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."
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.
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Ana Campbell has been Westword's managing editor since 2016. She has worked at magazines and newspapers around the country, picking up a few awards along the way for her writing and editing. She grew up in south Texas.