Editor’s Note: The following is a full statement from Denver Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca regarding her office’s ethics waiver request:
Constituents of District 9: When you voted me into office in a history-making election, I promised you transparency and accountability. Like you, I was fed up with business as usual in City Hall, and vowed to create a co-governance model with constituents to help guide me in policy-making decisions.
Therefore, I am keeping my promise that I will listen to you, even when we disagree, in order to create a democracy that we can have confidence in. To that end, I am modifying my request seeking permission from the Ethics Board to hire my life partner, despite her many contributions, long hours and sacrifices to get me where I am. Instead, the waiver will simply seek permission to officially allow her to continue volunteering; yes, that is a requirement in the rules.
To be clear, Kerrie will remain a key presence serving the community and helping to repair the harm that has been done as a result of the neglect and pillaging of our historic communities. She will also work in collaboration with my office in her own capacity by continuing to focus on placemaking, community healing and wellness, to repair the trauma resulting from gentrification, displacement, homelessness and incarceration.
From the very beginning, I assembled a team of powerhouse women who shared my vision, passion and commitment to District 9. In a few short months, we have accomplished game-changing initiatives, including dismantling the private prison industry halfway house contracts, pushing back on the Mayor’s budget proposal to incorporate more dollars for services, and launching the Do Better Denver Initiative, a series of solution-oriented town halls, to address the housing and homelessness crisis.
One of those women, more than anyone, has been instrumental in my success. Kerrie Joy was at my side throughout my 18 months of campaigning. In fact, if it wasn’t for her, I would not have made it through the most difficult moments. She is an accomplished and talented leader in her own right.
The way the media reduced Kerrie to simply my “girlfriend” diminishes her life accomplishments and stature in the community. It also ignores the double standard practiced by powerful men in city government, including those who orchestrate fictional processes to hire their spouses or close associates.
However, I also recognize that you elected me to create a higher standard of accountability, and to not measure myself by practices of other city officials.
I am committed to opening up a dialogue about how appointees’ function in Denver and whether there needs to be clear parameters for both City Council and the Mayor’s Office. I am open to your feedback about ways we can make the Council hiring process more transparent — which was my intention from the very beginning, and which is why I sought a waiver in the first place — and I’m willing to introduce legislation to that end. Council has very different parameters for hiring than the City does, and I would like to be instrumental in teaching the community the difference, and perhaps creating processes we can all be proud of.
In the meantime, we need all hands on deck to address the entrenched economic and racial injustices in our neighborhoods and City government. I welcome every single one of you who want to create a truly equitable city to join us, and to continue to advise me on issues important to our community that we all love. I will continue to take the feedback received and help to illuminate the many instances where even following the documented rules may not be achieving our collective desired outcomes.
While this process has been challenging, I seek to learn and grow from every experience and invite you to do the same with me as we co-govern to create city leadership that we can all be proud of. There is much work to do, and I welcome the continued participation.
Candi CdeBaca is a Denver City Councilwoman representing Denver’s District 9.
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