Leslie Twarogowski switches from At-Large to District 8 in City Council race

In the District 8 race, she joins Christian Steward, Brad Revare, Rita Lewis, Tyler Drum and Shontel Lewis.
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District 8 candidate Leslie Twarogowski stands near a spot where the Sand Creek flows through Central Park. Feb. 8, 2023.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

The City Council At-Large race has lost a candidate, but District 8 race has gained one.

Leslie Twarogowski announced Monday that she is switching from running for an At-Large council seat to the northeast district to better focus on the neighborhoods she calls home.

"As I go around town and I'm talking to people about issues, my mind still goes back to this area where I've lived for decades," Twarogowski said. "While I want to lead efforts with city wide impact, I think I can do that from this seat in District 8. This is deeply where my heart is and and this is where I think I can make a larger impact because I know this area best."

Twarogowski is a fifth generation Denverite, who's lived in northeast Denver for about 22 years. She's the current executive director of the Federal Boulevard Business Improvement District and she also serves on the Greater Park Hill Community board.

Twarogowski said many of her past community projects have focused on the northeast neighborhoods, including her work with Denver Streets Partnership on projects along the East Colfax corridor and the Quebec Street Pedestrian and Multimodal Improvements Project, which touches on East Colfax, North Park Hill and South Park Hill.

District 8 candidate Leslie Twarogowski stands near a spot where the Sand Creek flows through Central Park as an RTD train speeds by. Feb. 8, 2023.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

Transportation and housing are still two of Twarogowski's major concerns.

"When I first moved into this home, we had our first meeting about sidewalks on Quebec, 22 years ago. We still don't have sidewalks on Quebec," Twarogowski said. "We still don't have reliable, safe transit on the Quebec corridor or the Colfax line."

Twarogowski said the East Colfax rapid bus lanes are a start to improving transportation methods in the area, but said that safety concerns on the 15 and 15L also need to be addressed. In order to address those issues, Twarogowski added that budget constraints and the city's relationship with RTD would need to be reconsidered.

"RTD is underfunded, so do we help subsidize the current RTD? Or do we help try to figure out how Denver may have its own public transportation system moving forward," Twarogowski said. "Are we going to keep relying on a regional transportation system that is consistently underfunded? I don't think we should. We need to have a hard discussion about Denver's public transportation."

With housing, Twarogowski said Denver needs to focus on inclusive density. She points to Jefferson Park (not in her district but near the Federal BID).

Twarogowski said the area used to be a predominantly Hispanic and Latino neighborhood until the area was rezoned for more density. The cheaper homes were torn down for bigger slot homes that previous residents couldn't afford.

District 8 candidate Leslie Twarogowski stands near a spot where the Sand Creek flows through Central Park. Feb. 8, 2023.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

"They added density. They added to the number of housing units. But we lost families and we lost a historic Latino community," Twarogowski said.

Now that she is focusing on the district, there's one additional goal she'd like to accomplish if elected: creating a historic cultural district in Park Hill. Twarogowski said the creation of the district would allow the affordable homes in the area to remain affordable through design limitations.

"I would hate to see what is remaining of our Denver Black community in Park Hill disappear and I'm worried that we're on the crux of that," Twarogowski said. "How can I preserve this demographic? I'm not as concerned about preserving a certain design element as much as I want to preserve the people who've been here for a long time and who want to stay."

Twarogowski is no stranger to a long list of candidate competition since the At-Large race has about 10 candidates. In the District 8 race, she joins Brad Revare, Tyler DrumChristian Steward, Shontel Lewis and write-in Rita Lewis.. Twarogowski said she's ready to focus her campaign pillars on the northeast area.

"I'm shifting my focus and tightening my focus," Twarogowski said. My mind always kept coming back to these neighborhoods. I would always think back to how this would affect my neighborhood. I'm ready for the shift."

Editor's note: This story has been updated with the finalized candidate list that will appear on the 2023 municipal election ballot.

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