Adams County Commissioner District 1: Lightly contested AdCo commish race could have effect on Aurora-area development

While it’s a county commissioner district centered on Thornton and not Aurora, voters who live in Aurora still need to pay attention to Adams County Commissioner District 1. The county is home to several key Aurora developments.

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Eva Henry vs Alexander "Skinny" Walker

While it’s a county commissioner district centered on Thornton and not Aurora, voters who live in Aurora still need to pay attention to Adams County Commissioner District 1. The races pits incumbent Democrat Eva Henry against Republican Alexander “Skinny” Winkler. Henry is a familiar face to local voters, having won her first term as a commissioner four years ago after previously serving on Thornton City Council. After years of scandal plagued the commission, county voters restructured the board four years ago. Now, instead of three commissioners, there are five. And every county voter gets to cast a ballot in each race, regardless of where they live. While only about 50,000 people live on the Aurora side of Adams County — which includes everything north of East Colfax Avenue — the county is home to several key Aurora developments. Those projects include the Gaylord Rockies Hotel and Conference Center, the Anschutz Medical Campus and the oft-delayed Veterans Affairs Hospital adjacent to Anschutz.

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By BRANDON JOHANSSON, Staff writer

Lightly contested AdCo commish race could have effect on Aurora-area development

Centered around Thornton, Adams County Commissioner District 1 doesn’t touch Aurora.

With a southern edge that only reaches as far as 88th Avenue, the county’s smallest geographic district doesn’t come that close to Aurora, either.

Alexander Skinny Winkler
Alexander “Skinny” Winkler

But because the county’s five commissioners are now elected on an at-large basis, Aurora voters will get their say in who will represent the district and make decisions in a county that is home to some of Aurora’s most meaningful construction projects.

Incumbent Democrat Eva Henry is seeking a second term representing the district and is facing off against political newcomer Alexander “Skinny” Winkler.

Henry, a former Thornton city councilwoman, said her time in that role has given her a unique perspective when it comes to the relationship between the county and the various municipalities in Adams County.

Eva Henry
Eva Henry

“Working together to find solutions is the only way to improve the relationship between Adams County and Aurora,” she said.

Only about 50,000 of Aurora’s more than 350,000 residents live on the Adams County side of Aurora, which includes anything north of East Colfax Avenue.

But while it doesn’t have the population that the Arapahoe County side of Aurora does, the Adams County side of town is increasingly home to some of the most important projects in the city. One is the booming Anschutz Medical Campus, which is already home to University of Colorado School of Medicine, University of Colorado Hospital and Children’s Hospital Colorado. A new Veterans Affairs hospital is also being built near the campus, and officials are working on plans to redevelop a massive chunk of land north of Anschutz.

Adams County is also home to the vast swaths of Aurora prairie near Denver International Airport — land that local leaders have long been itching to develop.

Already, that area is home to the under-construction Gaylord Rockies Hotel and Convention Center.

Henry said that project, as well as agreements on how to develop other land near the airport, are a sign that the once-frosty relationship between Aurora and Adams County is thawing.

“We have already had great success in projects like the DIA agreement and bringing the Gaylord project to the area,” she said. “It’s projects like these that we work on together that will continue to improve the relationship between Adams County and Aurora.”

Winkler did not respond to requests for comments and his website doesn’t include much in the way of policy.

Winkler lives in Northglenn with his wife and three daughters. He said he came to Colorado to attend University of Colorado and ended up staying. He’s a musician and runs a production company in Northglenn.

Henry is a familiar face for Adams County voters. Before being elected to her seat on the Board of County Commissioners four years ago, Henry served on the Thornton City Council. A single mother who grew up in Adams County, Henry lives today in Thornton near the home she grew up in.

In a county where the same handful of faces tend to pop up in local races, Alexander “Skinny” Winkler is an anomaly. The Northglenn man is making his first run at elected office. Outside of politics, he lives in Northglenn with his wife and daughters and runs a video production company there.

What makes you the most-qualified candidate? I raised my children in Adams County. Most of those years I struggled financially as a single mother. I know what it takes to put dinner on the table and a roof over a families head. I am uniquely aware of what a lot of our families are going through during hard economic times.

I have experience in balancing a municipal budget of $184 million with a 20 percent reserve during one of our country’s worse economic times in history. I currently represent over 480,000 people, balance a $484 million budget with over a 30 percent reserve and manage over 1,800 employees.

As commissioner, what steps would you take to improve the relationship between county administration and the various municipal governments in Adams County? Having been a city council member, I understand the challenges a lot of our cities have. The last 3 ½ years I have partnered with our municipal leaders on various projects and committees. I sat at the negation table with Aurora’s mayor and several other county municipalities to negotiate the DIA agreement with Denver. I sit on the Denver Region Council of Government with Aurora Councilman Bob Roth and 57 other local government leaders to work on the region’s transportation needs. Currently, Adams County and Arapahoe County are working together to find solutions on the opioid epidemic that so many suburban communities are plagued with. Adams County, Arapahoe County and Aurora are working together to make sure that when our VA hospital opens we are ready to provide the services that our veterans will need, like affordable housing and employment.

I will continue to reach out to our municipalities to work on regional projects similar to the projects we are already working on together. The only way we will be able to provide the best service to our communities is to work together to find solutions.

Now that Aurora has largely scrapped its efforts to become a city and county, how do you see the relationship between Aurora and Adams County changing in the coming years? Working together to find solutions is the only way to improve the relationship between Adams County and Aurora. We have already had great success in projects like the DIA agreement and bringing the Gaylord project to the area. It’s projects like these that we work on together that will continue to improve the relationship between Adams County and Aurora.

Considering the rapid growth in Aurora near Denver International Airport — including the Gaylord Rockies hotel project and proposed Aerotropolis — does the board of commissioners need more representation from Aurora? I would like to encourage the citizens from Aurora to volunteer and apply for the various boards and commissions that the county has. It is a great way to represent the community you live in.

What should the county do to increase available water for development and reduce wells in the aquifer? We live in a very strong local control state. The county has 35 water districts that are controlled by citizen boards. Any new development has to have the approval of those water districts before they can build. The county has no control over the decisions regarding water usage. However, the county could encourage water conservation in any new development.

Did not respond.

What food do you hate most? Liver.

Do you indulge in recreational marijuana? No.

Who would play you in a movie about your life? Shelly Long.

What Olympic Sport do you wish you could win gold at? Swimming.

What was your favorite childhood candy? All candy.

If you could be an eyewitness to one event in history, what would it be? 1848 Seneca Falls Convention.

If the Secret Service gave you a code name, what would it be? Invisible.

If you had to sing karaoke, what song would you sing? Car karaoke counts. “Shake it Off”

What epitaph would you like written on your tombstone? “Hope has two beautiful daughters; their names are Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are, and Courage to see that they do not remain as they are.” — St. Augustine

Is a hot dog a sandwich? No.

What is the last concert you attended? Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.

What movie do you never tire of watching? “The Big Chill”

Dogs or cats? Both.

What’s the most overrated thing about living in Colorado? Marijuana.

Did not respond.

Congressman Ed Perlmutter

Congressman Jared Polis

DNC Member Mannie Rodriguez

State Senator Jessie Ulibarri

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Former State Representative Judy Solano

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Former State Representative Jenise May

Former State Senator Joyce Foster

Former State Representative Polly Baca

Former Councilmember Deb Holen – Aurora

Councilmember Bob Roth – Aurora

Councilmember Bob Fifer – Arvada

Mayor Dick McLean – Brighton

Councilmember Joan Kiss – Brighton

Former Councilmember Cynthia Martinez – Brighton

Councilmember Kirby Wallen – Brighton

Councilmember Lynn Baca – Brighton

Former City Councilmember Wilma Rose – Brighton

Former City Councilmember Bob Gaiser – Broomfield

City Councilmember Jadie Carson – Commerce City

Former City Councilmember Jim Benson – Commerce City

Mayor Pro Tem Rene Bullock – Commerce City

Councilmember Steve Douglas – Commerce City

Councilmember Andrew Amador – Commerce City

Mayor Joyce Downing – Northglenn

Councilmember Kyle Mullica – Northglenn

Councilmember Jordan Sauers – Northglenn

Former Councilmember Leslie Carrico – Northglenn

Former City Councilmember Susan Clyne – Northglenn

Denver Councilmember Robin Kniech – Denver

Former Councilmember Susan Shepard – Denver

Councilmember Val Vigil (former State Representative) – Thornton

Former City Councilmember Lynne Fox – Thornton

Former City Councilmember Eric Tade – Thornton

Former City Councilmember JJ Dove – Thornton

Mayor Pro Tem Eric Montoya – Thornton

City Councilmember Sam Nizam – Thornton

City Councilmember Mack Goodman – Thornton

City Councilmember Josh Zygielbaum – Thornton

Mayor Herb Atchison – Westminster

Former Councilmember Bob Briggs – Westminster

Councilmember Anita Seitz – Westminster

Councilmember Emma Pinter – Westminster

Mayor Pro Tem Alberto Garcia – Westminster

Councilmember Maria De Cambria – Westminster

Councilmember Shannon Bird – Westminster

Councilmember Sharon Tessier – Broomfield

Mayor Daniel Dick – Federal Heights

Mayor Pro Tem John Hamlin – Federal Heights

Councilmember Ted May – Federal Heights

Former Councilmember Tom Quinn – Lakewood

Mayor Christine Berg – Lafayette

Adams Co Commissioner Chaz Tedesco

Adams Co Commissioner Steve O’Dorisio

Adams Co Coroner Monica Broncucia-Jordan

Arapahoe Co Commissioner Bill Holen

Arapahoe Co Commissioner Nancy Jackson

Jefferson Co Commissioner Casey Tigh

Former BOE Adams 14 Larry Quintana

BOE Connie Quintana Adams 14

BOE Five Star Dist 12 Kathy Plomer

BOE Dist 50 Ken Ciancio

Aaron Herrera, Business Owner – Unincorporated Adams

Don Lambuth, Business Owner- Denver

Ron Lang, Business Owner- Thornton

Barb Lambert, Business Owner – Brighton

Cindy Marlowe Business Owner – Thornton

Richard McCutchen Business Owner – Brighton

Working Families of Pipefitters Local 208

Working Families of Sheet Metal Workers

Working Families of Communication Workers of America, 7777

Former Councilmember Chris Dittman – Westminster

Former Councilmember Chuck Stevenson – Thornton

Gary Jackson Retired Pipefitter

Jason Waldrop – Sheet Metal Worker International Assoc

Jessy Briton Hamilton – Teacher Dist 14 – Thornton

Greg Duran

Norma Frank – Business Owner Unincorporated

Kelly Wiedemer

Teri Robnet

Former Councilmember Sharon Richardson – Federal Heights

Ed Sutterfield – Business Owner Westminster

Rick Reigonborn – Retired Adams County Deputy – Unincorporated

Harvey Lovato Retired CDOT

Bev Bishop

Jill Kaplan

Lila Pedroza

Michael Scanlon – Business Owner Commerce City

Antonio D’Lallo – Homeless Liaison Dist 12 – Thornton

Chris Kemm – Basketball Coach Mapleton Dist 1- Northglenn

Lori Goldstein – Teacher Dist 12 – Westminster

Peggy Gonder – Business Owner Westminster

Rudy Gonzales – Community Activist

Tim Thom – Business Owner Unincorporated

Conservation Colorado

55,000 members and their families of the Denver Area Labor Federation

Working Families of  the Plumbers Local 3

 Other endorsements

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