AURORA | Ryan Frazier, 41, likes Taylor Swift’s music. He can speak elementary Mandarin. He doesn’t ever intend to jump out of an airplane. And he’s running for mayor of Aurora, again.
Frazier, who served two consecutive terms as an at-large city council member for Aurora in the early 2000s and made a run for U.S. Senate in 2016 and for for the 7th Congressional District against Congressman Ed Perlmutter in 2010, is back at it, hoping to secure the chief city lawmaker position this year. He ran for mayor in 2011, losing by seven percentage points to former Mayor Steve Hogan, who died last year.
The Aurora politician, who owns his own consulting firm, kicked off his campaign Saturday at Bethel Eritrean Church with a room full of supporters who cheered when Frazier talked about “Aurora on the rise,” the candidate’s campaign slogan.
Before getting into the meat of his campaign, he introduced himself with facts about himself: his affinity for top 40 pop, his career in the Navy that brought him to Aurora more than two decades ago and the basic Mandarin he knows.
Frazier said he chose the space because it represents him: a place of worship in an office building that hosts small businesses and non-profit organizations. Rounding that out is the fact that Frazier helped the church get into the space late last year. Church leaders who spoke before Frazier credited the former city council member with helping them navigate the red tape slowing their progress down. If it weren’t for Frazier, one church leader said, his campaign event wouldn’t have been able to be in that space.
There are good things happening in the city, Frazier said. But there’s more work to be done.
“I believe in Aurora. I believe in our people,” he said. “Aurora is rising as a city and this is our time. We can be proud of our city. We have tremendous opportunity ahead of us.”
Frazier told the crowd of about 60 Aurora is need of a clear vision and that his strength is bringing people together.
“Our greatest strength lies in diversity and inclusivity,” he said. “Look around this room. This is Aurora. This is America, and it is at the heart of what makes Aurora such an outstanding community.”
Frazier highlighted the need to improve education in Aurora, and while the mayor has no direct oversight over the two school districts that cover the city, he said there are some achievement gaps that vary between the school districts “that need to be addressed.”
Frazier co-founded High Point Academy, an Aurora charter school.
“As mayor I’ll make it a priority to work with our school districts and our charter schools to put more resources in the classroom for our kids, to pay our teachers better so that they can do the jobs we ask of them in terms of enriching the lives of our children and help them get the start toward life they need,” he said.
He also focused on improving educational opportunities for Aurora’s workforce, “if we partner with the state, if we partner with the feds, if we partner with the private sector, we can fund these programs to get more training to more people so they can get these jobs. And I’m talking about good paying jobs.”
Improving the city’s infrastructure and roads, a hot topic across the entire metro region, is also at the top of Frazier’s priority list.
“We’re going to put a lot of thought in working with our community across our city to find innovative transportation solutions that help people get where they need to go in a timely fashion and hopefully over time ease some the traffic in our community,” he said. “But at the minimum make the investment we need with our growing population.”