2019 Denver Election Politics

Jamie Giellis Talks About Denver’s 2019 Mayoral Runoff

A new identify in politics, Giellis needs to use her urban planning experience (she was president of the RiNo Art District) to “reimagine” the town, but is dealing with criticism from her opponent about the best way her marketing campaign has navigated racial issues.

By Jay Bouchard, Natasha Gardner | Might 21, 2019

Desk of Contents

The municipal election could also be over, but Denver has yet to determine on a mayor as a result of no single candidate gained nearly all of the vote on Might 7. Meaning the top two vote-getters—incumbent Michael Hancock and first-time challenger Jamie Giellis—are headed for a runoff election on June 4. 5280 interviewed both candidates twice through the campaign (the first interviews could be found here and embrace particular stances on Denver’s hottest points). With Denver’s prime power place but to be determined, we sat down with each candidates again to study more about their imaginative and prescient for the longer term.

This interview has been edited and condensed for size and clarity.


5280: What is something that Denver voters don’t find out about you?
I needed to be an astronaut once I was a kid and I went to area camp two occasions. I was set on this career to be a scientist and an astronaut and it has nothing to do with what I’m doing at present.

What’s the most important difference between you and your opponent?
Properly, I feel it’s very much about recent imaginative and prescient, recent strategy to main a growing city. He’s a mayor that has been in metropolis government for a very long time. He’s a politician. He’s a politico. And he didn’t necessarily even come into the job with an actual experience and information about urban planning or cities. And I’m coming at this after an extended career of having worked intently with—however never for—Denver government on behalf of neighborhoods and communities….I feel individuals are sick of how we’ve grown, they usually’re also sick of entrenched politicos operating the town. And I convey a recent opportunity to reimagine our future, and to do it not beholden to anybody however the individuals of Denver.

What would that reimagining appear to be?
I feel it’s the reimagination of an incredible metropolis but with individuals and quality of life at the core. As we now have grown, we harnessed our progress and our economic growth to give attention to issues like the Conference Middle enlargement, or Nationwide Western, or the Nice Corridor at DIA, or aerotropolis. We haven’t invested in our individuals. We haven’t invested in transit or actually moved forward on reasonably priced housing, or how we’re going to really care for the homeless challenges, of our park system, of cleansing our river, of empowering and strengthening our neighborhoods….Individuals feel reduce out from the method. They feel that they have misplaced a voice. They really feel like they’re dropping their Denver, and so I feel it’s to seize hold of Denver’s future and reimagine and reinvest in what makes Denver great and what a contemporary urban Denver seems to be like.

“Bringing back the streetcar” has been an enormous a part of your campaign, how would you implement it?
The Denver Moves transit plan lays out no less than the start of what an intracity community might appear to be, and it begins to prioritize streets and kinds of uses on these streets, frequency of uses. I feel the start line is simply clarifying: Is that community the appropriate network? Is it truly getting individuals where they go? How they use the town already? When it comes to the actual software that we use for the network, I really like the thought of streetcar. I’ve been very clear about that. I feel that there’s an enormous opportunity to do something actually nice. However it’s also not one thing that I’ll fall on my sword [for] if the group thinks it’s undeserving of an funding.

Why streetcars as an alternative of buses?
Streetcars have been shown to have a chance to create a better financial impression and return because you have a tendency to have the ability to incentivize improvement to happen around fastened transit strains….In [a] mayoral forum, the mayor brought up, “You know we looked at streetcar back in 2006 and it was too expensive.” Nicely, that was 13 years in the past….Why you’re seeing streetcar come back is the automobiles are lighter [and] the system that goes into the street, you don’t should dig up the street as deeply to get the system in. It’s an entire new degree of know-how and I feel it’s worthy of a relook. I don’t assume we should always simply dismiss it straight off because we tried it 13 years in the past in a research and it didn’t make sense then. Denver was an entire totally different city then.


(Read extra about Giellis’ strategy to infrastructure in Denver)

You have been clear in the course of the campaign that you simply did not help Initiative 300, but have also talked about considerations with the camping ban. Would you’re employed to carry the camping ban?
I stated throughout the campaign I’m completely towards 300 however the city tenting ban is flawed policy as nicely….It was by no means carried out to truly handle homelessness. It was carried out to deal with the Occupy Denver movement. We now have 16 other ordinances on the books that handle homelessness in some style, from park curfews to sit-and-lie to numerous different things….I feel it’s flawed coverage that must be changed with other instruments, and the first thing being if we would like individuals to not be sleeping on our streets, and in our alleys, and on our riverfronts, then we’d like to have the ability to get to them and help join them and [provide] them an alternate for places to go. That’s where the mayor has utterly failed within the final eight years is offering enough choices and alternatives for individuals to go briefly, to go permanently, and to go and get mental well being remedy or providers that they want.

You’ve got quite a little bit of your funding coming in from three developers. What influence may these relationships have on you in case you have been elected?
Once I decided to run, clearly, the very first thing I used to be nervous about is who runs a campaign and how do you fund it. So I put collectively my campaign workforce, to begin with. And then the second thing I did was go to 3 individuals I knew that would write massive checks and stated, “We have to hit the ground running otherwise we’re not going to be able to keep up with an incumbent.” They usually all dedicated….So, for me, it wasn’t so much about them pushing me or who am I going to be beholden to. It was about: I want assets, and if I’m going to get on this I have to know that I a minimum of have the money to do it proper. They usually haven’t been concerned in the marketing campaign much past that. Definitely, we’re speaking on a regular basis. They’re offering their ideas, but so are the 500 different people who have given money.

A news report highlighted that you simply haven’t voted in some municipal elections. Why would you ask voters to act in a different way?
To begin with, I’m very upfront in saying, “Wrong move, obviously; stupid thing for me to have done.” That stated, I feel it’s essential that anybody that cares concerning the city become involved and have their voice heard….This can be a job interview for who’s going to run your city and I’ve been a really, very engaged individual working on the group aspect of things the whole time I’ve been in Denver, working in lots of places. And so, I feel this can be a second. A studying second for individuals. Step in. Become involved. It’s the way you make a distinction.

You can turn into Denver’s first female mayor. Have gender and race performed a factor in this election?
I feel they are critically necessary. I’ve made a dedication and I look ahead to working additionally with Lisa and Pen on this—this has been a core piece of their platforms as properly—to ensure that our administration and our metropolis staff symbolize the various material of the town itself and that’s a dedication I’ve to make and be held accountable to. So males. Ladies. Communities of shade. LGBTQ. Younger. Previous. We have to be sure that the people who are making selections for the town are representative of individuals of the town.


Twitter was buzzing this morning (Might 16) with reactions to your Brother Jeff Fard’s Fb Reside interview yesterday. Do you’ve got a touch upon that?
It was 3:15 in the afternoon and I had simply come from a one-on-one debate [with] Mayor Hancock, from a press conference, from six other media interviews, they usually stated to me, anyone says, “You don’t know what the NAACP is.” And I stated, “Well yes, I know what the NAACP is. It’s an organization that works on advocacy for communities of color, for education, politics. I just had a debate that was hosted by them.” They usually stated, “Well, yes but what does it stand for?” And I, just in that moment, had a momentary lapse. I acquired off the digital camera, I turned to Shay [the host] and I stated, “OK, I got it. National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.” Complete mind lapse moment and its being was an unfortunate factor, which, you already know what, at the finish of the day now everyone’s speaking concerning the NAACP.

Before the overall election, your campaign sent 25,000 mailers to potential voters that didn’t determine the funding source as your campaign. How did that occur?
We had some Republicans strategy us and say, “You know what? We’re going to support Jamie. We’d like to do a letter to other registered Republicans voters that says here’s why we are supporting her.” And so it got here out from our office and the one difficulty was that the “Paid for by Jamie for Denver” disclaimer fell off the bottom of the letter. And, once more, campaign error. So we sent it out, however it was from our workplace; it had our workplace tackle on it….It received referred to as to our attention and we received a $500 superb and that happens. All of the campaigns I feel have had issues filed towards them now.

The new psilocybin mushroom decriminalization rule lately went into impact; how would you tackle it?
Nicely, it’s my job to comply with the desire of the voters, so I’ll work out what we have to do to make it work…It’s been determined and we’ll be sure that it’s accomplished and [just] make sure that we recognize as we [proceed] if there are unintended penalties that come from that, that we’re prepared to have the conversations.

What’s your ultimate pitch to voters?
It’s a moment for change. I feel the election spoke loud and clear between the mayoral runoff and different Metropolis Council runoffs that individuals are very much eager to see a recent start for the town and to grab hold of this improvement and progress that’s occurred….I feel if—when—I get elected, this can be a pivotal moment. It is going to be a disruption to the system right here and I feel typically disruption has achieved nice things for Denver, so I hope the voters will give me a chance.

Jay Bouchard, Digital Assistant Editor

Jay writes and edits stories for 5280.com and assists the digital workforce with social media and on-line strategy.

Natasha Gardner, Articles Editor

Natasha Gardner writes and edits longform journalism and multimedia tasks for 5280 and is a daily columnist for 5280.com.