18th Judicial District Attorney: Kellner vs Padden

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Amy Padden, left and John Kellner

Voters across the eastern and southern portions of the metroplex will elect the last district attorney for the 18th judicial district as it is currently organized at the polls next month.

Due to a new state law signed earlier this spring, Arapahoe County will be parceled out of the 18th, which currently covers about 88% of Aurora, beginning in 2025. Voters in Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln Counties will hire a new district attorney for the novel 23rd judicial district in November 2024. 

Until then, residents will see either Republican John Kellner or Democrat Amy Padden at the helm of the current jurisdiction that more than 1 million people call home.

Kellner, who started his legal career as an active duty U.S. Marine, has been with the 18th since term-limited Republican George Brauchler began his first term in the office in 2012. Kellner has spent nearly the past eight years as a chief deputy DA, primarily specializing in unsolved cold cases. Brauchler and several local Republican leaders, including the majority of the board of commissioners in Arapahoe County, have endorsed Kellner.

Padden has spent much of her prosecutorial career at the state and federal levels, working in the local U.S. Attorney’s Office under prosecutors John Walsh and Bob Troyer and at the state Attorney General’s Office. She’s most recently worked in the 5th judicial district along the central mountain corridor and in the south-central district, which covers Fremont, Chaffee and Custer Counties. She’s earned endorsements from several federal legislators, including Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, and a smattering of local officials, including the majority of the Aurora Public Schools Board of Education and Denver School Board Director Tay Anderson.

Padden beat out fellow Democrat and current assistant DA in the 18th Matt Maillaro in a primary contest in June. Kellner did not face a primary opponent.

Cash has flooded the race since the original primary contest, in which Maillaro raised more than $250,000. Padden currently leads Kellner on the fundraising front, with some $147,000 raised and $15,000 on hand, according to recent campaign finance filings. Kellner has netted nearly $112,000 in contributions, including additions from noted local Republicans such as Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock and former Aurora Mayor Bob LeGare. He’s only spent about $72,000 so far, which is nearly $60,000 less than Padden’s running tab.

Regarding how they would run the office, the two candidates have largely leaned into their respective roles: the outsider vs. the insider.

Kellner said he would rely on his standing experience in the office and with local agencies such as the Aurora Police Department to prepare the district for its impending schism in five years.

“I understand what is already provided by the counties where we work, and the services that we currently provide in-house in the DA’s office,” Kellner wrote in response to a questionnaire issued by The Sentinel. “This gives me a great perspective on where we need to spend our time to ensure the splitting off of the 23rd Judicial District is a smooth transition. To be clear – this is not a short-term problem. This work will dominate much of the next four years if it’s done right.”

He lauded Brauchler’s work over the past eight years and said he would expand on several of the diversion programs the office has implemented over his tenure, including those tailored to adults, juveniles and veterans.

Padden promised to bring change to the longstanding Republican bastion with a focus on addressing imbalance within the system.

“I have plans to address systemic inequities that are most suited to improve the justice system, including alternatives to incarceration, transparency, community outreach, and implicit bias training,” she wrote. “ … I would run the office very differently than George Brauchler … I believe that the position of DA for a district of this size should be one of management and interaction with the community, not keeping the most high profile cases for the DA.”

Both candidates have committed to increased transparency within the office, with Kellner promising expanded review of injurious incidents between police and residents, and Padden calling for a third-party audit of the office’s data.

“Not all police use of force involves a gun … That’s why I will work to expand this independent review to every use of force by an officer that results in any serious bodily injury,” Kellner wrote. “The public has a right to know when someone is seriously injured at the hands of law enforcement, and to understand the circumstances around that use of force.”

In a lengthy voter guide prepared by a new social welfare arm of the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition, the two candidates largely differed in their thoughts to proposed changes to law and policy.

While Kellner said he would not commit to shrinking the number of people sentenced to prison of jail in the 18th by a quarter in the coming years, Padden said she would. Kellner also said he would not decline to prosecute misdemeanor drug possession cases, and Padden said she would pass over pursuing such offenses.

Both agreed that they would not support reducing the state’s felony murder statute from a first-degree felony with a mandatory life sentence to a lesser, second-degree charge.

Meet Republican John Kellner

John Kellner

Republican John Kellner has been a prosecutor in the 18th judicial district for nearly eight years. Outgoing DA George Brauchler hired him to establish a new cold case unit specializing primarily in unsolved homicides. He began his legal career as an active duty U.S. Marine.

John Kellner policy questions

Over the next four years, how would you prepare the district to serve only Arapahoe County when the 23rd judicial district is created in 2025? 

This is an area where experience truly counts.  As a leader in our DA’s office right now, I know how our Elder Abuse unit works, where our Human Trafficking prosecutor sees most of their cases, and how the caseload in our domestic violence unit has evolved.  I’m familiar with the IT services our attorneys and staff rely on to do their job, and the support that our HR team provides employees.  I understand what is already provided by the counties where we work, and the services that we currently provide in-house in the DA’s office.  This gives me a great perspective on where we need to spend our time to ensure the splitting off of the 23rd Judicial District is a smooth transition.  To be clear – this is not a short-term problem.  This work will dominate much of the next four years if it’s done right.  That’s why we need a District Attorney who understands complex criminal prosecution, the high volume of cases we see in the metro area, and the administrative needs of the largest judicial district in the state.

The reality is that the next DA in the 18th Judicial District Attorney needs to prepare the district to serve all four counties in a new way.  The splitting of the 18th Judicial District and the creation of the 23rd judicial district will also mean that the Aurora Police Department will file criminal cases in three separate judicial districts, as parts of Aurora stretch from Adams County, through Arapahoe County, and down to Douglas County.  I have a relationship with the Aurora Police Department and can work with them to help find efficiencies in having to break down their department among three judicial districts.  

Finally, specific to Arapahoe County, many of our administrative services, human resources, IT support, and specialized prosecution units are based out of Arapahoe County but work in or help out in Douglas, Lincoln, and Elbert Counties.  This means we are less likely to need to create or move services into Arapahoe County, but we’ll have to carefully scale those operations in a way that doesn’t financially cripple the two judicial districts, but still provides a high level of service.  I see this as a top priority for my administration over the next four years, and having already worked in the 18th Judicial District, I will know how to approach the situation from day one.  

 

How would you run the office differently or similarly to the current district attorney? 

I have tremendous respect for District Attorney George Brauchler, and I’m honored to have his endorsement.  I’m very proud of the work we’ve done in the 18th Judicial District these last 8 years, but there is more to do, and being a member of the current office, I know exactly where there is room to expand on the great things Mr. Brauchler has done and have ideas on what we could do even better .  

For example, in the last 8 years, we’ve dramatically expanded juvenile diversion and created an adult diversion program.  I helped found the Veterans Treatment Court, and we’ve created specialty courts to help people recover from drug addiction, alcoholism, and get mental health treatment instead of simply being cycled in and out of our jails.  These have made an enormous impact in our judicial district, and more importantly, those successes have had a huge positive impact on the lives of the people who’ve been a part of those programs.  

As the next District Attorney, I will build on those successes and expand those programs.  I will also continue to move towards a vertical prosecution model, which we’ve already implemented in some units in our office.  Vertical prosecution means the same prosecutor files the charges, handles the case, meets with the defense, and takes the case to trial if there isn’t a resolution.  Vertical prosecution is important because it brings accountability – the same prosecutor that will hear from the defense attorney is also working closely with law enforcement.  They also hear the perspective of the judge and jury.  This helps ensure that when a decision to charge someone is made, it’s made with a better understanding and appreciation of the community’s perspective.  I will specifically utilize this approach to target violent crime and gun violence, which continues to impact Aurora in a disproportionate way to the surrounding areas.

There are also two additional areas where I applaud the great steps forward by current DA Brauchler, but I don’t believe we’ve moved far enough.  Those are the areas of transparency and community engagement.  As a DA’s office, we are currently the most transparent in the state of Colorado.  Reviews of police use of force are publicly available on our website for the public to read and scrutinize.  We also do more to provide data and information about cases that result in a prison sentence than any other jurisdiction.  But this isn’t enough.  In my first year in office, I plan to implement a judicial district wide data portal that will allow the public access to up-to-date information about who is being charged and with what type of charges.  We’ll provide information on how cases are resolving, and what those sentence outcomes are.  While our current effort at transparency provides information about who is being sent to prison, I want to expand that effort to the majority of cases that go through the 18th Judicial District: cases where defendants are receiving reduced plea agreements for things like substance abuse treatment and counseling.  

Finally, in the area of community engagement, I have tremendous respect for my predecessor’s willingness to always speak with and meet with members of the community regardless of whether or not we agree.  I’ve seen DA Brauchler have those meetings after an event has rippled through the community.  But this can’t be a priority only in moments of crisis.  Prosecutors and law enforcement need to be part of the communities they serve.  This means attending local neighborhood meetings, religious groups, school assemblies, local civic organizations, and public events.  We need to build relationships throughout the community so that when community members do have a concern they know who to reach out to and have a contact they can trust.  Building that trust in our community is the most important work I can do as the next District Attorney.

Briefly explain the circumstances and outcome of a case in which you served as a prosecutor that you believe best exemplifies your fitness to serve as the district attorney of the 18th judicial district. 

The tragic murder of Youn Malual exemplifies my philosophy as a prosecutor:  every victim deserves justice, even if the road is hard to get there.  Youn was murdered as he came home from work at 3am the night after Christmas.   He and his wife had fled violence in the Sudan and come Colorado as refugees and worked hard to build a life and live the American dream for themselves and their five children.  

Youn was brutally murdered steps from his front door because gang members wanted to kill a rival from another gang.  But Youn wasn’t involved in gangs.  He didn’t live a life of crime.  His killers mistook Youn for their target because he drove a similarly colored SUV, and just happened to come home from his overnight job at the wrong time.  His murder happened in 2011, but by the time I started the Cold Case Unit in 2013, no charges had been filed.  This was a massive case, with a huge and challenging investigation, complicated by some witnesses’ reluctance to speak with police.  But for me, the fight for Youn’s widow, Mary, and their children was worth it.  After working with the talented investigators on this case, we presented the case for indictment in front of the grand jury.  The grand jury returned and indictment, and over the next two years I pursued the complex litigation that goes with a massive and complex homicide prosecution with multiple co-defendants.  After a long fight, I was able to bring Youn’s killer to justice.

Over the years it took to pursue this case, I got to know Mary, and more than once she shared her gratefulness that we were taking on this difficult case.  Yes, it was long and frustrating.  Delays were hard.  She took time off work to be present in court.  As a Sudanese refugee, tragedy and violence were not new to Mary.  And I knew nothing I was doing would bring back the missing father and husband that would leave a hole in this family forever.  But showing her that we were willing to take on this difficult case to bring her husband’s murderers to justice meant a lot to me. The community is safer with the violent killers off the streets, and I hope there is some small sense of closure that the family knows the killers were brought to justice.  

I know that every case doesn’t end with a just verdict.  Too many families wait and never even see their loved one’s killer even charged.  But I will always continue to fight for our victims, and I have the skill and experience needed to tackle complex cases and ensure that the victims have their day in court.  

 

Amid increased calls for overall criminal justice reform, what new policies, if any, would you implement to make this judicial district more equitable for minority populations? 

The most important thing we can do as prosecutors is build relationships and trust in the communities we serve, including working with historically underserved communities.  No policy pronouncement is going to have any lasting impact if it’s made from the courthouse and doesn’t involve meaningful community engagement.  My focus is not on generating a catchy headline with some policy announcement that isn’t going to have a lasting impact.  I want to engage the community, the great organizations we have within our 18th Judicial District, like the Second Chance Center, and our local law enforcement to have tough conversations and create meaningful change in how we investigate and prosecute cases.  

Those conversations, though, have to be informed.  One of the biggest challenges we face is relaying the complexities of the cases we handle and the various possible outcomes into meaningful data where we can talk with the public about what’s really happening – what’s been charged, what hasn’t, and what the outcomes are on an ongoing basis.  People hear about cases that make the headlines, but people’s lives are impacted by crime that will never make the nightly news.  It is therefore just as important that we build relationships and reach out to victims and seek justice on behalf of people who also often feel left behind or ignored by the criminal justice system.

 

What new policies, if any, would you implement to bolster the impartiality or your office when reviewing lethal incidents involving local law enforcement agencies, such as when local police injure or kill suspects or bystanders? 

Our office has led the way in Colorado by developing a protocol for investigating officer involved shootings with an independent law enforcement agency, rather than having officers investigate their own coworkers.  We perform an independent review of each incident, and we post the results of that review publicly on our website.  We do this for every police shooting – regardless of who is shot, whether they are wounded or killed, and regardless of whether there is widespread community interest.  However, in my view, this isn’t enough.

Not all police use of force involves a gun.  As we’ve seen in far too many tragic and high-profile examples around the country, and sadly in tragic cases in our communities as well, of our friends and neighbors being seriously injured or even killed by police without being shot.  That’s why I will work to expand this independent review to every use of force by an officer that results in any serious bodily injury.  The public has a right to know when someone is seriously injured at the hands of law enforcement, and to understand the circumstances around that use of force.

Importantly, I am not in favor of some outside agency being responsible for that independent review.  I am running for District Attorney because I have the experience, passion and commitment to justice to make tough calls – not just on police use of force cases, but on all our cases.  Asking a neighboring District Attorney to review cases in our back yard only ensures that the voters in this judicial district will have no one to blame if they disagree.  I know there will be times people in this community disagree with a decision to charge or not charge someone. That’s fine. Those citizens who disagree should have a recourse.  They should be able to reach out and demand an explanation.  They should be able to ask tough questions, and then hold me accountable at the ballot box.  That can’t happen if all we do is pass the buck to someone further down the highway that doesn’t know or understand this community, and isn’t invested in it.  I will always be willing to make the tough calls and to stand by them, and I want to be held accountable for my decisions, not pass the buck to someone else for pollical reasons.

 

Do you believe the state’s recently passed criminal justice reform measure, Senate Bill 217, went too far, didn’t go far enough or provided an accurate update to the state’s law enforcement policies? 

Senate Bill 217 was a step towards greater accountability and trust-building in law enforcement. Some laudable changes include getting rid of qualified immunity, which was a legal doctrine created by the courts, not the legislature, that sometimes shielded government actors from accountability even when they had broken the law. The bill also mandated body cameras by more law enforcement agencies. Fortunately, using body cameras is something the largest law enforcement agencies in our judicial district started doing a few years ago, so they are ahead of the curve. Similarly, the ban on chokeholds is a good thing, but the bill could have gone further by providing resources and funding for additional non-lethal training. The reality is that I’ve seen a situation where an officer used a chokehold in a struggle while trying to arrest a man reaching for a gun in his waistband. The man was later convicted of murder (I prosecuted the case) and the chokehold may have saved the officer’s life. So if a chokehold isn’t authorized it’s important that officers have greater training in other nonlethal methods to subdue dangerous or violent people. 

Most importantly, Senate Bill 217 exempted state agencies from lawsuits for the unlawful use of force, leading many to correctly point out the state opened local municipalities to potentially expensive lawsuits but hypocritically shielded themselves. For a bill to truly be about “integrity,” it must stand on principle and not be afraid of debating the fiscal note.

I also think there is a tendency in government to say “well, we solved police accountability and look no further than SB 217 for proof.”  This shouldn’t be a one-time thing.  I’m proud that the Colorado District Attorney’s Council is training brand new prosecutors on implicit bias and bringing out perspectives of folks from different backgrounds in our initial Deputy DA training programs. These aren’t conversations that we should be done with. As a Chief Deputy District Attorney serving this community the last 8 years, I have the experience and relationships with local law enforcement to have these tough conversations and keep moving us forward even beyond SB 217.  

The lighter side of John Kellner

If you could have one superpower, what would it be? 

Unlimited access to Disneyland with my kids. 

What movie will you watch again no matter how many times you’ve seen it? 

Star Wars (any of them except the one with Jar-Jar…)

What did you want to be when you grew up? 

Indiana Jones, until I found out that archeologists don’t really do what he did.

What talent do you have that most people don’t know about? 

My 8 year-old says I’m a “Lego Master Builder.”

If you wrote a memoir, what would you call it? 

Married Up. Way Up.

What’s your favorite curbside guilty pleasure? 

In-N-Out Burger (animal style and coming to Aurora soon!)

What was the last book you read? 

The Name of the Wind. This is a reminder to never start a series of books when the author may never finish it.

Have you found any unexpected upsides to wearing a facemask during the pandemic? 

I can quietly sing along to music in the grocery store and no one knows it’s me.

What’s your favorite family tradition? 

Hot chocolate, the merry go-round, with my wife and kids at Zoo Lights in December. 

If you had a boat, what would you name it? 

A Reasonable Doubt.

If you could only listen to one song forever, what would it be? 

Hard pass. Just thinking about this question made terrible 90s songs start running through my head nonstop.

Which reality television show do you think you’d be best at? 

Top Chef.

What do you think needs to be invented more than anything?

More than anything in the world, my son wants to invent a machine that cleans plastic and trash out of the ocean. I want to help him do that. 

Meet Democrat Amy Padden

Amy Padden

Democrat Amy Padden has held a variety of roles in state and federal law offices in recent years, from the local U.S. Attorney of the Obama Administration to the Colorado Attorney General. She’s most recently worked in the fifth judicial district along the central mountain corridor in the south-central 11th JD, which covers Fremont, Chaffee and Custer Counties. She unsuccessfully ran for the attorney general’s post in 2018.

Amy Padden policy questions

Over the next four years, how would you prepare the district to serve only Arapahoe County when the 23rd judicial district is created in 2025? 

The 18th JD is the largest, and most diverse, judicial district in the state. I would be sensitive to the varying needs of the district and work closely with local elected officials, from whom I have numerous endorsements.  I have also been having town halls and community conversations (which I used as a virtual listening tour) with various segments of the community (my Republican opponent has not) and will continue that work as DA.  For example, a community’s approach to SROs in schools will vary from Aurora (where I live) to Douglas county to Lincoln and Elbert county.  

After the first term is over, I am the most prepared of the candidates to transition into serving only Arapahoe County.  I have plans to address systemic inequities that are most suited to improve the justice system, including alternatives to incarceration, transparency, community outreach, and implicit bias training.  I will continue to listen to local communities as we transition into the 18th Judicial District for serving Arapahoe County alone, because even within Arapahoe County, we have many different communities with varying needs.

 

How would you run the office differently or similarly to the current district attorney? 

I would run the office very differently than George Brauchler.  I have worked as a prosecutor at all three levels of the justice system:  At the US Attorney’s Office, the Colorado Attorney General’s Office, and two District Attorney’s offices, for both Republican and Democratic leaders.  And before I entered public service in 2005, I was a partner at a prominent law firm, where I served as the recruiting partner.  My leadership style has been formed as a result of all this experience, and I have spent much of my career mentoring more junior attorneys.  

First of all, I believe that the position of DA for a district of this size should be one of management and interaction with the community, not keeping the most high profile cases for the DA.  The DA is in charge of managing one of the largest law firms in the state, and simply cannot give that the attention it needs and deserves without being present, available, and accessible in the office and the community day in and day out.  

Second, it’s crucially important that the office be more transparent. I have committed to an outside audit of the prosecution data (and will make it publicly available to the extent allowed by law) so that we and the community know where we have issues with respect to inequities.  And I am committed to addressing those.  

Third, if we really want to make our communities safer we must reduce our recidivism rates and find ways to prevent crime, not just punish it after it happens.  I would do this by finding alternatives to incarceration for non-violent offenders, such as enhancing and growing our adult diversion program and ensuring it is equally available to all communities.  (I have heard time and time again that its existence is not well known within some of our marginalized communities, and that diversion is disproportionately offered to white defendants).  I have hands-on experience in developing and running an adult diversion program.

Finally, I would take the time and make the effort to mentor junior prosecutors, as well as to recruit a diverse workforce.  I have spent much of my 26-year career doing just that.  I’ve heard many stories that the line prosecutors lack real discretion in making charging decisions or in what kind of pleas to offer, which is both frustrating to them and to the defense bar, sometimes resulting in cases being forced to trial that could have been resolved with a reasonable offer (that the attorney assigned to the case wanted to give).  The attorneys in the office need to be trusted to be fair and must have the ability to take into account specific circumstances of each case.

 

Briefly explain the circumstances and outcome of a case in which you served as a prosecutor that you believe best exemplifies your fitness to serve as the district attorney of the 18th judicial district. 

I was a part of the extended team on the Boston Marathon bombing case, assigned to work with the government’s counterterrorism experts and ensure the government’s compliance with its discovery obligations relating to those experts.  I worked with these experts remotely from Colorado at first, but then was asked to travel to Boston to assist the team in person during trial.  While in Boston, I continued to work with these experts and prepared them for their testimony, as well as attended the interviews that defense counsel were permitted to conduct and was present during their trial testimony.

 

Amid increased calls for overall criminal justice reform, what new policies, if any, would you implement to make this judicial district more equitable for minority populations? 

I will use my prosecutorial discretion to better reflect the values of the community. We know that lock-them-up-and-throw-away-the-key mentalities do not work.  As explained in my prior answer, we need to focus more on addressing the root causes of crime and help break the cycles of recidivism.  I will also implement comprehensive implicit bias training to avoid the unspoken disparities that exist within the criminal justice system. I will have a community outreach team to encourage the faith community, community activist groups, the immigrant communities, and the community at large to help us further identify blind spots that I cannot find alone.

 

What new policies, if any, would you implement to bolster the impartiality or your office when reviewing lethal incidents involving local law enforcement agencies, such as when local police injure or kill suspects or bystanders? 

Senate Bill 15-219 required the inclusion of outside agencies in investigations such as these, which the 18th JD has accomplished via its CIRT team. While that provides more transparency and objectivity, I think that more needs to be done. Ensuring that there is increased implicit bias training is a great first step. I have favored the creation of a unit within the AG’s office to prosecute these cases, which would further eliminate any biases/conflicts (whether real or perceived) and provide uniformity among the 22 Judicial Districts around that state.  That would require a legislative change, however.  I will ensure that, in these cases, our processes are transparent and that we are in the community (rather than just at press conferences) discussing them to the extent allowed, at, for example, town halls.

Do you believe the state’s recently passed criminal justice reform measure, Senate Bill 217, went too far, didn’t go far enough or provided an accurate update to the state’s law enforcement policies? 

I supported SB 217, but we also need other changes, and I will work closely with the legislature (including the many legislators who have endorsed me) on those.  When I think about local tragedies, such as the death of Elijah McClain, I wonder about what would have happened had there been a co-responder program that sent mental health professionals to the scene -- particularly since all Elijah was reported to have been doing was acting strangely.  Elijah would likely be alive in such circumstances -- and just think of the trauma to the community and the family that would have been avoided.  We need to revisit other antiquated policing policies, like citizens’ arrest (which Ahmaud Arbery’s killers were attempting to effecturing). There is no need for these where everyone has a cell phone (as did one of the perpetrators in Ahmaud’s case, who filmed the entire thing).  There is a lot of sentencing reform that has been considered and much of which I would support, as well as making it easier to expunge records for non-violent offenses after a long period of time has passed and where there has been rehabilitation.  I will work tirelessly to help address disparities and inequities within our District.

The lighter side of Amy Padden

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

Invisibility.  I am a curious person by nature, and love people watching at airports and other places (pre-COVID of course).  It would be great to be invisible and be able to observe many things.

What movie will you watch again no matter how many times you’ve seen it? 

Serious movie: The Deer Hunter. My Dad is a Vietnam Vet (USMC), and this movie always pulls me in, even though I find it hard to watch.

Light-hearted movie: Love Actually. I like how the stories weave together, telling both real-life challenges of everyday people and less likely stories of prominent community figures.

What did you want to be when you grew up? 

A teacher, like my mother.

What talent do you have that most people don’t know about? 

I can run long distances (though not very fast).  I’ve completed many marathons (New York, Marine Corp, Chicago, and others).

If you wrote a memoir, what would you call it? 

Face to face with terrorists.  The most interesting part of my life, to date, is the work I have done on counterterrorism cases and at the federal supermax prison.  I have sat face to face (and questioned under oath) some of the worst of the worst, such as Terry Nichols, the 1993 World Trade Center bombers, and various “Narcos” and other gang leaders.

What’s your favorite curbside guilty pleasure? 

If you mean guilty pleasure take out, it would be from the Athenian on Iliff in Aurora.  Love their Saganaki (flaming cheese), although not quite the same when you get it to go.  That was the last place I ate before the stay at home order.

What was the last book you read? 

Less, by Andrew Sean Greer.

Have you found any unexpected upsides to wearing a facemask during the pandemic? 

It’s not necessary to put lipstick on everytime I leave the house.

What’s your favorite family tradition? 

Thanksgiving dinner.  I am the oldest of a family of four, and 10 years older than my youngest sister.  Thanksgiving is often the one time that we can reconnect.  I always make the apple pie.

If you had a boat, what would you name it? 

Counter surfer (after my Bernese Mountain dog that engages in that activity).

If you could only listen to one song forever, what would it be? 

Proud Mary (Tina Turner remake).

Which reality television show do you think you’d be best at? 

Shark Tank.  I think I’ve had some creative business ideas in the past, but never had the means to explore them further.

What do you think needs to be invented more than anything?

Cure for COVID.  (I would have said the common cold last year).