The Denver City Council has ushered in a new wave of leadership.
Stacie Gilmore, who was president pro tem and represents District 11 in far northeast Denver, was elected 12-0 Monday night as the council’s first female president in six years. (Councilwoman At Large Debbie Ortega, who is on medical leave, told Colorado Politics she would have also voted for Gilmore, making the pick a unanimous one.)
Passing the torch to Gilmore was outgoing President Jolon Clark, who was elected to serve as head of the 13-member body for the past two years.
“You’ve always been a rock for me as we’ve served together, someone who I’ve learned so much from, someone who I know I can call when things get tough, someone who has pushed me to be better and helped me to grow,” Clark told Gilmore. “I know that you will be an amazing and collaborative leader for us, for this body, and for this city that we all want.”
Clark also gifted Gilmore a gavel, made of an ash tree, that his father handcrafted for her new chapter.
“As we continue to grow together as a collective, I'm excited to see how we begin to actualize our potential as a body,” Gilmore told her colleagues in the Council’s second-ever online meeting. “We are 13 individual people representing different parts of the city, but we overlap on so many of our values and community issues. Together, we can change history to create policy, change laws, to create stronger, anti-racist and anti-oppressionist structures in our city for our residents.”
Councilwoman Jamie Torres, who represents District 3 in west Denver, was also elected 12-0 as president pro tem.
“For many of you who didn’t know me before a year ago, I hope you’ve just found me to be thoughtful and deliberate and a fighter for my district,” said Torres, who’s been a city employee for nearly 20 years. “My door’s always open to talk through any of these issues with any of things that we want to be affecting and impacting in the city.”
Gilmore and Torres both identify as Latina, a quality Gilmore called “historic.”
“I look forward to continuing this work with each one of you to build a strong, more effective Denver City Council,” Gilmore said, “because that's what our communities are asking for.”