Why Colleen Zahradnicek Decided to Run For Office
by Emily Gerde
I had a wonderful conversation with Colleen Zahradnicek. Colleen has lived in Denver for 30 plus years, moving here as a child in 1984. Her parents moved here from northern Wisconsin for a better quality of life, and Colleen and her husband are raising their daughter here for the same reason.
She is a real estate agent and over the past few years, she has seen the availability of homes drop with the prices going through the roof. Hard working, middle-class people can barely afford to live here, with the average home in Denver now priced at over half a million dollars.
When she moved here in the 80s, Denver was a quiet little cow town. Over the past decade the secret of Denver has gotten out, and we have experienced an influx of people all wanting the amazing life Denver and Colorado can provide. But because of the lack of long-term vision of many city and state leaders, we have been unprepared for the growth. We now find the city playing catch up to accommodate everyone who is here.
Colleen sees this lack of vision in many areas including
- The lack of permanently affordable housing
- The increase in the homeless population
- Our ever-growing traffic combined with lack of resources allocated for innovative public transit.
“This is one reason why I am running for city council,” said Colleen. She wants to preserve the wonderful quality of life that brings so many here and keeps us all here. To do that we need to focus on the needs of the citizens.
We need leaders who aren’t afraid to stand up for what is right, even if it is difficult politically.
We discuss the current situation in Denver and how housing including tiny homes, yurts, ADUs (accessory dwelling unit) and other affordable housing can help move the community forward. We discuss how ADUs can help with population density and how it can help serve many of our professionals including teachers, firefighters, first responders, etc.
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During the interview, get into the specifics of how we can start helping people finance their smaller dwelling through public banking, which would allow money to stay in the community where people live.
Denver has a growing number of senior citizens. ADUs and tiny homes and other small dwellings can offer housing for them with less cost and maintenance.
We also dive into how getting involved in your local government can create real change. Colleen brings up some great ideas on how to make local politics more modern and accessible.
Colleen asks that you not only get involved in your local politics but more importantly…. Get to know your neighbors, even if it’s just introducing yourself and swapping numbers. It’s a start.
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Colleen talks about ways to improve the interaction between political leaders and their constituents.
We can’t wait to have Colleen on again to talk about green initiatives for the future of Denver and as an example to the state and nation.
Here’s where you can find Colleen:
Here is the program to help you get started in politics: https://emergeco.ngpvanhost.com/