DENVER — Lisa Calderon announced her run for Denver mayor Monday morning.
Calderon, a longtime community activist, educator and former nonprofit executive, will launch her candidacy on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. at the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. statue in City Park, according to a press release. She plans to reveal her platform that morning.
“I believe the time has come to elect a mayor who will set a new direction for Denver by creating a more affordable, accountable and humane city, where every voice matters,” she said. “Quite simply, it’s time for a new vision and new leadership where the principles of equity, fairness and justice are the touchstones by which we measure a great city.”
For about 30 years, she has served in nonprofits to address the root causes of social problems such as domestic violence, mass incarceration, homelessness, substance abuse and mental illness. Backed with knowledge from a Master’s degree, law degree and doctorate in education, she said she is committed to taking a research-based public policy approach to those problems.
Should she be elected, Calderon would sit as the first female mayor.
“I have spent my entire adult life in the service of others. It is precisely because I am not a politician, but rather a public servant, that I have decided to run for public office,” she said.
Calderon, who currently sits as co-chair of Colorado’s Latino Forum, led the “Time’s up Hancock” march on City Hill earlier this year and has been an outspoken critic of Mayor Michael Hancock since he was accused of sexual harassment in February.
Shortly afterward, Calderon filed a federal lawsuit accusing the city of political retaliation. She had worked for the city for a decade to run a program for people transitioning out of Denver’s jails, and the city had awarded her a contract from 2007 until April 2018. Calderon said the city awarded the program’s contract to another nonprofit because she has been a vocal critic of the mayor and his administration.
At the time, she also claimed the city favored a male-run organization over hers.
The mayor’s office denied the claims in the lawsuit, stating that city contracts come up for re-bidding every few years to keep them competitive.
In June 2017, she called out Sheriff Patrick Firman with the Denver Sheriff’s Office, and accused him of being the first sheriff in 20 years to refuse a meeting with Latino and African American community members to discuss the issues that impact them.
“It is our people who are suffering due to mass incarceration, an overcrowded dangerous jails [sic], and lack fair and timely legal processes that disadvantage the poor, mentally ill and addicted,” Calderon wrote in a letter obtained by Denver7.