Lauren Simpson, candidate for Arvada City Council District 2

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A foreign policy and diplomatic officer for the Canadian Consulate, Lauren Simpson lives in the Lamar Heights neighborhood of Arvada. This is her first foray into city politics.

Campaign website: www.laurenforarvada.com

Email: laurenforarvada@gmail.com

Why are you seeking this office?

You have to be the change that you want to see in the world. Politics today have become toxic, with many of us finding validation in echo chambers and fault with those that may disagree with us. That needs to change, and I believe I have the skills, attitude and fresh ideas necessary to serve this city well—now and into the future.

What makes you the best person for the job?

My background is in international diplomacy, working at all levels from federal leaders to city councils. It had given me the balance, skills and knowledge-base necessary to take on this role. I know how to build bridges and work with individuals of all backgrounds and beliefs. I know how to serve, how to listen and how to work hard (and be nice!) while also embracing bold ideas that will position this city for success in the future.

What are your top three priorities if elected?

1) A diverse housing stock that includes options that are affordable and attainable for workers; 2) Supporting small businesses in our community and helping them stay competitive; and 3) Investing in “placemaking” — creation of dynamic spaces that are safe and fun for all of our residents. This goes beyond parks and rec centers (though those are certainly a part of it), and into bold ideas like the creation of an Arts District and walkable attractions across our city.

Section 8 funding has not kept pace with demand in Arvada, should other resources be used to create more affordable housing? What, and why?

Yes. We should use zoning to allow development of density housing that includes units that are priced obtainably. We should also closely look at other creative solutions — such as tiny home or “dorm-style” communities — as well as what we can do locally to reduce barriers to condominium development, which is often the entry point for young professionals into homeownership.

Are there still blighted areas in Arvada in need of attention from the Urban Renewal Authority? Why, or why not, does the city need these renewal efforts?

Yes, there are, but they’re not in Olde Town. They’re in areas like southeast Arvada, which has not seen the same attention and investment as other parts of the city. I want that to change, and I support Council assuming an increased oversight role of AURA to ensure: 1) projects remain focused on this core mandate of removing blight, 2) serve the public interest (for instance, utilizing TIF to help build a hospital), and 3) support our local businesses.

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