Mayoral candidate Renate Behrens doesn’t have a website, but she does have a lot of ideas for the city

Behrens made the ballot last minute, but there’s not much about her online.
3 min. read
Renate Behrens speaks during a mayoral debate at Regis University. Feb. 9, 2023.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

Renate Behrens knows she's a bit older than your typical candidate for mayor (and the rest of the 17 person field). While she wouldn't divulge her exact age, online records suggest Behrens is in her 80s. But looking at the many older men serving in Congress, Behrens doesn't think age should be an issue.

"We are governed by old guys, by old gentleman, and we the women can do that too, but we can do it better because we are not aggressive, we are not warmakers. We are peacemakers," she said. "Why not an elderly woman?"

Behrens grew up in Germany, working as a secretary and caretaker before marrying an American and moving to Colorado in the 2000s.

She got divorced, and experienced homelessness for a period before finding housing. Now, she's looking for a job, and figures being mayor is as good a one as any.

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If elected, Behrens has a clear list of policy goals, many of which focus on the environment.

To help improve air quality, Behrens wants free public transportation for everyone. And because she believes that would result in fewer people driving into the city, she would turn parking spaces into small gardens and parks. She also wants people to replace their lawns with gardens, and grow vegetables for their community.

In response to high energy bills, Behrens thinks the city should buy Xcel Energy (the company has a net worth of $38 billion) and bring prices down for customers. She called the current situation "capitalism at its worst."

Behrens also wants to fix Denver's sidewalks and potholes by bringing in experts from Europe and employing incarcerated workers.

To address homelessness, Behrens wants the city to inventory empty homes and property and turn them into housing for unhoused people.

"I was one of them, and I know it's always our fault when they are homeless. They didn't choose it," she said. "If you are married and have a family and are divorced, and you have to leave everything, your family, your apartment, everything, where do you go?"

Renate Behrens.
Rebecca Tauber/Denverite

While she made the ballot, Behrens knows she has an uphill battle in the crowded race for mayor.

She doesn't use much technology, and her business cards are hand written on slips of paper. She said it's hard to fundraise when she doesn't have a steady source of income herself. But after a tough few years in the United States, she hopes to give back to her adopted home.

"I would like to do something for my country, for Denver, because my country never did anything for me," she said. "That's why I'm running for mayor, to try to solve many problems, and to get a job. To get this job."

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