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Current at-large councilpersons Debbie Ortega (left) and Robin Kniech (right)

Denver’s 2019 City Council Race: The Two At-Large Seats

Meet the candidates for Denver City Council's two at-large seats in the 2019 municipal election. (You can vote by mail or in-person on May 7.)

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Denverites aren’t just responsible for voting for their district representative—voters will also decide who will hold City Council’s two at-large seats. Currently held by Deborah Ortega and Robin Kniech, these two generalized positions have a broader scope than their district-bound counterparts. They work with the entire metro area and often spearhead citywide initiatives.

Who’s Running?

Incumbent Deborah Ortega has lived in Denver since she was 13 years old and has spent more than three decades in public service. If elected, this will be her third and final term as an at-large councilwoman. She is an advocate for some of the city’s most challenging issues, like homelessness—having served as the first executive director of Denver Commission on Homelessness—urban planning, affordable housing, and how infrastructure and development changes affect nearby neighborhoods.

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Incumbent Robin Kniech has served since 2011 and worked on the minimum wage increase and, as Denver City Council’s first out gay member, has advocated for the city’s LGBTQ residents. Kniech won an IMAGINE 2020 District Challenge award for a mural, commissioned in late 2018, titled “Healing Through Art: Cowboy, Rome and Nikki” that honors three homeless men who were murdered.

Tony Pigford, a 45-year-old, fourth-generation Denverite, is a founding dean of the Boys School of Denver and has a history of advocacy and working in the nonprofit and public sectors. Pigford is vocal in his opposition to the I-70 expansion, and was an early supporter of the campaign finance reform bill that passed in 2018.

Jesse Lashawn Parris, an enthusiastic member of Denver Homeless Out Loud and proponent of affordable housing, has pledged to require all new builds to have at least half affordable housing and to donate half of his salary to the community.

Johnny Hayes, a Denver native (with an epic mustache) who is a self-described “civil rights activist, actor, artist, musician, volunteer and advocate for children and the deaf community.” The Baker resident says he would focus on fixing the city’s development woes, among other important issues.

Lynne Langdon, who was born and raised in Boulder and is now a Cherry Creek resident, appears to be looking to move from real estate to public service. She is against Initiative 300, aka the Right to Survive Initiative, which, if approved, would scrap the city’s existing ban urban camping ban (in other words, she supports the camping ban).

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