On Friday, labor and civil rights attorney Sarah Parady, of the firm Lowrey Parady Lebsack, announced she would be running for a City Council at-large seat.
For years, she has represented workers in civil rights and employment cases and has racked up awards for her work. She helped a group of employees win one of the largest disability discrimination cases in state history, recouped stolen wages for drywall workers, secured a seven-figure settlement for a family injured in a mistaken police raid, and pushed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to shift its policy to ensure low-income transgender women can receive mammograms, she explained in a statement.
As a litigator, “it’s very client-by-client … which was really incredible, in a lot of ways, because you can make a big difference for that person,” she told Denverite. “But nothing about it changes systems.”
Now, it’s shaping the law itself that she hopes to do if elected.
Parady grew up in Southwest Wyoming.
“The economy was very blue-collar,” she said. “When I was growing up, I knew a lot of people that got injured on the job… Also, the methamphetamine crisis hit my town when I was a teenager and had just devastating impacts.”
Her mother was a children’s librarian and her father was a mine manager.
She saw firsthand what happens in an area lacking a strong social safety net, whether that comes from the community itself or government. She decided to go to law school to help people struggling without support and focused on economic justice and poverty alleviation.
Her career began as a legal aid in Denver during the foreclosure crisis of ’07 to ’09, working with residents who were at risk of losing their homes.
“A lot of those folks were like elders in our community who had owned their homes for a really long time,” she said. “They had sort of fallen victim to these really unregulated mortgage markets that we allowed to be created during those years. So it was a very concrete example, where this national-level policy failure was causing little single grandmas in their 70s and 80s, here in Denver, to lose their condos that they had bought years and years earlier.”
Outside of her legal practice, Parady has advocated for policies and candidates and even led the drafting of the Colorado Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, which increased pay transparency statewide. She’s volunteered for immigrant rights and mutual-aid groups.
Her candidacy for an at-large council seat is her first time running as a politician.
During the pandemic, she joined an online Emerge Colorado class of aspiring Democratic women gearing up to run for office.
She described herself as a “process person” and hopes to help City Council find efficiencies in its work and learn from current councilmembers along the way.
She discussed her admiration for recent City Council policies that protect workers and tenants, including a landlord registry and an increase in wage-theft enforcement.
Parady is disturbed that Denver’s the fifth most expensive housing market in the United States and hopes she can work with the council to make the city more affordable for residents.
“One of the things that excites me about city government is the chance to try to be innovative,” she said. “If we have some of the leading housing costs in the country, we should try to be one of the cities that’s being the most creative about how to get involved and do whatever we can about that.”
Currently, Jeff Walker, Dominic Angelo Diaz, Travis Leiker, Antonnio Benton II, Leslie Twarogowski and Carlos V.S. Anderson have entered the race as at-large candidates.
We will continue to cover each of these candidates and others running for office in the weeks to come. Here is a look at some of the people who have announced a run.