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Penfield Tate III at Frederick Douglass Park. Photo by Sarah Boyum

Denver’s Mayoral Candidates 2019: Penfield Tate III

The longtime attorney and legislator is taking aim at development and advocating for responsible growth. A vocal critic of Mayor Hancock, Tate says he'll be quick to address homelessness in Denver and will bring harmony back to a city that's losing a grip on its cultural past.

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Age: 62
Experience: Attorney at Kutak Rock law firm, former Colorado State Senator, and former Colorado State Representative
Action Plan: Address homelessness immediately, create housing that is more affordable, and better engage with neighborhoods and communities to determine what his administration should prioritize


Why do you want to be mayor?

To lead Denver’s future. I feel the way a lot of other people in Denver feel. We had a mayor in Denver, Federico Peña, who told us to imagine a great city, and I feel we’re losing that edge. We’re losing what makes us Denver. It’s time to put a stop to it and put us on the right course.

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What is the first thing you’d try to do in office?

My commitment [would be] to focus on the first 100 days to transition the homeless off the street. I think it’s a civic emergency that’s been ignored for too long.

What’s Denver doing well?

Denver’s doing well at attracting big businesses that pay big salaries that bring in a number of people. Denver is doing well at promoting and being seen as the end place for younger folks.

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

When we come up with solutions and strategies for Denver, we need to share those with the broader area. Affordable housing, homelessness, transportation, and water use. [You’ve] got to lead, and I’ll do that by reaching out, leaning in, and meeting with civic leaders throughout the metro areas

Who has been a role model for you?

My parents. I watched my dad when I was growing up—he was mayor of Boulder and on the Boulder City Council—and he taught me a valuable lesson about standing on principle. My mom was a role model in terms of planning, and being diligent, and working through.

One more thought:

On experience: A number of the other people running have never accomplished anything in the government sphere. I spent six-and-a-half years in the legislature, and in my entire time there, the majority or the minority, I always got legislation passed.

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