A 10-minute guide to candidates for Boulder City Council, mayor and school board

You’re busy. We get it. And we’ve got you.

Below, find the stated priorities for each candidate and a quick pro/con analysis. Check out our 10-minute issue guide, too.

Got even less-time? Check out our 5-minute guide to candidates or one-pager

Click the headline for each candidate to read a full profile.

All candidates are listed in the order they appear on the ballot

Mayoral candidates

Aaron Brockett is already on the ground running as Boulder’s mayor
After 8 years on City Council, mayor has a long list of accomplishments

– Tiny home village / safe outdoor space for unhoused
– Reducing red tape for affordable housing
– Parking reform

Pros: Demonstrated experience and leadership; only candidate that has already done the job; responsive to criticism

Cons: Struggles to delegate, colleagues say; not as collaborative as all council members would like

Other considerations: Brockett will not remain on City Council if not elected mayor

Councilwoman Nicole Speer is tired of ‘nibbling at the edges’ of Boulder’s big problems
Two-year councilwoman rejects the ‘status quo’ leadership of her more experienced peers

– Raise Boulder’s minimum wage
– Living wage for City Council members
– Study of Boulder’s changing demographics ahead of the update to the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan

Pros: Principled and consistent in values and voting; gender diversity (only female candidate)

Cons: Least collaborative of incumbent candidates; can struggle to compromise; takes “us vs. them” view on some issues

Other considerations: Speer will remain on City Council if not elected mayor; her term lasts through 2025

Councilman Bob Yates struggles to lead from the bottom
Shifting political winds make for strange bedfellows

Eight-step plan to address unsheltered homelessness
– Maintaining safe and clear bike paths (ice, snow, encampment removals)
– Preparing Area III Planning Reserve for future development

Pros: Experience, demonstrated leadership and collaboration, responsive to community

Cons: Multiple complaints about unethical behavior (no official violations have been found); conflicting and inconsistent positions; can be aggressive and pushy, colleagues say

Other considerations: Yates will not remain on City Council if not elected mayor

Paul Tweedlie: Boulder’s self-proclaimed best fisherman runs for mayor
Scotsman wants to ‘preserve the town’ for future generations

– Property tax cuts for older adults and children with families
– Crime
– Cutting red tape for small businesses

Pros: Friendly, good listener

Cons: No government experience, no leadership of diplomacy skills (by self-admission), very little knowledge of the issues, conservative values do not match the majority of Boulderites

Picking the mayor: How, why and what it will change
An explanation of ranked choice voting and how candidates view the role

City Council candidates

Boulder has ‘taken a wrong turn.’ Terri Brncic wants to ‘get it back on track’
Mom, CFO motivated to run by encampments, propane tank explosion near Boulder High

– Safe public spaces + safe indoor shelter (camping ban enforcement, shelter utilization, mandatory mental health treatment/alternative sentencing)
– Affordability requirement for increased occupancy
– Bike safety and security (storage lockers, training and education for e-bikes)

Pros: Smart, well-informed, finance and budgeting background

Cons: Dismissive of opponents and conflicting opinions; uses harsher rhetoric than other candidates; no relevant experience; reacts defensively to criticism

Jenny Robins: Boulder should support families by supporting kids
Scout leader wants to establish teen center with mental health services

– Establish teen and/or youth center
– Reform permitting process
– Reform municipal court practices

Pros: Considerate of opposing opinions; background in contract negotiations, land use and zoning; takes criticism well

Cons: No relevant government experience; still learning issues and solutions

Aaron Gabriel Neyer leans into regenerative relationships to solve Boulder’s climate, housing troubles
Former Google software engineer doesn’t have all the answers but ‘can be part of a team’

– Create climate solutions working group to increase public awareness of local efforts
– Create infrastructure (affordable housing, transit, green buildings) working group to explore  public-private partnerships
– Expand current homelessness working groups

Pros: Renter (adds diversity of lived experience to council of all homeowners); balanced and thoughtful of multiple perspectives and opinions

Cons: No relevant government experience; still learning key issues and solutions

Jacques Decalo: Bring back the ‘golden standard’ of environmentalism
Youngest candidate wants Boulder to be ‘the most sustainable city in the world’

– Evaluation of a tax on single-use plastics
– Increase community solar gardens and battery storage, incentivize electric heat pumps
– Evaluate an expansion of the HOP bus route

Pros: Only candidate or council member under 30 (would add age diversity to council)

Cons: Less informed than other candidates; seems to be only hearing from one particular political group

Silas Atkins takes on Boulder’s political establishment with idealism, lived experience
Renter, father and para-educator believes meeting people’s basic needs are key to the city’s success

– Safe outdoor spaces for the unhoused
– Higher minimum wage for Boulder
– Expansion and make permanent a direct cash assistance program
– Core Arterial Network (transportation focus on bike, bus and pedestrian facilities)

Pros: Renter, including previous tenancy in city’s affordable housing program (would add diversity of lived experience to City Council); engages deeply with criticism and opposing views

Cons: Thin policy proposals, may struggle to compromise

Waylon Lewis wants to make Boulder fun again
Well-known local Buddhist publisher is running on an ‘anti-conflict’ platform

– Homeless solutions, including services and/or a transitional campground
– Increase climate mitigation funding
– Double the amount of affordable housing developed by Boulder Housing Partners 

Pros: Only car-free candidate (would add diversity of lived experience to council); creative; has personal relationships across the (local) political spectrum

Cons: Inconsistent positions and answers; no relevant government experience

Ryan Scuchard wants to save lives, money and the planet with better transportation
Boulder needs complete systems to tackle housing, transportation and climate change, father and climate professional says

– Establish a climate action leadership and accountability initiative
– Reform city code to reduce traffic and increase affordable housing
– Create a public-facing safety dashboard

Pros: Extremely knowledgeable about transportation (expertise lacking on City Council); previous experience on city board; career experience in climate and transportation

Cons: May struggle to compromise

Tara Winer has settled into the realities of governing
Councilwoman is running for re-election on a platform of public safety

– Middle-income housing: Changes to city requirements to encourage on-site, for-sale and price-restricted housing for middle-income earners
– Area III Planning Reserve
– Transitional housing with support services 24/7 (pallet homes or tiny homes)
– Better lighting in underpasses
– Bike valet/ other ideas to secure bicycles and decrease bike thefts
– Minimum wage increase: “a must for 2025. Move up and shorten the community engagement to the first four months of 2024 to further secure this.” 

Pros: Experienced; thoughtful and collaborative; aware of the realities and challenges of governing

Cons: Waffles a bit on policy positions (but typically votes in a predictable, consistent way)

Tina Marquis: To meet Boulder’s challenges, ‘we need to lead together’
Former school board president has focus on family housing

– Declare a humanitarian crisis for homelessness and housing insecurity
– Post-COVID in-commuter survey
– Survey of vacant homes

Pros: Extremely well-informed on city, county and state issues; experience on school board (another large organization with many employees and a big budget)

Cons: Lacks inspiring vision; most proposed solutions are small and not in scale with the problems at hand (See her work plan priorities: one declaration and two studies)

Taishya Adams has a vision for Boulder’s ‘just and joyous’ future
Equity and environment underpin platform for the only council candidate of color

– Conduct a climate risk assessment for the city
– “Just + joyous community” including ensuring equitable governance by analyzing and revamping boards and commissions and research/outreach practices
– “Habitat for All” (green building materials, expanded housing options paired with investments in habitat, increased options and services for the unhoused)
– Water infrastructure and flood mitigation

Pros: Visionary; leadership experience at local, state and national levels; only candidate or council member of color (would add racial/ethnic diversity)

Cons: Mostly stays high-level; can struggle to articulate specific policy proposals at times

— Shay Castle, @shayshinecastle

BVSD school board

We didn’t report on these, but here is some quick info from other sources. Learn more about the candidates from Daily Camera (quick info), Boulder Valley School District (short bios) and Boulder Weekly (candidate questionnaires).

Note: All candidates are parents of current or former BVSD students

District A 

Jason Unger: Member, chairperson of School Accountability Committee at Creekside Elementary; previous experience as teacher, administrator, senior advisor on education in United States Senate
Endorsed by Boulder Weekly, Colorado Education Association (labor union)

Neil Fishman: Served on BVSD’s Parent Council, worked with Colorado Board of Education on inclusive standards
Endorsed by Boulder Progressives, Colorado Education Association (labor union)

Director District C

Andrew Steffl: Planetary scientist; lost his home in the Marshall Fire

Alex Medler: Works at the federal level (distributing grant $$) to help districts “strengthen oversight” of charter schools (per the Daily Camera)
Endorsed by Boulder Progressives, Boulder Weekly, Colorado Education Association (labor union)

Cynthia Nevison: Research scientist, worked one day a week as a classroom monitor in 2021

District D 

Andrew Brandt: Cybersecurity researcher and malware investigator; volunteer at CU’s Media Archaeology Lab; helped build school garden at Eisenhower Elementary
Endorsed by Boulder Progressives, Boulder Weekly

Lalenia Quinlan Aweida: Sexual assault prevention educator at Blue Sky Bridge and Moving to End Sexual Assault; member of the BVSD Title IX Stakeholder Advisory Council
Endorsed by Colorado Education Association (labor union)

District G 

Anil Kiran Pesaramelli: Software engineer; member of BVSD’s Community Bond Oversight Committee

Stuart Lord: Organizational advisor on diversity, equity and inclusion; previous member of BVSD’s Leadership Academy and Partnership Council

Jorge Chávez: Human development and family relations professor at CU Denver; member of Latino Parent Advisory Council, member and chairperson of Pioneer Accountability Committee
Endorsed by Boulder Progressives, Boulder Weekly, Colorado Education Association (labor union)

These guide may take minutes to read, but it represents months of work: Interviews, research, fact-checking and event coverage. If you value this information, please consider paying for it.

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1 Comment Leave a comment

  1. Thank you for leading the best local election coverage in all of CO year after year after year! Nuanced coverage that gives me a real sense of each candidate and issue while allowing readers to come to their own conclusions. This alone is more than worth the Patreon subscription.

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