When Arvada resident Harriet Hall is asked what she did during the 34 years she was CEO and president at the Jefferson Center for Mental Health, she realizes that her former position does not fit …
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When Arvada resident Harriet Hall is asked what she did during the 34 years she was CEO and president at the Jefferson Center for Mental Health, she realizes that her former position does not fit into a quick job description.
She describes decades addressing the complicated and sometimes unexpected mental health needs of the county — whether that meant creating victim assistance programs for the community that went through the 1999 Columbine High School tragedy, or leading the charge as the center took over programming for those experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
Hall hadn't realized the position would prepare her to one day run for mayor, she said. But throughout the past months, as she's campaigned for the first time, she's found those experiences make her an ideal candidate, she said.
Knowing that government works at a slower pace than some may expect, “I'm pretty good about communicating what's going on and the reasons for things,” she said.
Hall says she is running for Arvada's mayor in the 2019 election to improve communication between the city government and residents.
She first moved to Colorado for an internship after graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has stayed in the state ever since. She made Arvada her home in 1988.
After stepping down from her role as the mental health center's CEO into semi-retirement, Hall became more involved in the community and learned of several issues affecting locals, which ultimately inspired her to run for office, she said.
If elected, Hall says she plans to ensure current and new small businesses are included in the city's long-term plans; that resources are funneled toward creating attainable housing; and that development within the city has a clear purpose.
She feels that some recent Arvada developments have been successful, but for others, “we've not made sure before we develop that there's infrastructure there to support the development,” she said.
One way to address infrastructure would be to assess which roads Arvadans are using most and explore how to improve connectivity among them, she said. This is especially necessary for those who live in north Arvada, who are the least likely to use the city's new G Line, she said.
Hall would also look into potential options for how council could weigh in on, and potentially change, plans for the Jefferson Parkway. The proposed toll road will run through northwest Arvada, near the former nuclear weapons plant Rocky Flats.
In August, engineers discovered a hotspot for nuclear waste in the proposed parkway's path, which has led parkway planners, including the city of Arvada, to await more test results and state direction on how to proceed.
On this issue and others, as a council, “we will have to get together and collaborate, even though we have different opinions,” she said. “We need to get people talking to each other.”
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