7 vie for imminent Aurora City Council Ward II vacancy


AURORA | Seven candidates have applied for an expected vacancy for the Ward II City Council seat, according to city clerk officials. 

The names of six applicants have been released and one is still being vetted, a spokesperson for the city said Friday afternoon. The applicants are: Steve Sundberg, Ryan Ross, Robert O’Riley, Luke Kodanko, Robert Hamilton and Jessica Giammalvo.

Ross, a community activist who recently facilitated the city’s police reform task force, brings a resume with numerous community service citations, including honors from Denver Urban Spectrum, Denver Business Journal, Denver’s Mayor diversity award, 9News leader of the year and COBIZ Magazine.

He received his education doctorate and is associate vice-chancellor for Student Affairs, Equity and Inclusion for the Colorado Community College System. 

“Facilitation, teamwork, and communication skills are several of the talents I believe would add value to the democratic pursuits and processes of the council,” Ross said in his application. “Over the years, through education, professional work, and private consulting, I have developed an ability to assess, synthesize, and understand policies, procedures, and data. I believe in fairness, justice and view things with an equity lens. My understanding and approach to equity have brought tremendous value to metro and rural college communities across the state. I believe I can offer the same value to the City of Aurora and Ward 2 community.” 

Sundberg, longtime manager of Legends Bar and Grill in Aurora, currently serves on the city’s recreation and parks board, is chairperson of the Aurora Chamber Leadership Aurora Board and serves on the Pickens Technical College Culinary Advisory Board, according to his campaign website.

Sundberg, who is running for the Ward II seat in November, in addition to applying to serve out the term, has served as a Court Appointment Special Advocate and spent two years helping to establish a problem solving truancy court in Arapahoe County, he said.

He received a bachelor’s degree in speech communication from Colorado State University and a master’s degree in organizational management from the University of Phoenix, according to his website.

My family and I live in Aurora because of the quality of life here,” Sundberg says on his campaign website. “I have engaged in our community by advocating for children, supported schools, youth sports and countless fundraisers and non-profits.  On issues such as transportation and cost of living, my business experience and 20 years serving on non-profit boards, will lead to a practical, balanced approach to problem solving.”

O’Riley ran for the Ward II seat in 2017, earning 11% of the vote. Then a Denver Deputy Sheriff, O’Riley said he wanted to bring diversity to the council. The Spanish speaker lists on his LinkedIn profile that he also worked as a Transportation Security Officer, was a sergeant in the Marines for nearly a decade and earned a bachelor’s degree from Excelsior College and a Master of Divinity degree from Liberty University.

O’Riley served on the Aurora Veterans Affairs Commission for three years.

Kodanko is an information technology consultant, according to his LinkedIn page. He has a mathematics degree from SUNY Brockport and a master’s degree in information technology management from Colorado State University.

Giammalvo is an engineer, according to her LinkedIn profile. She has a physics degree from Stonehill College and a master’s degree from Colorado Technical University.

The opening comes after Councilmember Nicole Johnston announced her resignation last month. She intends to move to Colorado Springs, she said, for a job and to bring her family closer together. Her last day is slated for June 14.

Ward II encompasses neighborhoods in northeast Aurora, from Buckley Air Force Base to housing developments that neighbor Denver International Airport, Star K Ranch and the Colorado Air and Space Port. 

The city will now host a virtual reception for applicants in mid-June and a formal interview on June 21. A formal vote for the seat is slated for June 28 and the appointee will be sworn in during the July 12 city council meeting.


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21 days ago

Seems Steve Sundberg is the only candidate who had already filed to run for the position and was putting in the effort to earn the community’s vote. He’s running for the right reasons.

Since Johnston’s hand-picked replacement dropped out, the progressives scrambled to find a candidate hoping to enter this year’s election as an incumbent. They found their opportunists.