James Mejía, who served as the executive director of the Denver Preschool Program and as manager of the Denver Parks and Recreation Department under former Mayor Wellington Webb, is planning several events today in his campaign for Denver mayor, notes The Associated Press. Mejía is just one of a dozen candidates hoping to replace outgoing Mayor John Hickenlooper, who will become governor in January. Other notable candidates for the election, which will take place in May, include Denver City Councilmen Michael Hancock and Doug Linkhart, as well as state Senator Chris Romer, points out The Denver Post.
Romer has found himself in the center of an election controversy after he decided against hiring Ray Rivera, who works under Secretary Ken Salazar in the U.S. Interior Department, as his campaign manager, writes Jeremy Meyer for The Spot. Romer's decision to instead hire Adam Dunstone, a former campaign coordinator for U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, has angered some in the Latino community, a key voting group, as 40 percent of Denver's active voters are Latino. Westword recently profiled Romer, the son of former Colorado governor Roy Romer, who told the paper why he's running: "The issues facing Denver are deeper than unemployment. People are worried about losing their job, losing their health care, how to pay for college education, how to retire. The mayor has to provide financial security for the community, put people back to work, and effectively plan for our future."
Meanwhile, back at the state legislature, Dr. Irene Aguilar will replace Romer in the state Senate seat for District 32, reports the Post. A selection committee chose Aguilar, a primary-care physician and an advocate for the developmentally disabled who helped push a single-payer health-care bill that failed in the state legislature last year.