AURORA | Several Aurora residents have already filed for candidacy in the November 2013 municipal election to fill Aurora City Council seats.
Councilwoman Sally Mounier is the sole candidate in Ward I so far. Mounier was appointed to the Ward I council seat in October 2011 after former Councilwoman Melissa Miller resigned. Mounier works part-time for RE/MAX Southeast, a Denver-based brokerage firm where she’s responsible for real estate agent career development. She has been with the company for 20 years. In 2010, she was the Republican candidate for House District 42, and lost the bid for election to state Rep. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora.
Councilwoman Renie Peterson is currently vying against two Aurora residents to keep her seat as Ward II council member. Peterson was elected to council in 2008. “There are a lot of things happening in my ward that I would like to see completed,” she said. “I feel like I’ve been a true asset to the ward and would like to have the opportunity to continue.” Before 2008, Peterson, 58, worked for Aurora Public Schools as a family advocate. She considers her council member position to be her current, full-time job.
Aurora residents William Given and Bernard Celestin also filed their candidacy for the Ward II post. Given did not return a call for comment. Celestin, 56, has been a member of Aurora’s Civil Service Commission for four years. He is a U.S. Army veteran and a bus driver for the Regional Transportation District. If elected, his priorities would be transportation and transparency. “I’ve got a passion for the city and I really want to do my part in making the city become the best city in the United States,” said Celestin, who has lived in Aurora for 20 years.
Aurora resident Rhonda Woods filed her candidacy for the Ward III post, which currently belongs to Marsha Berzins. Berzins has yet to file for re-election. Woods, 34, is a legal advisor and has lived in Aurora for 15 years. This is her first run for political office, and she said her priorities include transparency, job creation and improving the city’s infrastructure.
Candidates for the at-large council member position include current Councilman Brad Pierce and Aurora residents Charity Cannon, Eric Nelson, PK Kaiser and Maya Wheeler.
Pierce is the owner of Aurora-based Bradley Pierce Legal Services and was elected to the council in 2003. He is past president of the Community College of Aurora Foundation.
Cannon graduated from Smoky Hill High School in 2004 and graduated from Pickens Technical College in 2010, according to her Facebook page. “There’s a lot of overlooked issues our city faces today that, if elected as your next councilwoman, I would bring awareness and fight to fix them,” she said in her public profile. Her priorities would include helping Aurora’s underprivileged population. She did not return a call for comment.
Nelson, 34, is serving his first year on Aurora’s Human Relations Commission. He is a professor at Colorado State University in the ethnic studies department. He has lived in Aurora for about 10 years and is originally from Georgia. “I want to make a difference within the city of Aurora to try and create and promote change and take the city to the next level,” he said. His biggest priorities would be boosting mentorship opportunities for Aurora’s youth and improving the quality of Aurora’s schools.
Kaiser has lived in Aurora for the past 10 years and immigrated from Pakistan. His parents are Indian. “I want to represent the culture and diversity in the city of Aurora,” said Kaiser, 46.
In 2010 and 2012, Kaiser ran unsuccessful bids for state Representative for House District 40. In 2011, he ran for Aurora city Council’s Ward VI position, the post that currently belongs to Councilman Bob Broom. He’s currently working as an auditor and will be starting a job as an accounting technician for the state of Colorado next month.
Wheeler, 42, works as a community outreach liaison for Denver-based Forest St. Compassionate Care Center, and helps families navigate the health care system. This is her first bid for elected office. “I decided to enter the race because I care about the city of Aurora and the direction it’s going,” she said.
Aug. 27 is the last day for candidates to file nomination petitions with the city of Aurora for the November election.
Reach reporter Sara Castellanos at [email protected]