When he served as deputy chief of staff to Colorado’s lieutenant governor, Antonio Méndez organized a 64-county tour of Colorado for Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne soon after she was appointed, to help introduce her to the state and vice versa.
Now, Méndez, the 33-year-old executive director of Serve Colorado, says he plans to embark on a miniaturized version of the tour as he launches his campaign for Denver’s City Council District 10, challenging Councilman Wayne New.
(We reported earlier this month on two other District 10 challengers, Chris Hinds and Patrick Key — that’s a pretty crowded 2019 race.)
“I want to go around my district to every different neighborhood and listen to people,” Méndez told Denverite.
“I want to hear what people are dealing with and how we can help. Ultimately government is about that — it’s based in service, based in love.”
He said that he’s running to represent all of District 10, and to bring a sense of urgency and responsiveness that he feels is missing.
“I think Denver’s at a critical point in its growth and I think we need leadership that is forward-thinking,” he said, adding that some areas of focus for him are infrastructure and development. “And I don’t think Wayne New embodies any of that.”
Earlier, the incumbent New said that his priorities are “traffic calming, residential speed limit reductions, pedestrian infrastructure and neighborhood safety,” and he pointed to his work to reform the city’s support of women and minority-owned businesses.
At Serve Colorado, Méndez oversees 14 AmeriCorps programs. He’s also a board member of Colorado Creative Industries, a governor-appointed arts commission.
He’s lived in Colorado since moving here from the Principality of Andorra in 2011 — he was a Fulbright Scholar and spent time there teaching English and learning about government, then came to Colorado to get a law degree from the University of Denver, focusing on international law. He’s originally from New York City.
Méndez has never run for political office before, but said he was in charge of the southern and western Colorado operations for Governor John Hickenlooper’s 2014 re-election campaign, where he was responsible for more than 30 counties.
Denverite reporter Andrew Kenney contributed reporting.