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Denver mayor’s race picks up another candidate

Author: Joey Bunch - November 1, 2018 - Updated: November 1, 2018

Jamie Giellis (photo courtesy of the campaign)

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock drew another opponent Thursday in his bid for a third term next year.

Jamie Giellis, president of Denver’s River North Art District, said in a press release Thursday she will make her formal announcement on Nov. 27.

Giellis has been president of the urban planning firm Centro since 2010.

“Denver is at a critical point,” she said in her statement. “Growth has happened to us, not with us, and our city is now grappling with becoming a modern, urban Denver that can accommodate that growth while maintaining a quality of life for everyone.

“The next mayor will be faced with the reality that unbridled growth without a plan to address all that comes with that only happens for so long without a challenging set of consequences, many of which we are already seeing,” she added. “Our next mayor must not only have vision, but must be solutions oriented. It’s time to start doing, together.”

Her campaign will be chaired by former Denver Auditor Dennis Gallagher, who clashed bitterly with Hancock.

“The former auditor’s accusations, made with one foot out the door, are shameful,” Hancock’s then-spokeswoman Amber Miller told The Denver Post in 2015, after Gallagher took a parting shot at the mayor as he left office after three terms. “They’re inaccurate and politics at their worst.”

Fiona Arnold, the former executive director of the state Office of Economic Development and International Trade, will serve as treasurer. Arnold is the president of Mainspring Developers, a commercial and residential real estate development firm in Denver.

> RELATED: INSIGHTS | Denver mayor’s race should pack a punch for Hancock

The ever-more-crowded race for the May election also includes community activist Lisa Calderon and former state Sen. Penfield Tate along with the so-far-lesser-known candidates Marcus Giavanni, Kalyn Heffernan and Stephan Evans, who goes by Chairman Seku.

Giellis’ entry into the race will spice things up. Tate and Calderon, both of whom could present strong challenges to the incumbent, told Colorado Politics they question his relationship with developers at the expense of existing residents and neighborhoods.

Giellis’ campaign said in its release that she would work on affordable and accessible housing, transportation, sustainability and beautification, education and the individual needs of neighborhoods.

“I will lead through the same approach that has made me successful throughout my life,” Giellis stated. “Investing all of Denver’s citizens in our future will ensure a healthy city, livable neighborhoods and strong communities that define what we all know Denver can become.”

Her campaign said she has worked on urban planning for U.S. cities, as well as in Singapore and the United Kingdom.

She graduated from the University of Iowa in 1999 with a degree in communication, before getting a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Colorado Denver in 2015.

The RiNo Art District Executive Committee on Thursday afternoon appointed RiNo co-founder and creative director Tracy Weil to replace Giellis as president.

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch is the senior political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has a 31-year career in journalism, including the last 15 in Colorado. He was part of the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and is a two-time Pulitzer finalist. His resume includes covering high school sports, the environment, the casino industry and civil rights in the South, as well as a short stint at CNN.