Kelly Brough and Mike Johnston defend positions

Denver mayoral candidates Kelly Brough, left, and Mike Johnston faced off in a mayoral forum Monday night. They disagreed on environmental sustainability steps Denver can take, as well as how to address the much maligned permitting process in the city. 

Kelly Brough and Mike Johnston defended positions and statements they've made while in previous jobs during a 9News mayoral candidate debate Tuesday.

Johnston and Brough were the top vote-getters in the April general election and will battle in a June 6 runoff.

Brough was formerly president and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce — described by moderator Kyle Clark as "one of the most powerful conservative organizations in Colorado."

The chamber, led by Brough, opposed setbacks for oil and gas drilling, progressive income taxes to fund schools and paid family leave. She was asked how Denverites can differentiate these positions from Brough's own.

"The chamber's not running for mayor," she said. "I don't oppose a progressive income tax, and I don't oppose funding schools. I'll respond to the details of the proposal."

Brough pointed out that Denver has no production of oil and gas.

A state setback rule sets the minimum distance an oil well may be built from a household. Currently that distance is 2,000 feet.

"We don't care about this setback issue in Denver," she said. 

Brough said there were times she had to separate her personal view from that of the chamber.

Johnston is a former educator and state senator who represented Denver's 33rd District for two terms. Since then, he's run, unsuccessfully, for other political offices and ran Gary Community Ventures.

Johnston worked on universal preschool, and pushed back against suggestions that he's taking credit for getting it done by saying everyone in the large coalition that passed it "had a leadership role."

He has, at several points in the race, touted his efforts to "take on the NRA" and win. However, some of the provisions of his 2013 gun control bill, such as the restriction on high capacity magazines, have gone unenforced statewide.

He was asked how this can be seen as "winning" against the NRA.

"There are still folks speeding in Denver tonight, and that doesn't mean we should take away the speed limits in the city," he said. "It means we have to enforce them." 

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