The House District 4 primaries are this spring. WeCAN is bringing a candidate forum to the January 9th meeting. Each candidate will have an opportunity to introduce themselves and there will be time for Q&A. Here are the candidates participating in our forum.
Twenty-four years ago, in the fall of 1993, I made one of the best decisions I have ever made: I loaded everything I owned into my car and drove to Denver. I’ve called Colorado home ever since.
In 2001, I had the honor of working in the chambers of then-Justice Gregory J. Hobbs, Jr. of the Colorado Supreme Court, a job that allowed me to serve Colorado at the highest level. I was able to gain incredible experience working on water law, but that wasn’t all. Our chambers addressed issues ranging from criminal cases to condemnation to taxation. It was also that year that I moved into a small, sunny rental at 32nd and Stuart, right in the beating heart of Denver’s West Highland neighborhood. I was able to hop on the 32 bus to the courthouse every day. I fell in love with this community and I haven’t left since.
I really came into my own here. It is where I bought my first house; started my first job as a private attorney; left that work to lead a statewide nonprofit, the Colorado Water Trust; made lifelong friends; met my husband; adopted my dog; gave birth to my son, send my son to school; and hope to live for many years to come.
I have lived through the incredible change that has occurred in our backyards since I moved into this community; it has affected everyone, especially those deeply-rooted.
And now is the time to give back to this place that has meant so much to me, and make it an even better place, a place that maintains its cultural and economic diversity, a place that balances the needs of its old and new residents, and above all else works to meet the basic needs of its families for affordable housing, environmental justice, and quality public education. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or to learn more about how you can get involved in my campaign.
William Edward "Ed" Britt was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Ed attended public school in the Atlanta area and graduated from Riverside Military Academy. His undergraduate education began at Georgia Southern University and concluded at University of Mississippi. 'Ole Miss has a storied and infamous history of social unrest and political change. Historical sites and placards commemorate the events of the past and served as reminders to Eddie how passion and commitment can transform public opinion and change a nation. Ed also obtained a Master's degree in Public Administration from the University of Colorado at Denver with an emphasis in Local Government Budgeting. Ed is also a graduate of the prestigious Colorado Institute for Leadership Training that has produced more than 50 Democratic State Legislators and numerous other elected and nonprofit leaders statewide.
Ed has lived in Denver for over 23 years. During that time, his passion and commitment to helping others has provided community service to groups and organizations such as the Sloan's Lake Neighborhood Association, Sloan's Lake Neighborhood Group, His Provision Food Ministries, and Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation.
Ed has worked for government and educational organizations such as the Colorado Attorney General's Office, Auraria Higher Education Center, the Department of Revenue and The R-Enlisted Association for Military Veterans. Ed's most recent foray into the political arena, other than running for State Representative, helped draft legislation to assist individuals with small municipal, petty offences, by allowing their cases to be heard by a judge to decide, if the individual's merits after 10 years of no subsequent criminal convictions would allow, the record to be sealed. Working with numerous lawmakers, individuals, nonprofits, and governmental organizations after many years, the bill was finally passed into law. These low-level offenses, often misreported by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, put an undue hardship on people, including denial of gainful employment and housing. Without the means to support themselves, faced with dire situations, or no place to live, the cycle of food stamps, Medicaid, or other support mechanisms are unbreakable. Now, hard-working, good citizens of Colorado have an equal opportunity at bettering themselves under this legislation thanks to the work of Ed Britt.
Serena is a proud Denver native and third generation North Denver resident. She and her husband are raising their three children in the same community where they both grew up, went to school and have deep roots. Serena attended public school from elementary through high school in North Denver and had her first job at a restaurant on 32 nd and Lowell as a teenager. Serena met her husband at North High School, she helped her parents run several small businesses in the district and has been an advocate both as a parent and neighbor. North Denver is where she learned to stand up for others and for the community. She considers herself fortunate to have been born and educated in Colorado.
After graduating from North High School Serena went on to receive her Bachelors of Science in Psychology from Colorado State University and began a career in human services. She worked with victim’s advocates supporting domestic violence victims and as a youth counselor and caseworker. Serena is now is the Director for the Denver Collaborative Partnership and works with young people and their families during some of the most stressful and vulnerable situations in their lives. Serena helps them navigate complicated juvenile and youth services systems by partnering with them to work through what can sometimes be bureaucratic and complicated state systems. As the Director of the Denver Collaborative Partnership, she is responsible for ensuring that the needs of our young people are met, including mental health assistance, substance abuse treatment and assessing and assisting with basic needs such as housing, clothing and food.
Serena’s experience gives her a unique perspective of the many challenges Colorado families face and clear mandates about what needs to change to meet their needs. Serena has long been drawn to public service because of her desire to make a difference and to better the lives of those around her. Serena is running for State Representative to use her human services and criminal justice experience to improve the outcomes of our most vulnerable. Serena will listen to her neighbors and partner with the residents of House District 4 to build stronger families, stronger communities and a stronger Colorado.
North Denver resident since 1974, Retired from City of Denver after 35 years. Currently exploring being the House District 4 candidate for the Republican Party.
Michael Kiley is 4th generation Coloradan, son of Danielle Campa and Michael Kiley Sr. He and his wife Donna Benton are proud parents of a son at Skinner Middle School and daughter at North High School. Michael has thirty years of experience as a manager of technology projects, leading teams to define problems and identify solutions, and implementing the optimal solution. As a manager, Michael is ultimately accountable for the success of his projects. He also has a 10 year track record as a community leader, helping to save Skinner Middle School and North High School as strong neighborhood schools. Michael is a vocal leader in opposition to the I70 Expansion (AKA Ditch the Ditch) and continues to hold our City and State government accountable to providing more opportunities to women and minority owned businesses.
As your representative in the Colorado State Legislature, Michael will put the needs of our community ahead of special interests. He will fight for many more living wage jobs, comprehensive affordable housing and healthcare, and protection of our precious Colorado environment, including ending our dependence on fossil fuels.Twitter: https://twitter.com/michaelkiley2
When Even Stevens, a sandwich chain based in Salt Lake City, Utah, opened its first Colorado store near Sloan’s Lake (4245 W. Colfax Ave.) in Denver last August, it partnered with Bienvenidos and three other non-profits – Grant Avenue Street Reach, The Action Center and Sun Valley Youth Center.
For each sandwich sold, Even Stevens provides the equivalent of a sandwich to the non-profits it serves. The non-profits have access to Sysco, the restaurant’s food distributor, where they can order sandwich ingredients at wholesale prices.
The West Colfax store has donated more than 20,000 sandwiches since it opened in August.
“Giving back is ingrained into our company DNA,” says Sara Day, Co-Founder and Cause Director of Even Stevens Sandwiches. “From day one we knew we wanted to provide great tasting food as well as an easy way for our customers to give back to their communities in a meaningful way. We were super excited to arrive in Colorado and start building partnerships with organizations that are experts in serving those in need – and we know we are going to have a long and fruitful relationship in the neighborhood.”
Greg Pratt, executive director of Bienvenidos, located at 38th and Pecos Street in Denver, says the new partnership has allowed him to double the amount of fresh produce and protein each month he can provide needy families.
Sandwich sales at the Sloan’s Lake Even Stevens store has given Pratt the ability to purchase nearly $1,000 worth of food from Sysco each month for the last four months thanks to sandwich sales.
“Fresh fruits, vegetables and meats are the most requested items for our food pantry,” Pratt says. “Everyone wants to provide healthy food for their families and Even Stevens has given us the opportunity to do just that. We are grateful for this new and innovative approach to funding non-profits.”
Bienvenidos Food Bank Director Greg Pratt and volunteer Sherine Dominguez
Bienvenidos Food Bank:
· Serves nearly 10,000 Denver people annually, including 1,000 children.
· Provides enough food to make more than 300,000 meals.
· Gives away more than 350,000 pounds of food valued at nearly $600,000.
· Is able to purchase $9 worth of food for every $1 donation.
Opened its first location in Salt Lake City in 2014. It donated its millionth sandwich in January 2017 and its two millionth in November.
The brand now has 20 locations in Utah, Idaho, Texas, Arizona, Colorado and a Seattle location opening next week. In addition to their give back program, Even Stevens also places a high value in being a true community brand by hiring local musicians to play three days a week in their shops and sourcing products locally like Novo Coffee, Infinite Monkey Theorem wines, Epic Brewery, Renegade Brewing and Colorado Cookie Company. They have plans for further expansion in Colorado so stay tuned for a location near you!
October 7th was a beautiful fall day in Colorado, which also represented a wonderful opportunity for neighbors and volunteers to gather together for a clean-up day in the West Colfax neighborhood, through Extreme Community Makeover. 90 volunteers from Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Cuningham Group, God’s Grace Community Church, Harvest Bible Chapel, Human Services Education Organization, and WeCAN worked together to complete 1 yard clean-up project, 2 community garden clean-up projects, while also cleaning 6 alleys in the neighborhood. Thank you to everyone who participated and made an impact in helping to get a few more projects finished before the winter!
October 2017 Clean-Up Day Photos
Extreme Community Makeover (ECM) has been making in impact in the West Colfax neighborhood this year, along with seven other Denver neighborhoods. As volunteers offer helping hands to work on outside projects like yard work, painting, landscaping, trimming bushes, cleaning alleys, and a variety of other tasks, people are coming together to help their neighbors, to build stronger communities, and to have fun while working together! Here’s a glimpse into what Extreme Community Makeover has accomplished this year:
· 3,465 volunteers participated
· 216 projects completed
· 231 alleys cleaned
· 18,290 volunteer hours invested in Denver neighborhoods
You are also invited to the upcoming Art is in the Air event hosted by ECM on Friday, November 10 at 7:00 pm at the Artwork Network gallery (878 Santa Fe Drive). This event is the annual fundraiser for Extreme Community Makeover, but also one of their most fun events of the year! Enjoy appetizers, drinks, and desserts, along with live art and music, while checking out the items available in the raffle, silent, and live auctions. Tickets are $30 (if purchased by Fri Nov 3 at 7:00 pm), so invite some friends and neighbors to join you for a fun night supporting a great cause that is making an impact right here in your neighborhood! Get your tickets here – http://www.extremecommunitymakeover.org/art/
by Megan Yonke
Residents of the West Colfax neighborhood are in for a treat! If GO Bond funding is approved this November, plans to give Paco Sanchez a facelift will move forward. The City officially broke ground on all the planned renovations on July 27th, and I stopped by to take a brief look at what is planned. The first phase of the renovations include a play structure that I am certain will be beloved by the children of the West Colfax neighborhood.
I arrived a little late to the official ceremony but briefly caught the address delivered by Nettie Moore and then Councilman Lopez, followed by the customary dirty-shoveling activity by City officials and youth from Girls’ Inc.
At the event, both Girl’s Inc. and the Corky Gonzales library had information tables, and families from the throughout the neighborhood were there in the hot sun, excited for what is to come.
Interested in learning more about this project? See the recent Denverite article: https://www.denverite.com/denver-getting-started-multi-million-dollar-play-bonanza-paco-sanchez-park-32097/
I am excited to hear thoughts from my neighbors!
The Lakehouse will formally break ground on June 5th!
We in the West Colfax community treasure living at the “water’s edge” of Sloan’s Lake. We walk, run, bike and socialize with our neighbors at that edge on a daily basis. Our views around the Lake are about to change as we welcome new neighbors. When the Lakehouse receives its certificate of occupancy in July 2019 (targeted date), this real estate product will be an architectural and programmatic gem of the City of Denver. Twelve stories at its maximum height and stepping down toward the Lake, this Well-certified building will feature a fitness center and yoga studio, as well as a rooftop garden and juicing bar. There will be two floors of underground parking. Our new neighbors will pay handsomely for these high-end amenities, as well as interior finishes that some residents are procuring all the way from Italy.
The two new residents I spoke with, coming from Iowa, are excited about their condo at the Lakehouse serving as their forever home in retirement. At the groundbreaking ceremony on May 24th , there was much jubilation about the uniqueness of the Lakehouse project in Denver. Attendees of the ceremony included the who’s who of the Denver real estate development world, as well as new owners of the condos. Nava Real Estate Group pulled out all the stops to celebrate. When they first arrived, attendees first marveled in the sales office over the model building and the showcase of high-end finishes, while having an opportunity to chat about the project with the construction team at GW Phillips and architecture team at RNL. A marching jazz band called all attendees to attention to launch the formal event. Attendees were first welcomed by Trevor Hines, CEO of Nava Real Estate Development, followed by Denver City Councilman Albus Brooks. Coucilman Brooks applauded the project team for taking risks in building condos, as well as supporting the building of affordable for-sale townhomes across the street, part of the Inclusionary Housing Ordinance. Condo projects in the City of Denver are rare, because of the history of condo-defect law in the State of Colorado, but the Lakehouse Project has proven that high-end condos can be built. As project stakeholders grabbed hard hats and shovels and began the ceremonial dig, the team lit off fireworks in the background. We are excited to welcome our new neighbors and hope they will get involved in the WeCAN organization.
The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema held a media tour and ribbon cutting ceremony on May 8th. Phil Sparr, from WeCAN's Business Outreach Committee, was on-hand to attend and report.The ribbon cutting attendees included: acclaimed author James Ellroy (L.A. Confidential), Walter Chaw (Alamo Denver VP of Operations), Hannah Medoff (Alamo Sloan's GM), Dave Kennedy (Alamo Sloan's Owner), and longtime neighborhood resident Nettie Moore.Mr. Ellroy opened a bottle of champagne with a saber to commemorate the opening and then Mr. Shaw led a tour. There are 8 theaters ranging in size from 48 to 196 seats and a full service bar/patio, Barfly, which will host poetry readings, musical acts, and various community events and is dedicated to West Colfax's beat poetry past.Mr. Shaw expressed his hope that the community will make the theater their own and help guide its future programming.The theater and Barfly are located at 4255 W. Colfax Ave. and are both open for business.