DENVER (KDVR) — The June 6 runoff in the race for Denver mayor is now set. The former president and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, Kelly Brough, will take on former two-term state senator, Mike Johnston.
Johnston was the top vote-getter in this week’s municipal election. On “Colorado Point of View” this weekend, we go in-depth on the biggest issues facing the Mile High City.
The homeless population has grown across Denver, hitting a 14-year record in 2022. Both candidates said they want to enforce the city’s camping ban, but the two also have different approaches as to how to tackle the issue.
“I think there are two areas of focus for me that nobody else has focused on and one is we need to work as a region,” Brough said on FOX31 Morning News on Wednesday. “Five sitting mayors in the metro area have endorsed me as a candidate and my homeless plan. And we need to work on prevention.”
Brough also said she would expand the Safe Outdoor Spaces program. Johnston said he would also help with temporary housing.
“I would, what we would call micro-communities, which is where you take vacant lots around the city, you can take half acre, acre lots, and you put 40 or 50 tiny homes on that site,” Johnston said on “Colorado Point of View.” “You can build them quickly. You can build them efficiently. You move people from encampments and from tents into these stable, dignified tiny homes. You have wrap-around services there, addiction support, mental health support, job training.”
School safety has become a growing issue following the shooting of two administrators at Denver East High School. Just this week, students across Denver protested inside the Capitol and spoke with Gov. Polis about gun violence. Johnston said he has always supported having school resource officers and he said it was a mistake for the Denver Public Schools board to remove them.
“I’ve been a school teacher. I’ve been in those environments. I don’t think you should ever have a teacher or a dean who has to have the job of frisking a kid that comes into the school with a gun,” Johnston said.
Anchor Matt Mauro asked Johnston if he would have the city pay for SROs if DPS could not pay for them.
“I think we can’t live in a scenario where kids and families don’t feel safe sending their kids back to school and that we shouldn’t let the budget get in the way of that problem,” Johnston said. “So I’d work with the district to help find those resources. If they can’t, the city could do their part. But we’re not going to make kids go back to schools if they don’t feel safe.”
You can watch the full interview with Johnston on “Colorado Point of View” Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on Channel 2 and Sunday at 8:30 p.m. on FOX31.