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What Denver’s Mayoral Candidates Can Learn From Kid Politicians

We spoke with the "mini mayors" at Sunlight Resort to see how they attained the coolest childhood office ever.

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Once the midterms are over on November 6, the countdown to Denver’s next mayoral election (May 2019) will be on. Candidates would be wise to seek guidance—from the past “mini mayors” of Sunlight Mountain Resort, whose strategies have catapulted them to perhaps the coolest childhood office ever. Here’s how mayoral hopefuls could turn the kids’ experiences into landslide victories.

Elijah Mattson (2015-’16)

Photo courtesy of Sunlight Mountain Resort

In 2015, Sunlight spotted the New Castle resident in an Instagram post pleading with the resort to open early. The adorable then four-year-old’s video convinced the ski area to give a voice to its youngest constituents by creating the mini mayor gig.
Lesson: Use Social Media To Your Advantage
Former state Senator Penfield Tate III, son of the first and only black mayor of Boulder, has years of experience writing bills but could probably use a primer on writing tweets. In order for him to build up a rapport with Denver’s millennial population, he might want to further embrace social media—and fast.

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Gabby Noyes (2016-’17)

Photo courtesy of Sunlight Mountain Resort

A New York native, eight-year-old Noyes didn’t know how to ski when elected. But she spent every weekend of that season mastering her pizza and french fries moves at the resort to prove she was one of the locals.
Lesson: Establish Yourself As Part Of The Community
In 2017, Kalyn Heffernan was arrested while protesting the repeal of the Affordable Care Act inside U.S. Senator Cory Gardner’s office. An outsider who’s not held political office, the well-known activist could go even further to promote her platform (perhaps stage a sit-in to protest inequality in Denver Public Schools?) while showing voters that their worries are her worries, too.

Colby Rogers (2017-’18)

Photo courtesy of Sunlight Mountain Resort

Five-year-old Rogers boasted she’d paint all the chairlifts at her beloved Sunlight a bubble gum shade of pink if she won. Turns out mini mayors don’t have that much authority. She may have saved face by wrangling a compromise, though: Execs are in talks to paint one chair, on the Tercero lift, her favorite color.
Lesson: Focus On The Positive
Having held office for seven years, Mayor Michael Hancock needs to highlight the small victories that have come out of his previous campaign pledges, like the light-rail expansion (despite its continued delays) and a bustling economy (even though a lack of affordable housing has displaced many local residents).

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