Kalyn Heffernan might be best known for her role as MC in the Denver band Wheelchair Sports Camp, but she is as engaged in activism as she is involved with music.
Last year Heffernan was arrested during a sit-in at Senator Cory Gardner's office to protest the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and any cuts to Medicaid; in January, she confronted Denver City Council president Albus Brooks outside of a party to debate gentrification. Two years ago, we named Heffernan a Westword MasterMind, in recognition of her work changing the cultural landscape of Denver. We also just honored her as the Best Activist Musician in the Best of Denver 2018.
And now, she is running — or sitting, as the wheelchair-user Heffernan puts it — for mayor of Denver in 2019.
"I'm obviously not a politician, but Denver has a lot of blood on their hands this year, especially; over 230 homeless people died, most of them disabled," she says. "People have been asking me to run for mayor a lot lately. It's ableist for people to ask me to run for mayor, but someone has to defeat Hancock."
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Heffernan promises that her platform will focus on homeless issues, demilitarizing the police and desegregating schools. She says that unlike Mayor Michael Hancock, who is running for re-election, she'll attend Denver City Council meetings, and she won't be "funded by developers and the real estate colonizers." She joins other political outsiders, including Kayvan Khalatbari, in taking aim at the May 2019 city election.
"I just think it's a really trying time for Denver, and a lot of people are dying," she says. "Communities are being culturally eradicated. There's a real big push of modern-day colonization."
Watch Heffernan's Kalyn 4 Mayor video below.