AWith the clock ticking closer to the city’s November local elections, 12 candidates in four races have submitted papers declaring they will apply for a place on the city council.
It’s a diverse cast of candidates, including a former member of Congress for current Mayor Mike Coffman, the widow of former Mayor Steve Hogan, at least two self-described progressives, several veterans of previous unsuccessful campaigns, and a seated councilor – Ward I’s Crystal Murillo – who is seeking re-election.
Here is the full list of official candidates as of early April:
On the whole
Five candidates are running for two seats on the city council, representing the entire city.
Two at-large spots will be open in November: the current at-large legislator Allison Hiltz is not seeking re-electionand opened her place; and Councilor Dave Gruber is also standing for re-election. Gruber told the Sentinel on April 6 that he was still debating whether to defend his seat.
Of the five candidates, the two candidates with the most votes will win the seats in November. They are:
- Danielle Jurinsky, an Aurora native who graduated from Overland High School. She said she was an Air Force veteran and a real estate agent who owned two restaurant and bar businesses in Aurora, Steel Tips Bar and JJ’s Place. Jurinsky is currently a member of the city’s participatory budgeting advisory committee. she says on your website that she empathizes with local business owners “who are too often attacked by politicians with onerous regulations and tax increases”. She told the Sentinel that she was “leaning more to the right” politically.
- Dustin Zvonek, a conservative political adviser with Colorado roots political circles. Zvonek worked under then-Congressman Mike Coffman, a Republican, before becoming mayor in 2019. Like Jurinsky, Zvonek is also on the advisory committee for participatory budgeting in the city. Zvonek has held various leadership positions at Americans for Prosperity, the conservative political group formed by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch. During the 2019 statewide election cycle, he led Unite for Colorado, a 501 (c) 4 social welfare organization that funds conservatives running for state office. According to his website, Zvonek’s main themes are: fighting crime and rebuilding community relations with the police; Promoting economic growth and rejecting the “job loss policy”; and improving the roads.
- John Ronquillo, Assistant Professor of Public Service and Public Administration in the School of Public Affairs at CU Denver. Ronquillo ran as a Democrat for Aurora’s State House District 40 last year but lost in a primary to today’s Rep. Naquetta Ricks. He sits on several civic boards, including the Advisory Board of the Colorado COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project, the board of directors of the Hispanic community organization Servicios de La Raza, and the board of directors of the Arapahoe County Foundation, a fundraising arm of the county government. Ronquillo is endorsed by outgoing council member Allison Hiltz.
- Adam Fung, a first-generation American and progressive Democrat whose campaign emphasizes family history, housing and labor rights. Fung settled in Aurora in 2012. He says on his website He has worked as a “dishwasher, waiter, cashier, postman, cable technician, and now a key worker in a grocery store”. Fung’s policy positions include: building more affordable housing and “ensuring that developers do their part to resolve this crisis”; The reform of the Aurora Police Department, which he says “deeply shamed our city”; and creating a “living wage” for so-called essential workers.
- Becky Hogan, widow of former Mayor Steve Hogan, who has long been involved with Aurora’s citizens. Hogan, 62, is a registered Republican and former small business owner. She said she chairs Korea’s Aurora Sister Cities International committee and is a member of the city’s planning and zoning commission. She has worked with a number of Aurora companies and nonprofits, from cultural events to food banks to vaccination clinics. Hogan emphasizes “unity” among the Aurors and “collaboration” in her campaign. she says on your website Aurora’s political climate is too divisive.
Station I includes the northwest of Aurora and the Anschutz Medical Campus. In station races, voters select only one candidate:
- Crystal MurilloShe was elected in 2017 at the age of 23 to take over the seat. She is a progressive democrat. Murillo recently co-sponsored and cast votes to support proposals to raise the minimum wage and create safeguards for undocumented residents, both of which narrowly failed. She has supported police reform efforts, including a successful push to ban so-called no-knock search warrants in Aurora last year. Murillo has also recently supported campaign funding reforms, new lobbying regulations, affordable housing, a marijuana delivery schedule for “social justice” and the lifting of the long-standing ban on certain pit bull dog breeds. She is a graduate of Emerge Colorado, an organization that trains Democratic women to run for office.
- Scott Livawho says he is a former small business owner and now the technical director of a property management company. Liva says he is focused on “defending civil liberties and civil rights for Aurora citizens”. in his campaign Facebook page. Liva did not immediately respond to a request for more information. Its political ideology is unclear. Liva posted photos of himself on his Facebook page during protests against racial justice in Denver in the summer of 2020 with a sign that read “Defund Police”.
- Christopher Bellawho does not have a campaign website, affiliated social media, or publicly available contact information.
- Bill Gondrezwho says he is a veteran and teacher at Aurora Public Schools at Kenton Elementary. According to his campaign websiteHe previously served as the chief electoral judge in Adams County and retired after more than a decade as a radiology assistant on the Anschutz Medical Campus. He has worked with the city of Aurora for a long time, including five years on the Citzens’ budget advisory committee and other bodies and elsewhere organizing street cleanings in Ward I. He is president of the Northwest Aurora Neighborhood Organization, he says. Its main priorities are to develop more “workforce housing” through incentives for developers. Investing in homeless services; Expansion of partnerships between police and community; and using city grants to support Aurora businesses.
- Idris Keith, currently the only registered candidate for the city’s largest geographic community, stretching from north aurora-east to Murphy Creek and New Plains. Nicole Johnston, who currently holds the seat, is not running for re-election. Keith is an attorney and a former Democratic nominee for a November 2020 seat on the Arapahoe County Commission. He says on his website that he has worked as a probation officer, advisor, and business attorney. Keith is also a member of the Aurora Citizens Advisory Committee. His top priorities generate investment in Aurora neighborhoods; Facilitation of traffic; and work with the police to fight crime.
Ward III includes the city center, Aurora City Hall, and shopping malls. Two candidates stand to replace the long-time representative Marsha Berzins, who is temporary.
- Martha Lugo says she lived in Aurora for more than 20 years when she moved to Colorado from Texas to work as a probation officer. According to her LinkedIn page, she is currently working as a bilingual polygraph examiner. Lugo calls itself “left” and “progressive” on their campaign website. This is the third time Lugo is running for city council. In 2017 she lost to Berzins in a Ward III race. In 2019, she ran unsuccessfully for a seat at large.
- Jono Scott, who grew up in Aurora. He is the longtime pastor of Woodside Baptist Church in Denver. Scott says he is the director of Kingdom Giving Food Bank and a member of the Citizens’ Advisory Budget Committee. He has a bachelor’s degree in biblical studies and a master’s degree in religious education. according to his website. Scott’s main themes include tackling a “skyrocketing crime rate”, creating jobs and reducing Aurora’s largest transportation spending deficit.
To participate in the local vote, candidates must petition the city. 50 signatures are required for station candidates. A total of 100 signatures are required for members.
To become a candidate for the city council, candidates must be 21 years or older, a U.S. citizen, an Aurora who resided for at least a year prior to the election, and the community candidates must have lived in that community for at least one year to have.
Individuals convicted of crimes are not allowed to run for Aurora City Council according to the city charter. This decade-old rule is currently banned Candice Bailey, an activist and citizen not running for a seat.