Most young people in Denver can probably think of a few phrases more exciting than "mayoral election."
Unless you frame the upcoming race to replace now-Governor Hickenlooper in terms we can relate to.
This happens to be the specialty of nonprofit New Era Colorado, an organization founded and run entirely by young people focused on engaging their own demographic in politics.
According to New Era Executive Director Steve Fenberg, there are plenty of reasons for voters under the age of 35 to care about this spring's race. "The next mayor of Denver will be dealing with issues that have a day-to-day impact on the lives of young people in the city -- whether it's making sure there are jobs for students graduating from college, funding for public education, or enforcing renters' rights with their landlords," he says.
But because this election is mail-in ballot only, young voters might need an extra reminder to participate. Most of us don't own homes. We tend to change addresses frequently, and some of us have been known to forget about the snail mail. It's not that we don't want to care. We just need something to grab our fickle attention and help us feel invested.
It was with this in mind that a small crew wearing New Era tee shirts knocked on the door of each candidate, to film a video inspired by MTV's Cribs.
The video reveals the chores assigned to Michael Hancock by his family ("kitchen duty"), Chris Romer's energy meter, Doug Linkhart's rock collection, and the innards of Theresa Spahn's fridge (one beer, a gallon of milk), among other insights into each candidate's personal style (Romer's "Kennedy hair," for example, or Spahn's ability to deflect the interviewer's repeated requests to be appointed her number two.)
The moral seems to be that the candidates in this race are actual people, who will have an actual effect on the city's future and the experience of its residents, young and old.
If you like this video, you might also like New Era's "Candidate Survivor" debate, which will feature an in-person Q&A session with the race's top six candidates. The event, free and open to the public, is on April 6th at 7pm at Casselman's Bar & Venue in Denver.
Questions will be targeted towards the issues impacting younger voters, and candor will be encouraged through an American Idol-style voting system, with audience members texting in their feedback on each candidate's response.
At the end of the evening, one candidate will be declared "winner" and all candidates will hopefully leave with a deeper understanding and respect for the voice and needs of Denver's younger residents.
According to Fenberg, "The goal of the video and the debate is to make this election engaging for people that might otherwise not be paying attention."