their important yet underpaid jobs, away from their families and the community they serve. There are aspects of the housing market we cannot expect government to control. As someone who has lived in Denver before it became popular, the secret is out, and we cannot and should not stop people from moving here. However, we can expect our elected officials to make sure developers are respecting the neighborhoods they are building in, and not giving everything away for them to do it. The developers don’t need anymore carrots. They need to build sustainably and for affordability or not at all. The current administration has been favoring luxury projects, that are far out of reach for most citizens. We also need to make sure our seniors have safe, clean and consistent housing, as most are on fixed incomes and cannot afford yearly rental increases. I do not think people should spend more than 30% of their income on housing, and if elected to city council I will to everything I can to make more permanent affordable housing as well as more affordable housing for all income levels.
Safety comes in many forms. In district 4 we have a problem with safe and walkable sidewalks. Our neighborhood has many families with young children and many seniors who walk and use public transit as their main form of transportation. It is imperative we not only repair the broken sidewalks, but expand the sidewalk system and make the streets safe for pedestrians, bicycles and cars. Studies have shown walkable cities are better for the environment and help people live longer and healthier lives. While cars will always have a place in the city, we need to make other forms of transit more viable, and make our streets more bike and pedestrian friendly. If elected to city council I will work to expand our public transit options, safe bike lanes and safe sidewalks.