Lakewood isn’t just my home. Lakewood is my family.
I lost my mom when I was twelve, after a six-year battle with breast cancer. My dad, a local pastor, never escaped his grief – dying of alcoholism when I was 22. As a Green Mountain kid, I enjoyed playing sports in our local parks and learned to ride my bike in the fields that make up one of Lakewood's newest neighborhoods, Solterra. It was in this community that I found the support I needed. As a youth I got into trouble now and then, meeting the Lakewood Police “maybe” once or twice, yet I got the chances needed to make something of myself.
Lakewood picked me up and wouldn’t let me fail. After dropping out briefly, with the support of great teachers, family, and friends I graduated from Green Mountain High School.
That’s called community. That’s Lakewood.
I started a small transportation business in 2001, which I still operate today, and enrolled at Red Rocks Community College to study Political Science. Wanting to give back to Lakewood I ran and was elected to the Green Mountain Water Board, serving six years. I had the opportunity to continue my public service and ran for the Lakewood City Council in 2007, serving two terms.
During my first term on City Council, I graduated from the University of Colorado, Denver. Upon graduation, I opened a letter from my mom that she had written in her last days. In it, she tasked me to, “work hard to change the ugliness, but always take time to see the beauty.” As a public servant, I have tried to live by and uphold her words every day. That’s why I ran to be your Mayor in 2015, and together we have worked hard and have accomplished much.
Lakewood has had some great wins, receiving the prestigious All America City award in 2016. Our community was honored because we came together – whether from churches, schools or nonprofits – to offer tutoring, food assistance, and other essential services to local kids and families most in need. We created the coalition to end hunger in Lakewood because no one should be hungry in a great city like ours. We created a thriving and award-winning Arts district, bringing the community together to help re-energize West Colfax. We came together to make investments in our future – adding police, strengthening infrastructure and acquiring the most open space in recent history.
Today, we are working to make Lakewood a leader in sustainability. This year, we are a finalist for the Engaged Cities Award. Pretty cool stuff, however, our work is not done. We must continue to move Lakewood forward, continue to care for one another and continue to be Lakewood proud. Let’s turn the ugliness to beauty – and make life better for each other.
I currently chair the Metro Mayors Caucus, whose membership is made up of the 40 mayors in the metro area. We are focused on working collaboratively on issues related to transportation, affordable housing, and homelessness. Lakewood was a founding member of the caucus and a leader in the region because of our forward-thinking and willingness to address challenging issues.
Lakewood is my family, my home, my purpose. It is an honor to be your mayor.