When Lauren Simpson decided to run for city council, her friends and family weren’t surprised. The Arvada resident has always been interested in politics and currently works as a public affairs …
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When Lauren Simpson decided to run for city council, her friends and family weren’t surprised. The Arvada resident has always been interested in politics and currently works as a public affairs officer for the Canadian Consulate, handling media relations, speech-writing and collaboration with national groups to “advance United States-Canada relations at the state level,” she said.
But Simpson said she surprised herself. She’d never wanted to run for office, but when she was looking over Arvada’s 2019 city council candidates, “the first thing that struck me was that we didn’t have that voice for young families.”
Determined to be that voice, Simpson joined the race and is now one of three candidates for the District 2 seat.
If elected, one of her priorities would be to provide support to the city’s increasing homeless population, she said.
Her perspective on the issue was shaped by her teenage years. When Simpson was in high school, her father, who had been diagnosed with mental illness, left their family home and lived in homelessness for three years.
During that time, Simpson developed a strong compassion for the homeless and a better understanding for what support they may need, she said.
“I don’t believe you have a right to commit crimes. I am for ensuring that public safety comes first,” she said. “However, we need to have compassion and work with our state and county partners, as well as our partners in the faith-based community, to ensure people are connected with services.”
She would also like to work with the city to create density housing and bring more affordable units to Arvada. She added that she would only be in favor of building such housing in neighborhoods where high-density developments would fit in aesthetically.
Simpson would also work to reduce traffic, partially by advocating for new strategies, like a circulator bus to stop at major destinations in Arvada.
In addition, she would like to bring many possibilities to the table that, currently, may not be on residents’ radars. For instance, she would like to work with the city to create an arts district in Arvada, most likely by rehabilitating an area that already needs to be updated, she said.
As a council member, she would advocate for the establishment of at least one hospital within city limits. For Arvada residents, the nearest hospital is in Denver or Wheat Ridge; years ago, she herself went to a hospital in downtown Denver to have her daughter.
Just as her experiences have heightened her awareness of certain issues, she believes other council members can each bring new possibilities to the forefront. Simpson looks forward to encouraging such discussion and promoting strong collaboration, as exists within the current council, she said.
“I would like to continue that tradition and raise the bar,” she said, “and to complement the other voices that are there.”
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