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Jamie Giellis on Old South Pearl Street. Photo by Sarah Boyum

Denver’s Mayoral Candidates 2019: Jamie Giellis

Most well known for her work in RiNo, Giellis wants to introduce large-scale infrastructure reform. The urban planning expert has strong ties to the Zeppelin family and hopes to transform the way people live in and move around Denver.

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Age: 42
Experience: President of Centro Inc., president of the RiNo Art District, and associate at Progressive Urban Management Associates
Action Plan: Change Denver zoning with a focus on density, implement street cars to address congestion, and better coordinate homelessness services throughout the city


Why do you want to be mayor?

I think this is a critical moment for Denver and I think we can do a lot better for Denver’s future.

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What’s the first thing you would do in office?

I think there’s a couple of things that are topical right at the moment. One is Denveright, the comprehensive planning process that is scheduled to be approved on April 17. And we’ve expressed some significant concerns with how it opens up the city for density everywhere….If they actually pass it on April 17, [then] we have to figure out what we do with it. And if they don’t, it will be our role to amend that plan.

What is Denver doing well?

We’re prospering economically. We’ve had good job growth we’ve done well with large companies; that sort of thing is going well.

What’s your plan for working with other cities in the metro area?

Transit, affordable housing, homelessness issues, and environmental sustainability are four really critical areas….None of those are just a Denver problem. All the metro cities are feeling the impacts of Denver’s growth now, in a substantial way, since a lot of it is getting pushed out to them.

Who has been a role model or mentor for you?

Federico Peña stands out to me as somebody who I feel aligned [with] at least at this moment. The last mayor to beat an incumbent, but also a guy who ran on real ideas, and real vision, and really trying to shake the city out of a slump, and into refocusing its energy on a vision for the future.

One more thought:

On why shes running: I feel like we’ve ridden a wave of building and development without really investing in all the other things you need to support it. And I don’t see any plan to actually do that, or get there, or any real vision for what the city can be. And so, I think you reach a point where you push from the bottom up for so long and you realize if you want to make a change you need to go to the source. Go to the top.

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