Albus Brooks and Wil Alston have been involved in the development of the District 8 community, and now both would like to step that up by becoming the area's next city councilman. They weren't the only candidates with this dream: 38 people competed for the seat previously held by Carla Madison, who died of cancer in April. But only Alston, 50, and Brooks, 32, made it to the runoff election, which takes place June 7.
Madison's widower, Paul Weiss, who was among those 38 candidates, is now endorsing Brooks.
"I felt honored," Brooks says. "But it wasn't just Paul Weiss; it was eight other write-in candidates. They represent the key constituents in our district. I think they are a good cross section of our district. And it felt like the leaders of our district were saying, 'We endorse you as our candidate.'"
But Brooks isn't alone in gathering high-profile endorsements.
Alston has gained the support of former Governor Bill Ritter, for whom Alston once worked as deputy communications director. "For four years, we spent a whole lot of time traveling the state in the car with just me and him, so when he comes out and says, 'I know this young man, I know what he stands for, I know what he believes,' that's a result from a whole lot of conversations in the car," Alston says.
Alston also reiterated that his supporters weren't just political figures, but friends.
"For me, I'm humbled first of all -- but those are very authentic supporters," Alston says. "Those are not people who are jumping out supporting me because of the political climate. Those are people who know me personally because of the work we've done."
Alston is currently working to improve District 8 as the executive director of the Five Points Business District, which takes part the improvements and economic development of the Five Points neighborhood.
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And Brooks? After taking a break to serve as the Outreach and Political Director on John Hickenlooper's 2010 re-election campaign, he resumed his role as the director of the Issachar Center for Urban Leadership, which teaches students leadership skills through service, study and spirituality.
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Brooks believes there are plenty of dreams in District 8 that still need to be addressed, and marketing the community to the city more effectively will help with its success.
"There are a couple of things that haven't been brought up," he says. "There are justification conversations, inclusion into neighborhood associations and redevelopment conversations. The conversations with the redevelopment have been happening, but the capital has not been accessible to that community -- and I intend to market that community..."
More from our Calhoun: Wake-Up Call archive: "Carla Madison: With city councilwoman's death, Denver is a little less colorful."