Denver Government

The Contenders: Renate Behrens Needs a Job and Settled on Denver Mayor

Renate Behrens needs a job and decided the position of mayor was ideal.
Renate Behrens needs a job and decided the position of mayor was ideal. Courtesy of Renate Behrens
This is the sixth in our series on the Denver mayoral candidates, based on their responses to a Westword questionnaire sent to every contender on the ballot last month.

Originally from Germany, Renate Behrens is running for mayor of Denver with a focus on solving homelessness and fighting age discrimination. She says that she's worked as a secretary, a chef and a caregiver, and has a background in real estate, property management and construction.

"I am an honest, caring person. Life is holy for me," says Behrens, quoting Albert Schweitzer She adds that she needs this job because she doesn't get Social Security and does not have health insurance.

Why are you running for mayor?

My country did not do anything for me regarding human trafficking, domestic violence and homelessness, so I want to do something for my country and serve as mayor in Denver.

What is your plan to tackle homelessness?

My first day in office, I need a list of city-owned empty acreages and big buildings — and private ones, too— for new construction of affordable housing for everyone in need. And the big buildings, like schools, hospitals, factories, churches and offices, will be turned into affordable apartments.

In order for people to calm down and become themselves again and feel secure and at home, I would do this: put mobile homes and rowhouses on parking spaces downtown. These apartments are very simple, yet have electricity, heating, shower and hot plates.

Rent has to be paid. If they make it for one year, they get the rent amount back for a fresh start. Employers who have homeless employees should provide housing if needed/wanted.

Would you end homeless encampment sweeps?

I would end homeless encampments immediately, never sweep and never take their constitutional rights away.

What is your plan to improve public safety in Denver?

Increase police funding for a special department only: Police should be patrolling the streets and neighborhood regularly, should know everybody and their needs and problems, and should be willing and able to help.

How will you work with Denver Public Schools to improve education and safety in schools?

I do not know yet. But we have to invest much more in our future, the children.

What is your stance on the Park Hill Golf Course development proposal?

No development at all. Leave it as green lungs for the city. Get rid of the golf course. There are too many. Try to buy these 155 acres.

How can Denver significantly expand its affordable-housing stock?

As I said before, make apartments out of empty, abandoned or unused buildings, change zoning, let single-family homes add a mother-in-law-suite. Commercial buildings should have apartments, too.

Denver has historically been a car-centric city. Should the city take significant road space from cars for other forms of transportation (walking, rolling, biking, scootering, bus, etc.)?

Yes, of course. Install obstacles to make the traffic slow, so people avoid using their cars. Entertainment on the curbside. I would improve public traffic of any kind (hearings, meetings, surveys according to the wants and needs of the users). Of course, electric vehicles, public and private, only. Public traffic will be FREE for all. So we can turn the parking spaces of the commuters into gardens/parks and improve the air in Denver.

Of course, homeowners have to do their part, get rid of grass and grow produce in their garden.

What would you do if the Denver Broncos demand public dollars as a requirement for keeping the stadium in the Mile High City?

No public money for for-profit companies, like Broncos and Xcel!!!!!!!!

See answers from Kelly Brough, Thomas Wolf, Lisa Calderón, Andy Rougeot, Ean Tafoya, Renate Behrens, Debbie Ortega, James Walsh, Robert Treta, Leslie Herod, Chris Hansen, Mike Johnston, Trinidad Rodriguez, Aurelio Martinez, Terrance Roberts and Al Gardner.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Conor McCormick-Cavanagh is a staff writer at Westword, where he covers a range of beats, including local politics, immigration and homelessness. He previously worked as a journalist in Tunisia and loves to talk New York sports.

Latest Stories