Who is Kelly Brough? Denver mayor candidate Q&A on the issues

Kelly Brough

Candidate for Mayor
M.B.A., University of Colorado B.S., Sociology, Montana State University
Denver City Council Legislative Analyst
HR Director and Chief of Staff to Mayor Hickenlooper
CEO of Denver Metro Chamber
Chief Strategy Officer at MSU-Denver

Briefly describe the single most urgent issue facing the city of Denver and how it should be addressed.
Living on the streets is neither safe nor humane – for people experiencing homelessness or community. I will eliminate unsanctioned encampments in year one. Additionally, I will:

• Take a regional, data-driven approach: Work with regional governments to establish a coordinated strategy and strengthen our data system to ensure it is complete and sophisticated.
• Invest in prevention: Support those at risk of homelessness by ensuring access to job supports and stabilizing services.
• Evolve sheltering and build housing: Evolve our shelters to ensure we have safe beds to serve the diverse unhoused population. Build the housing needed to best support people exiting homelessness.

What should Denver leaders do to address the city’s lack of affordable housing?
We need housing solutions that benefit people across the income spectrum, particularly the “missing middle” who earn too much to qualify for most public assistance but struggle to make ends meet. My plans to ensure more housing – for rent and sale, market-rate and subsidized – include:

• Building more housing on underutilized, publicly owned land and rethinking and revitalizing downtown and surrounding neighborhoods by converting commercial space to residential.
• Increasing density on major transportation corridors and at transit stations and working with neighborhood groups to find appropriate approaches for their communities.
• Fundamentally restructuring how development is reviewed and regulated in Denver.

Do you support redevelopment at the Park Hill golf course property? Why or why not?
State law states that only a judge has the authority to lift a conservation easement. Remainder of candidate’s answer was not responsive to the question.

What should Denver leaders do to revitalize downtown Denver?
Making sure our residents and visitors feel safe is the first step toward revitalizing Downtown and it’ll be among my highest priorities. If employees and visitors don’t feel safe, stores don’t stay open and hotels close. Our entire region depends on a thriving downtown and my plan to end unsanctioned camping within my first year in office has been endorsed by four sitting metro area mayors. We will begin immediately working with property owners to convert some existing downtown office space to residential, and focus on retaining businesses and attracting new jobs and investments to restore the vibrancy of downtown.

What is Denver’s greatest public safety concern and what should be done about it?
I will take a comprehensive approach to community safety. My safety priorities include:

• Strengthening the Denver Police Department, so we can attract and retain more officers to the force, particularly women and people of color.
• Working with our public safety officials – leaders, officers, and staff – to create a stronger culture built around national best practices, transparency, and accountability.
• Increasing investment in civilian response units to ensure we provide appropriate resources (e.g. – mental health support) and free up officers to focus on true crime.
• Address crime prevention by investing in housing, health care, education, and economic development.

Should neighborhoods help absorb population growth through permissive zoning, or do you favor protections for single-family neighborhoods?
From a planning and zoning perspective, a “one size-fits-all” approach doesn’t work. If we are going to bring down the cost of housing, we need to promote smart density. Smart density has benefits: it reduces cost of living, improves water efficiency and air quality, promotes efficient transportation, creates economic opportunity, furthers social integration. And, there are many ways to achieve smart density – ADUs, duplexes, townhouses, condos. I will work with City Council and neighborhood groups to promote smart density in ways that make sense for each neighborhood so those who work in Denver can afford to make their home here.

Should the city’s policy of sweeping homeless encampments continue unchanged? Why or why not?
No. It is a tremendous waste of resources to move people down the block or around the corner. We need real solutions to ending homeless encampments. I will expand and evolve our shelter capacity and build more housing. While doing that, I’ll temporarily expand the use of sanctioned, supported camping. We must provide more humane and safer alternatives. If people refuse services and supports, I will use the legal authority to intervene to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the individual and the broader community. Unsheltered living in public spaces is not an acceptable option.

Should Denver change its snow plowing policy? Why or why not.
No. The current city policy is to clear side streets when the forecast calls for 6” or more of snow accumulation. That is reasonable and possible to implement. Unfortunately, earlier this winter, the city’s decision not to clear side streets was made based on an inaccurate forecast and then the temperatures remained below freezing for much of January, preventing melt-off. It was a frustrating situation – and for many people a costly one too – but plowing side streets every time it snows would not be financially responsible not to mention the challenge of having enough drivers.

What’s your vision for Denver in 20 years, and what would you do to help the city get there?
I see a city of promise: a place where all people have access to shelter and housing. Where we all feel safe and take pride in our neighborhoods. Where parents can age in the houses they raised their kids – and those kids can afford to buy homes and plant roots, too. A city with a world class education system and a set of strong civic and arts institutions that nurture community. A region working together to address transportation and climate change. I’ll work collaboratively – across sectors and with regional partners – with urgency and purpose to restore the promise of Denver.

How better can city officials protect Denver’s environment — air quality, water supply, ground contamination? And should the city take a more active role in transit?
I’ll make Denver a national and global leader on climate by capitalizing on recent federal funding and promoting policies that ensure communities most impacted by air and water pollution benefit from new investment. Priorities will include:

• Promoting housing density, particularly along transportation corridors and at transit sites, and supporting the conversion of vacant office space to housing.
• Supporting the education and training necessary to prepare Denver residents, particularly people of color, for green economy sector jobs.
• Fostering partnerships with RTD, DPS and DRCOG to reduce emissions from our publicly-owned fleets and promoting regional action on air quality and water conservation.

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