Scott Durrah entered an increasingly competitive, now eight-legged race to replace City Councilman Rafael Espinoza in northwest Denver’s District 1 on Tuesday.
Durrah, a Marine veteran, chef and marijuana dispensary owner, wants Denver to capitalize on Colorado’s new marijuana-friendly governor by expanding the local cannabis industry and the tax base it provides. He would use that money to fund “attainable” housing, education and “community-driven development,” he said in an interview.
A program that turns renters into homeowners is central to Durrah’s platform.
“Do we have a path for renters to get into ownership?” he said. “Rent-to-own programs for long-term renters in something I want to see happen at the community level.”
File that idea under his campaign theme of building bridges — the metaphorical kind, not the structural kind.
Like pretty much every candidate, Durrah favors neighborhood development that gives neighbors more say. Asked about the people who don’t want more development in a city with a housing shortage, Durrah said he would — yes! — build a bridge.
“A lot of people are feeling left out with all the new development,” he said. “I want to bring community and developers together — have better communication between the developer and the community.”
The candidate said he would force builders to hold monthly meetings for neighbors to ward off “surprises” like closed sidewalks, he said.
If Durrah is elected, it would be the next step in a varied life, according to a press release from his campaign:
Durrah and wife Wanda James have owned and operated five businesses employing over 100 people in their 13 years as homeowners and residents of NW Denver. The couple is known in Colorado politics as fundraisers for President Obama’s National Finance Committee and are nationally known for their work in social justice and advancing the legalization of cannabis. Scott’s television appearances include The Daily Show, CBS This Morning’s “Eat, Drink & Be Merry” and VICE as a professional chef and as an advocate for medical marijuana education.
Durrah is one of eight candidates running in District 1. The others are Victoria Aguilar, Raven Porteous, David Sabados, Michael Somma, Amanda Sandoval, Sabrina D’Agosta and Prajwal Kulkarni.