Here Are the Newly Elected Members of the RTD Board
Last night’s election was good for transit in cities that asked voters to approve funding measures. But don’t get it twisted: Republicans have baked anti-transit, anti-city stances into their party platform, and they now control the White House and Congress. For RTD, an agency that relies on some federal funding, the potential implications are troubling.
Here in Denver, there were no funding measures on the ballot, but voters did elect eight people to the Regional Transportation District Board of Directors.
The directors will help guide a transit agency grappling with how to serve a rapidly growing population. The RTD is building out a mostly suburban rail network with lots of park-and-rides, while fares are growing unaffordable for poorer residents. The local transit network in Denver proper, meanwhile, remains sparse compared to peer cities, and the agency’s budget is heavily dependent on a volatile sales tax. There’s a lot that directors can do to improve the system if they make good decisions.
Here is how the candidates fared.
Kate Williams: District A
Kate Williams ran on the platform of “more rides for more people” — more bus routes, running more frequently, and easier to reach by foot or bike. She’ll replace Bill James. Williams also said she will bring an equity lens to the board, shaped by her advocacy work for the elderly and the disabled.
Judy Lubow: District I
Judy Lubow squeaked out a victory in District I, where the main campaign issue was finishing the Northwest rail line, promised in 2004 by the FasTracks ballot measure, but never delivered. Lubow was the incumbent.
Natalie Menten: District M
Natalie Menten, an incumbent, describes herself as a fiscal hawk. She barely beat former District M director Dave Ruchman to gain a second term.
Claudia Folska: District E
Claudia Folska, who is blind, relies on the transit system. She kept her seat handily. We’ll see if her plan to market RTD better and her background as a pedestrian advocate translate to better transit and more walkable station areas.
Jeff Walker: District D
Jeff Walker, the incumbent, ran unopposed. A planner who works for Excel Energy, he’s been a director since 2011.
Doug Tisdale: District H
Doug Tisdale is the former mayor of Cherry Hills Village. A self-described “attorney, advocate, business leader, and nonprofit executive,” Tisdale ran unopposed. He’ll take over for Kent Bagley, who handpicked Tisdale as his successor.
Ken Mihalik: District G
Ken Mihalik also ran unopposed. Mihalik didn’t do much, if any, campaigning this year, but he did in 2012 when he was endorsed by the Douglas County Republicans.
Bob Broom: District F
Bob Broom is an Aurora pol who ran unopposed. A former city councilman, Broom says good public transportation is key for Colorado’s economic vitality.