Just like everywhere I go, most people’s first question to me in Boulder is always “how tall are you?” 6’6” is the answer. Other than that, my experience of Boulder is probably like a lot of people who have lived here.
I moved to Boulder from Green Bay, Wisconsin in 2006 to go to CU’s Leeds School of Business. Like most people, I remember that first time coming down the hill on 36, with Boulder resting up against the Flatirons like something out of a dream. Once I got to walk around the Pearl Street Mall, down the Boulder Creek Path, and through CU’s campus, I knew I loved this place.
In 2017 I decided to run for City Council for the first time. I listened attentively to Boulder citizens during that campaign and learned a great deal. In 2018, having shown my serious dedication to the city and especially to our housing issues, City Council appointed me to the newly-formed Housing Advisory Board, of which I am the Chairperson. At the same time I joined the board of PLAN Boulder County so I continue to get informed about the wide range of issues in Boulder.
My time on the Housing Advisory Board has given me deep knowledge about City policies, programs and processes and a profound understanding about how essential it is to work with people having differing perspectives for a City Council member to be effective.
My engagement with political issues and their solutions are a constant piece of my thinking. Another step toward inspiring me to run for City Council was Bernie Sanders’ 2016 campaign. I went to my first caucus ever, and was elected as a Sanders campaign county delegate. After the results of the 2016 election, I felt needed to do more toward addressing chronic societal issues.
My personal experience informed my sensitivity to many issues. I earned my Marketing degree at CU while working a job at Boulder Best Buy to pay for it. I have been working at least two jobs ever since so I can afford to live here. As I looked around, it was apparent that rent was harder and harder to afford. My service industry friends were working multiple jobs and still couldn’t afford to live in Boulder. Economic inequality was rising in Boulder. All of my friends from college had moved away.
Had I not been lucky enough to save the money to buy a small condo, I too would have been pushed out. I cannot accept that the growing inequality and monetization of Boulder is pushing out all these people who make Boulder such a wonderful place. There has to be a way to not only address the underlying issues, but also how we go about it. How to go about it in unifying manner is key and many of my life experiences equip me with the skills to lead.
While attending CU I competed on its rowing team. Despite the six days a week of 5:00am wakeups and two-a-day workouts, nothing could keep me from working together toward a shared goal with my teammates. As club sports team from a state that is not exactly known for its water sports, the odds were stacked against us. However, through that shared commitment and teamwork, we became a top-10 club rowing team, and I was chosen to be a team captain my junior and senior years.
I had already been coaching Boulder High’s rowing team, Colorado Junior Crew, but after I graduated from CU, I felt it was important to help maintain CU’s rowing program so more people could benefit from the experience as I had. I started working as an assistant coach and soon afterwards, I assumed the Head Coach position. As a 23-year-old suddenly in charge of the safety and success of dozens of college kids, the pressure was on, but I gained great experience as a leader and team builder.
While I was coaching CU crew, I was also working in my first career marketing job for an electronics hardware company. After I was done coaching four years later, I needed another second job. Luckily, I had a connection for bouncer job at the Walrus bar; so I spent the next four years trading 5am wakeups for 2am bar closings. Working in the service industry taught me a lot about having a thick skin, deescalating tense situations and resolving conflicts through dialogue, all essential skills for being an effective City Council member.
Recently, I left my job of eight years and have taken a part-time job at a local honey company called Björn’s Colorado Honey. I’m extremely excited to help my two friends grow their small business while still being able to consult for my former company. This also frees up time for my next step in life – serve on City Council.
I believe I possess the knowledge, insight and sensitivity to serve as an effective City Council member and help develop solutions that will help meet its challenges while preserving the things that we love about Boulder. We can come together to address our housing affordability crisis, our climate change impacts, and our transportation issues. We can maintain our beautiful Open Space, keep our mountain views, and retain our small businesses. We can make sure big business and outside investors are paying their fair share for their impacts. We can form a city-wide engagement process that helps us build community, not tear it apart. This vision is possible, and I’m willing to fight for it. I want to stand tall for you, and stand tall for Boulder.