The far northeast corner of Denver is home to perhaps the biggest economic driver in the entire state: Denver International Airport. It’s so far from the city’s center, you might occasionally forget it and the demon horse that guards it.
While DIA isn’t home to any voting precincts (there are, sadly, no registered voters living at the airport), the economic behemoth is a reminder of how much City Council District 11 stretches out to the east. It’s primarily home to Green Valley Ranch and Montbello, which are among the largest neighborhoods by population in the city. Each one is home to more than 30,000 people.
Current District 11 Councilwoman Stacie Gilmore is seeking a second term and faces a challenge from Christine Alonzo to represent the district. Both women are Montbello residents with interests in bringing in affordable housing and economic development, and ensuring residents there have livable wages.
And in Montbello, the candidates will be tasked with helping address its food desert by luring in a full-service market.
Alonzo spent more than two decades working in labor organizing. She’s taking an anti-establishment approach to her candidacy.
The traditionally blue-collar community in Montbello is struggling to stay afloat, she said, with people working multiple jobs.
“I think where we are failing is holding our City Council people accountable to make sure that they’re doing what the constituency wants them to do and not what some of the developers or corporate interests are having them do,” Alonzo said in an interview with Denverite in January.
Her primary focus will be improving affordable housing options in the area, with a focus on helping avoid displacement of the district’s black and Latino residents. She wants to address food insecurity by bringing healthy food options to the district. She doesn’t think the current options are very healthy.
Another focus for Alonzo will be assisting the aging population. That includes providing them with resources and services, like transportation. She said senior residents often may not know how to navigate RTD’s system, so providing them with a service that lets them get from point A to point B safely would be important for her.
“We need to offer opportunities where we can get health care providers to service them in their homes instead of them having to get out of their home to get services they need,” Alonzo said.
She supported the minimum wage increase and would like to see it become the standard across the city.
First elected during a 2015 runoff election, Gilmore has lived in Montbello for 25 years. She highlighted some of her work in the City Council during a previous interview with Denverite, citing her effort to expand a property rebate program for homeowners to help eligible families with children.
But her biggest goal is bringing a supermarket to Montbello. She called it her No. 1 priority, and said earlier this year that she has been in talks with some grocery chains about bringing something to the area.
Another goal, perhaps her most ambitious one, is bringing a large-scale regional workforce training facility to the district. She sees it coming together as a public-private partnership involving surrounding communities.
“I would like to figure out how we’re going to get a training facility out in the district,” Gilmore said earlier this year. “I think we could get more traction, honestly, if we looked at it from a regional approach and brought in Adams County, Arapahoe County.”
She’s also interested in bringing more retail development to the district, suggesting a new Costco or a Super Target.
Who’s got money?
Gilmore has raised $75,237 during this election cycle.
Alonzo has raised $9,642 during this election cycle, including $550 she donated to herself.