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Editor’s note: Responses have been edited for length and clarity.
You know him as…Former at-large Aurora City Council member, small business owner, veteran (U.S. Navy)
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5280: Why do you want to be mayor?
Ryan Frazier: Because I love Aurora. Aurora is a city of opportunity, and we have such amazing people—diverse, vibrant—and Aurora really is rising. And for me: I have a heart for service. My grandmother used to say, “Ain’t none of us here to stay.” So I’ve always asked myself, how can I do my part with the time that God’s given me on this Earth? And so I’m dedicated to doing what I can to help Aurora continue to move in a direction that we can all be proud of. And I believe this is one of the single best ways I can help our city to thrive.
If elected, what’s the first thing you’ll do?
I [would] begin the most important work that any mayor can begin, and that is building a cohesive City Council. I have to be able to work with the folks on City Council if we’re going to get things done on behalf of our city. So I [would] begin the outreach effort to sit down with each member of the City Council to say to them, “I respect you, I trust you, and I’d like to work with you. So let’s establish a relationship that works for all of us on behalf of our citizens and our residents in the city of Aurora.” So, that’s where we start. And from there, we build.
What sets you apart from other candidates?
You know, in this race we’ve walked over a 1,000 miles. I’ve handed out over 18,000 pieces of literature, or knocked on their doors and left it. We are working harder than anyone else. I haven’t taken a single dollar from the far left or the far right, all the dark money that’s looking to flow into the race. I believe I’m the one person who can actually bring a diverse city like Aurora together, and that’s a huge differentiator. People aren’t looking for polarized politics these days. They’re looking for leaders who will be honest and who will work to find common ground. And I believe that’s one of the single biggest differentiators between me and everyone else in this race because I can unite our people.
What’s something that voters might not know about you?
Hablo Español muy poquito [I speak a little Spanish] but my Mandarin is actually not bad either. I speak elementary Mandarin. So, ni-hao. Wo hen hao. Xiexie. [Hello. I am doing well. Thank you]. And I’ve been learning Mandarin since 2008.
Aurora is one of the state’s most diverse metros—and it is also home to a federal immigration facility that has been the focus of recent protests. How has that impacted the community?
On the one hand, you know, it’s to be expected. Of course there’s going to be issues. Some might see it as ironic, but I actually see it as, it is just a part and partial of who we are and how we develop as a city. Twenty percent of our population is immigrant-born and that’s great. Yet we also have the ICE jail facility in our backyard that has been controversial for many. I actually believe there’s a way to find balance in our community by ensuring that our immigrant community knows that they are welcome.
Lightning round: What are your quick thoughts…on growth.
What’s important is to make sure we grow responsibly. In other words, we can’t let the growth outpace our ability to serve our city. And that’s not an anti-growth statement. In fact, it’s a “pro-growth responsibly” statement that says as we grow, we have to work with our business community, our community at large, to say how do we pay for these things? We have to make sure that growth pays for itself and that we are responsible in how we grow.
…on energy, oil, and gas.
I want Aurora to be a model for how to protect the health and welfare, safety, of our residents and ensure they have a voice as we start to develop more of the oil and gas resources that are in Aurora, as the industry starts to do more. I believe we can find that balance. I really do. And we have a role to play as a city with the passage of SB-181. It now gives us the ability to do more so I want to have a conversation with our community about what that looks like.
…on affordable housing.
We have to address it. I am committed to working to provide a broad array of housing in our city. Workforce housing to executive housing. And on the affordable housing piece, I believe there’s more we can do with our land trust, with our builders, with our developers. And I think through the city and the school districts (who in many cases have land available, which [the] single biggest cost of a house these days tends to be the land), we can do some creative things around making some of that land available for high-quality, affordable housing that allows our teachers, our firefighters, our police officers, everyday workers if you will, to be able to afford to buy a home in our city.