Perennial politician and former Westword cover boy Ryan Frazier has done what many people expected and joined the race to become Aurora's next mayor. Four other candidates have already announced their intentions: Debbie Stafford, Steve Hogan, Sheilah Thomas Davis and Jude Sandvall. Current Mayor Ed Tauer can't run because of term limits.
Frazier has been on the Aurora City Council for eight years and is seen by some as a rising young Republican star. As Joel Warner wrote in his October 16, 2008, feature story on Frazier:
"GOP movers and shakers expect big things out of their rising star; they believe the handsome young African-American could be mayor of Aurora or win statewide office...There's no question that Colorado Republicans could use a little freshening up...The controlling party in Colorado just four years ago, Republicans have since lost control of the governorship, a Senate seat and two House seats. They've also ceded their majorities to Democrats in the state House and Senate. Maybe someone like Frazier could help get the Grand Old Party back on track."
But Frazier has had trouble gaining traction.
In 2008, he was the co-sponsor and public face of Amendment 47, a controversial ballot initiative that would have prohibited making payment of union dues a condition of employment in Colorado. The measure was soundly defeated after being countered by both unions and business interests. Last year, Frazier lost out to Democrat Ed Perlmutter in the race for the 7th Congressional District.
Still, he is well known in Aurora, where he has pledged to create more jobs, improve educational standards and strengthen public safety.
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Denver's big neighbor to the east has long been the punching bag for the metro area - riddled with hard economic times and crime. But whoever wins the race to be Aurora's next mayor may oversee a burgeoning Renaissance there. In addition to planned development around the massive Anshutz medical campus, Aurora has also developed a small but proud arts scene and is also known for its ethnic restaurants.
The city may score another coup soon if plans to move the National Western Stock Show complex to the Denver/Aurora border come to fruition. Nashville-based Gaylord Development has proposed a large Western-themed hotel and entertainment complex, which would be built in Aurora but connected to a new Stock Show complex on the Denver side.
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