Jeffco candidates meet voters, discuss local issues at Golden forum

Sheriff candidates champion mental health services, emergency management plans

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With ballots hitting local mailboxes, candidates in multiple Jefferson County races hoped to make a lasting impression on voters during an Oct. 18 candidate forum.

The League of Women Voters of Jefferson County and Jefferson Unitarian Church hosted eight candidates across the six-county races for an event at the Applewood-area church. About 100 Jeffco voters attended to hear the candidates’ thoughts on affordable housing, election integrity, county finances and more.

County Commissioner candidate Lesley Dahlkemper, Clerk & Recorder candidate Amanda Gonzalez, and Jeffco Sheriff candidates Regina “Reggie” Marinelli and Ed Brady participated in an hour-long forum.

Afterward, Treasurer candidates Jerry DiTullio and Faye Griffin, Assessor candidate Scot Kersgaard, and Coroner candidate Annette Cannon briefly introduced themselves before concluding the main event in the sanctuary and hosting a meet-and-greet with voters in the gathering area.

Commissioner candidate Donald Rosier, Clerk & Recorder candidate Vicki Pyne, Assessor candidate Libby Szabo and Coroner candidate Matt Archuleta were all invited but didn’t attend.

The sheriff’s race

In the only head-to-head discussion of the night, Marinelli and Brady outlined their goals for the Sheriff’s Office, such as improving mental health services and wildfire mitigation and preparation.

Brady, the Republican candidate, has come up the ranks in the Arvada Police Department and has served as its deputy chief for the past eight years. He said he’s helped lead the department through several crises, including officer deaths and the pandemic.

Democratic candidate Marinelli, who’s worked at the Sheriff’s Office for 36 years across all the major divisions, said, “I’m not ready to quit yet … I want to stay and continue to work in the career I’m very passionate about.”

Regarding how they’d implement their priorities in their first 100 days in office, Marinelli said she’d focus on mental health services — for the residents patrol deputies contact, for the jail inmates and for JCSO employees. She added that she would emphasize training for deputies to increase their confidence and instill in them the expectations the agency and community have for them.

“We need to make sure that our deputies are street-ready,” she continued. “ … If we give them the training, the knowledge, the expectations, they can go forward with confidence.”

Brady also emphasized the need for mental health and addiction counseling services in the county jail, and helping reintegrate inmates back into society. He added how the national recruitment and retention crisis in law enforcement has impacted the services agencies can offer.

He added that before leading a group, one must learn how to lead individuals by supporting them and paying attention to their efforts and needs. Brady believed he’d done that by example at APD.

In their closing statements, both candidates asked the attendees for their votes and support. Brady felt Jeffco needs a trusted law enforcement professional as its sheriff who’d keep the community safe and prepare residents for the next wildland fire, saying, “I believe I’m that person.”

Marinelli stressed her experience with JCSO, describing how she “learned this agency from the bottom up” and knows all the issues within its departments.

“I can start working on those Day One,” she said.

jefferson, county, jeffco, election, candidate, candidates, lesley dahlkemper, donald rosier, clerk & recorder, amanda gonzalez, vicki pyne, sheriff, regina marinelli, reggie marinelli, ed brady, treasurer, jerry ditullio, faye griffin, assessor, scot kersgaard, libby szabo, coroner, annette cannon, matt archuleta, forum, meet-and-greet, jefferson unitarian church, league of women voters

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