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Separate From the Pack

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The countdown to Election Day is on. Though Denver voters' options are many, their choices are few when selecting the city's next visionary leader.

No matter the neighborhood, I hear one consistent question on the campaign: "What separates you from the pack?"

I know that being the next mayor will not be an easy job. Our next mayor will face many challenges in leading our community to a better and stronger future. Our next mayor will need to make tough, and at times, unpopular decisions. But our next mayor will need to make the right decisions, even in the middle of a political campaign.

Our next mayor will need to be an honest and forthright leader, with the courage and candor to address our city's issues head-on. Because our next mayor will have to hit the ground running with 45 days from inauguration to balance our $100 million budget shortfalls.

What separates me from the pack? I know what it takes to overcome challenges, to turn tragedy into triumph and to create new opportunities. I'm the youngest of 10 kids raised by a single mom. We grew up poor in some of Denver's roughest neighborhoods, but we always had each other, and we never gave up. My upbringing taught me tenacity and perseverance in the face of adversity.

I have spent my life fighting to make Denver a better city for all of us. Formerly the CEO of Denver's Urban League affiliate, I have created and driven nationally recognized job training programs. Partnering with large employers like AT&T and Comcast, we trained young men and women for high-tech jobs.

Most importantly, I am an experienced leader who is tested and ready to tackle Denver's challenges the first day on the job. For the past eight years, I have been the City Councilman for District 11, serving two terms as the City Council president, working to lead Denver through two recessions. I worked closely with Mayor John Hickenlooper to close budget shortfalls of $350 million and have pushed innovative ideas through Denver city government to drive our city forward.

I have fought relentlessly for a better and stronger Denver. I lead the fastest growing district in the city, helping to pave the way for the multimillion-dollar Stapleton and Northfield developments. I have worked to help businesses maneuver city regulations, build new recreation centers, preserve hundreds of acres of open space and parks and bring overdue resources and attention to our failing schools.

I have a comprehensive plan for Denver that will strengthen our economy, eliminate the city's budget deficit and create opportunities for all Denver kids -- together. I will never give up fighting for every family and every neighborhood, because we are all Denver, and no one should get left behind.

My administration will foster an open-door policy, consistently encouraging public involvement in an effort to achieve our collective goals as a city and community. I want the people of Denver to know where I stand on issues that matter to them, and ultimately, how we plan to solve our challenges.

We will continue this discussion on my Huffington Post blog about the questions I receive throughout the campaign and our answers to your specific concerns.

Please post comments here or send me a message on Facebook or Twitter.