Election 2021 Q&As: Candidates for Englewood city council and judge


Englewood voters will select four council members and a municipal judge in the election that ends Nov. 2. Ballots go into the mail starting Oct. 8.

At stake are two at-large council seats — one a two-year term and the other a four-year term — and council districts 2 and 4, as well as the judge’s post. District 2 encompasses northeast Englewood, while District 4 covers the southwest.

The Englewood Herald sent questionnaires to each candidate to help voters learn more about them. Here are their responses, edited for clarity.


Cheryl Wink, an incumbent Englewood councilmember at large, is running unopposed for a second four-year term after Steven Kelly left the race. Wink did not respond to the candidate questionnaire.


Jim Woodward 

Occupation: Retired commercial real estate broker

Campaign website/contact information: jimwoodward230@gmail.com 

Why do you want to serve on city council?

My desire to serve on city council stems from my commitment to the community and a desire to be involved in the decision making process in the city in which I live. Having participated extensively for decades in volunteer work with youth, the city's boards, commissions, the Englewood Lions Club, Neighborhood Watch, Habitat for Humanity and other worthwhile civic activities, I have a broad awareness of our community's needs and desires. This broad awareness will help guide me with difficult and fiscally responsible decisions, balanced with a need for effective, efficient services and quality of life amenities.

What would you say are your most important qualifications for the office you're seeking?

In 2004, council selected me from 27 applicants to fill a vacancy on city council and I served over nine years, four years as mayor and four years as mayor pro-tem. During said time I achieved the Century Award from the Colorado Municipal League, and a Gold Award from the National League of Cities for Leadership Training Programs. I served on the Metro Mayors Caucus from November 2007 to November 2011 and chaired their Energy Committee in 2010 and 2011. Additionally, I served on the National League of Cities First Tier Suburbs Council, from 2008 to 2014, serving as 2011 chairman.

If elected, what would be your first priority in office?

To understand our policies on how departments are being run.I have noticed over the last few years that our public works department appears to be contracting more to the public sector as opposed to utilizing city personnel. Specifically, the streets division contracting pavement replacement, repairs and alley grading. Have we saved a substantial amount of money for the quality of work received? In my opinion, the street sweeping program is a disaster and a nuisance to residents. In the past sweeping was performed by staff as needed and on a set schedule.

What in your view is the greatest single issue facing Englewood and how would you address it? 

Englewood's greatest current issue I believe that needs to be promptly addressed is the capital improvements to provide our residents and businesses with water that tastes good year round and is softened to remove the mineral hardness. While I know the utility department has a plan that appears to have a reasonable schedule on piping the city ditch from near Chatfield to Englewood, and installation of equipment to soften and improve the taste, I want to better understand the improvement specifics and implementation schedule and costs to be able to address it with constituents. 

Mary Colecchi 

Occupation: Disability advocate, home-health manager, Broken Tee Golf Course employee 

Campaign website/contact information: colecchi4council@gmail.com

Why do you want to serve on city council?

I feel called to preserve the opportunities of Englewood citizens and the businesses that serve our amazing community. In 2008, I had a stroke and was paralyzed when I came out of my coma severely impinging my choices. The lockdown was similar yet on a community level. Organic gardening at the community garden was huge for my mental health, and talking with many people we all made choices from limited options for our wellness. With great reverence I come to the table to protect our right to choose from many opportunities in our great community.

What would you say are your most important qualifications for the office you're seeking?

Being an attentive listener is a monumental asset I bring to the table. I believe we are all subject matter experts that can bring knowledge to the table to inspire each other to do our own research. That mentality was how knowing nothing I changed Colorado healthcare policy. I have also come to many tables as a representative and am conscientious of my duty to best reflect feedback from constituents. I also have a unique perspective on the gift of life as the last 13 years I was given a second chance.

If elected, what would be your first priority in office?

I would still be asking the hard hitting questions regarding water, flooding and limiting people's choices in the community. 

But accessibility is priority (housing and businesses) as it keeps the aging engaged, and creates opportunities for a marginalized relatively untapped demographic of differing abilities. The Englewood medical, downtown and civic center areas are already unique and full of possibilities. I am a fiscally conservative person so when I see new opportunities to bring In businesses for revenue and tifs off the new infrastructure that we can put back into the city I get excited. 

What in your view is the greatest single issue facing Englewood and how would you address it? 

The candidate did not answer the question.


Chelsea Nunnenkamp (unopposed)

Occupation: Deputy Political Director at a political reform organization

Campaign website/contact information: www.chelseaforenglewood.com 

Why do you want to serve on city council?

I want to preserve what we love about Englewood and make progress for the future. We are at a critical moment for our city and the decisions our leaders make over the next few years will impact the quality of life in Englewood for a generation. We need to address the affordable housing crisis, cultivate a vibrant local economy and seek smart growth that welcomes newcomers while preserving community cohesion. These challenges will require creativity, commitment and collaboration, but I firmly believe that our city’s best days are still ahead of us.

What would you say are your most important qualifications for the office you’re seeking?

I bring to this position nearly a decade of professional policy experience spanning the public, private and non-profit sectors. I chair Englewood’s Budget Advisory Committee, have a masters degree in global development and am a seventh-generation Coloradan. But most of all, I bring a commitment to seeing this city flourish. I will serve diligently, vote thoughtfully and listen intently. I’m committed to promoting a culture of teamwork between citizens, elected officials, businesses, faith communities, nonprofits and community leaders. This work will take all of us and I look forward to addressing our city’s diverse needs and opportunities together.

If elected, what would be your first priority in office?

Englewood’s development code is almost 20 years old and hasn’t kept pace with our city’s changing needs. Over the next year, by modernizing our code, we have the opportunity to shape development in our city for decades to come. It is critical that we preserve the character and cohesion of our community, while continuing to make progress through smart development and redevelopment choices that invigorate and renew lagging areas. This will be one of the most important issues for city council in the near future and I look forward to working with city staff and listening to citizen input. 

What in your view is the greatest single issue facing Englewood and how would you address it? 

We must ensure Englewood has a range of attainable housing opportunities and choices. Access to housing and a path to home ownership is vital to the prosperity of our neighbors and critically provides our local businesses access to a stable and sustainable workforce. I will seek out creative partnerships and strategies that unlock opportunity for our nurses, teachers and small business employees to live in the community where they work and to ensure that our older neighbors have the freedom to age in place. 


Belinda Belt Porter

Occupation: Educator and customer cervice professional

Campaign website/contact information: belindaporter4englewood@gmail.com

Why do you want to serve on city council?

Because Englewood is my home, I left and then returned, and I want to keep community strong, i.e. neighborhood resources programs and working with the DDA because I am community and small businesses focused.

What would you say are your most important qualifications for the office you’re seeking?

That I have an ear to hear and a heart to help my Englewood neighbors and friends.

If elected, what would be your first priority in office?

Familiarize myself with the role and responsibilities of the position while learning as much as I can about the pressing issues in progress along with recent successes, and new emerging issues.

What in your view is the greatest single issue facing Englewood and how would you address it? 

Homelessness. This issue in Englewood affects all citizens, and it could hit anyone at any time. How we, as a city, address this speaks volumes about how we are really "loving our neighbors." I will work to address this issue with options that coincide with the DDA’s new build and/or improving declining areas, that not only provide housing but also resources with the goal of providing a way out of homelessness.     

Steve Ward 

Occupation: Paralegal

Campaign website/contact information: wardforenglewood.com

Why do you want to serve on city council?

I want to remain on council so I can continue to serve the community I love. When I was appointed to fill a council vacancy early this year, it followed my eight years of volunteer service on the city’s Budget Advisory Committee. Since joining council, I have been grateful for the opportunity to help find the most productive path forward for Englewood. My budget experience helps to chart that path. I always strive to bring a thoughtful, collaborative spirit to city council. By working together despite disagreement, we can best serve the ongoing needs of everyone in our community.  

What would you say are your most important qualifications for the office you’re seeking?

I have extensive experience with the city’s budget from my eight years of service on the city’s Budget Advisory Committee. Understanding the city’s past and current budgets gives me a unique eye for how the decisions we make today affect Englewood’s future. I work cooperatively with my fellow community members and city staff to develop solutions to our city’s challenges. I know and understand the rules that govern council’s behavior, and I operate within those rules to hold the people who work for our city accountable and to ensure that we are honoring the city’s obligations to its citizens.

If elected, what would be your first priority in office?

On an ongoing basis, it’s my goal to ensure that Englewood honors its commitments to our residents and spends your tax dollars wisely. As your councilmember, I focus on accountability and execution. There are several ongoing, crucial projects in Englewood. We’ve broken ground on stormwater infrastructure improvements. We’ve scheduled updates to our parks. Planning and design work is ongoing for improvements to our drinking-water facility and our sewer plant. I aim to ensure that city staff and past councils’ work on these overdue projects does not lose traction when the new council is elected in November.

What in your view is the greatest single issue facing Englewood and how would you address it? 

Many of the city’s largest challenges are being actively addressed right now. One of our largest challenges, however, is division in our community. There are philosophical and political splits between newer residents and long-established residents. Just like the surrounding area, Englewood is changing. This change is difficult for some and too slow for others. Ongoing investments in communications and community outreach can help residents feel heard and increase understanding. By creating opportunities for neighbors to share their common interests, we can find a policy balance that works for the community we call home.


Joe Jefferson (unopposed)

Occupation: Municipal judge 

Why do you want to continue serving as municipal judge?

I have recently helped implement new ideas that need to be managed to fruition including our Restorative Justice and Court Navigator Programs, expanded pretrial and probation services, virtual hearings and our case management software. I enjoy the challenging and rewarding work of resolving conflicts in our neighborhoods, as well as the rehabilitation and restoration of our community, on a case-by-case basis. Previously, I was our mayor and the first known Chinese-American mayor in Colorado history. I served on our city council for over 10 years. I’m honored to continue to serve my community in the best way I can envision.

What would you say are your most important qualifications for the office you’re seeking?

Our elected judge has the unique challenge of being judge and managing a major branch of our local government. Our judge requires a deep understanding of our community, the law and of people. My experience with people, recent innovations to our justice system, legal and business background, as well as leadership on our city’s council and budgets, have prepared me to best-meet our community’s needs into the future. I’m an experienced attorney and operated my local law firm and family business before becoming our judge. I earned my Bachelor’s from Cornell University and my Juris Doctor from the University of Denver.

If retained, what would be your priority in office?

Our legal system should serve us by fairly and efficiently resolving conflicts in our community, minimizing confusion and intimidation and ensuring personal responsibility. When appropriate, we must deter and punish crimes in our neighborhoods, while always upholding the dignity of all. I have implemented “Justice with Dignity for All” as our court’s mission with help from our amazing team. We strive to our values of being accountable, impartial, respectful and welcoming. We work to ensure our goals of safeguarding individual rights, enhancing public safety, promoting rehabilitative and restorative opportunities, collaborating with community partners and providing efficient, effective and fair service.

What in your view is the greatest single issue facing Englewood and how would you address it?

From our court’s perspective, trust in our local judicial branch of government. People are exponentially more likely to have interactions with a municipal court than any other type of court so we have a unique opportunity locally to make a lasting impression on our community to ensure trust in our judicial system to ultimately increase voluntary compliance and public safety. Recently some feel that the ideals of equal justice have eluded them, so we must continue to ensure that our decisions are free of bias and help build a more universal faith in our court and system of justice.


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