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Denver’s 2019 City Council Race: District 3

A primer on the issues and candidates in District 3, ahead of the 2019 municipal election. (You can vote by mail or in-person on May 7.)

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Update: After the May 7 election, no candidate in District 3 received more than 50 percent of the vote, and therefore the two top vote-getters, Jamie Torres (40 percent) and Veronica Barela (37 percent), are on the June 4 runoff ballot. 


The Neighborhoods in District 3:  Mar Lee, Westwood, Barnum, Barnum West, Villa Park, part of West Colfax, Sun Valley, and La Alma-Lincoln Park

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Who Lives There: District 3 is among the most diverse neighborhoods in the city. Three out of four residents identify as Hispanic and the average individual income is $32,040.

About the District: With Federal Boulevard comprising much of its eastern border, District 3 is home to some neighborhoods—like Barnum and West Colfax—that are beginning to see gentrification, as well as other neighborhoods, like Sun Valley, where it seems only a matter of time before low-income residents are pushed out by individuals looking for affordable real estate. According to Councilman Paul Lopez, one of the biggest struggles for this part of the city is that it’s a food desert: After several attempts to bring in a grocery store, one still has not opened. Given the development poised to occur around Mile High Stadium, District 3 could be one of the most rapidly changing parts of the city in the coming years.

You Might Remember When… In January 2018, the Santa Fe-based art collective Meow Wolf announced it would open a new interactive arts space near the junction of Colfax Avenue and Interstate I-25. Leaders from Meow Wolf chose to be in Sun Valley instead of setting up shop in RiNo because they felt they could have a bigger influence in one of Denver’s oldest and historically poor neighborhoods. An advisory community is helping Meow Wolf work with the community to usher in a wave of corporate social responsibility that will have a positive impact on the greater surroundings.

Who’s Running (And Who’s Not)

Councilman Paul Lopez cannot run again for city council because he’s term limited, so he’s instead vying for county clerk and recorder. Four candidates are running to fill his position on City Council.

Jamie Torres, an anthropologist who was born and raised in the Villa Park neighborhood, serves as the deputy director of the city’s Agency for Human Rights and Community Partnerships and as the director of the Denver Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs. She sees herself as a leader in immigrant integration, who can bring the District 3 neighborhoods together.

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Veronica Barela has served as the president and CEO of NEWSED Community Development Corporation since 1978, a nonprofit with a mission to revitalize Denver’s westside communities. She is recognized for helping to make Cinco de Mayo one of the largest cultural events in the city, in addition to forging partnerships with businesses and leaders throughout Denver.

Annie Martínezan attorney who has spent three years living in the La Alma-Lincoln Park neighborhood and five years living in Denver, represents children, families, and indigent defendants in Denver and and Arapahoe County Courts, and is advocating for more affordable low-income housing across the district and the city.

Raymond Montoya, a bus driver for Sheridan School District, has a history of fraud and incarceration, as revealed by Denverite’s David Sachs in March.

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