Former state Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik announced Thursday that she's running in November to be Thornton mayor.
"I believe in open communication and an accountable, transparent and fiscally responsible government that serves Thornton residents well, since they are the major investors in the city," said Martinez Humenik, who served two terms on the Thornton City Council before winning election in 2014 to represent Adams County's Senate District 24.
"Thornton must have a sound city government that allows our businesses to thrive, employs smart growth planning and provides avenues for our families to reach their full potential while enjoying the quality of life they desire. As the next Thornton mayor, I will listen, be thoughtful in the council decision-making processes and I will be a strong, vocal advocate for our community," she said.
The Republican lost her bid for re-election last year to then-state Rep. Faith Winter, D-Westminster, in one of the most expensive and hotly contested legislative races in the state.
Five candidates will be the ballot for the nonpartisan mayoral election in the north-metro city of 143,000. Mayor Heidi Williams is term-limited.
"I would hope that this election is going to be more friendly, though I have heard that local elections have become more partisan." Martinez Humenik told Colorado Politics.
She said she's always taken the city's nonpartisan structure "very seriously" but worries that the fiercely partisan politics that prevail at the national and state levels could spill over into the municipal races.
"I am hopeful that this is going to be a fair, good race. I don’t intend to have any negative stuff put out there about any of the candidates running," she said. "I’m not a politician; I’m a public servant, and I want to be able to serve you."
Martinez Humenik, a fourth-generation Coloradan who grew up in Fort Collins and moved to Thornton in the mid-1990s, said she is confident she can bring her experience at the state Capitol to bear on running Colorado's sixth-largest city.
"I've always put over 100% of myself into serving," she said. "I am really excited about this. I have experience and knowledge that I didn’t have when I was on council with the state service I’ve done. I consider myself a citizen-legislator. It’s about the people I serve and making sure we’re leaving things better in the future than we are today."
Martinez Humenik, who works part time as a substitute teacher, said Thornton's next mayor will have to "hit the ground running" managing the fast-growing city's challenges, including issues with water, transportation, housing and economic development.
"I’ve talked to many people who say they think the city doesn’t care, and I think that’s a travesty," she said. "People don’t want to be silenced, and they don’t want to feel like they don’t matter when they are investors in the city. People want an open dialogue with their government. I don’t think that people can have trust and confidence in you and your leadership if you’re not available to talk to them, helping them understand, listening to people."
Martinez Humenik said she wants to determine whether the city can broadcast all of the council's meetings and make city officials and services easier for residents to reach.
"It’s great to say you’re all for transparency, but if you’re not being transparent enough, then you need to make some changes," she said.
The other candidates who qualified for the ballot by submitting 25 petition signatures by last week's deadline are Mayor Pro Tem Janifer Kulmann, Councilman Eric Montoya, Steven Cervantes and James Treibert, according to the Thornton city clerk.
Mail ballots for the Nov. 5 election go out Oct. 15.