Andy Rougeot, a former United States Army Officer and small business owner, says he's “fighting for Denver’s future.” Rougeot first moved to Colorado in 2011 when assigned to Fort Carson, and after deployment to Afghanistan, he returned to live in Denver.
According to city data, Rougeot did not qualify for the Denver Fair Elections Fund. At the start of February, he had received $786,151.96 in campaign donations.
March 22 update |Response to the shooting of two deans at East High School in Denver:
“Denver needs to put armed school resource officers back into our public schools immediately. They never should have been taken out in the first place. If the Denver Public Schools Board of Education doesn’t act on returning school resource officers to schools, then I will post a police officer outside every high school campus in a position as close to the school as legally allowed. I am the only candidate in the race promising to hire 400 new police officers to keep our city and our schools safe. Denver’s kids and citizens deserve better than what the political class has delivered and I will fight for Denver’s future relentlessly as Mayor”
Denver7's Chief Investigative Reporter asked Rougeot about his plans if elected as Denver's next mayor. Watch their conversation or read a transcript below.
Tony Kovaleski: Introduce yourself. Tell us your story.
Andy Rougeot: Hi, my name is Andy Rougeot. I'm a former Army officer, small business owner and a father who's running for mayor of Denver because I love this city. It's a city where I want to reduce crime, homelessness and the cost of housing.
Tony Kovaleski: First question. Insiders tell us the four most important issues in the city of Denver right now are crime, homelessness, housing and transportation. Rank them from most important to least important and please explain why.
Andy Rougeot: So, crime is currently the most important issue in our city. You look at statistics like your tripling of the murder rate in the past 10 years. The fact that we're one of the car theft capitals of the country. But it speaks to me as a dad, as a mom and a daughter that are driving home down I-25 south and street racers blow out their windshield as they're driving home from volleyball practice. Second-biggest issue facing our city is homelessness. We've seen almost a doubling of unsheltered homeless in the past four years. We need a mayor's action to enforce our camping ban to keep our streets safe and get the homeless the mental health and drug addiction services they need. Next issue is affordability of housing. We need to make sure that blue collar workers, first time homebuyers, young families can afford to live in our city. The final issue is transportation.
Tony Kovaleski: Follow up. You said your No. 1 priority would be crime. So, take that and address how you would handle it differently than the other 16 candidates.
Andy Rougeot: So as mayor, I will add 400 police officers to make our streets safer. I'll increase funding for police training so we can have higher quality police. I'll make sure we're properly funding our 911 system. So if you call, you don't sit there waiting on hold in one of the worst moments in your life.
Tony Kovaleski: A lot of financial priorities in many cities, including Denver, if elected, what would you prioritize? And where would you trim.
Andy Rougeot: So as mayor, I will prioritize the safety of the city. That means making sure we're properly funding our police department, make sure we're properly funding our homelessness services. I think we can cut spending in the city. Also, we are currently wasting $8 million on fair election funds, which is funding that's going towards candidates spending for our political campaigns. That's money that should be better redirected to making our city safer.
Tony Kovaleski: Denver is a wonderfully diverse city, as you know. Will you make a commitment to make sure that your administration reflects the diversity in Denver right now? And if yes, how?
Andy Rougeot: Yes, I will have a diverse administration because I will pull from the best and brightest throughout our city.
Tony Kovaleski: City council has potential for a significant change after this election. How are you planning to work with a new council? And what would that relationship look like?
Andy Rougeot: So as mayor, I will hold council accountable, just like I'll hold myself accountable. Unlike our current mayor and his failures, I will not pass the buck. I will say, "I own this responsibility of making sure our city is safe. I own this responsibility to make sure we're enforcing our camping ban. I own the responsibility of building more affordable housing." I think our council will respond well to a mayor who's saying, "I will take this. I will solve this issue," instead of passing the buck.
Tony Kovaleski: As you know, there are 16 other candidates on this ballot with you. If you had the opportunity to ask one candidate one question, which candidate and what is that question?
Andy Rougeot: So, ask one candidate, one question? So, I would ask... It's a very good question.
Tony Kovaleski: It's OK to take some time. You won't be alone here. But yeah, you've got 16 choices. OK. A lot of issues. Help us understand, who would you ask a question to and what would that question be?
Andy Rougeot: So, I'm going to cheat and say I'd ask all the candidates —
Tony Kovaleski: I'm gonna stop you. Others tried to do that. OK. So, I push back. Give me one candidate, one question.
Andy Rougeot: So, I would ask any of our current candidates who have held elected office in our city why they have failed to enforce the camping ban over the past four years.
Tony Kovaleski: That's fair. This is an opportunity for people to understand a little behind the scenes. What's the last book you read and why? And what do you do for fun?
Andy Rougeot: So last book I read was Winston Churchill's biography, covering his time during World War II. And what I do for fun is spend time with my daughters. I've got a 3-year-old and an almost 6-month-old. We love to go play in the parks. We love exploring the Children's Museum. But keeping those two active and happy is the key goal of my weekends.
Tony Kovaleski: So, we're gonna wrap up by giving you a closing statement. Look into the camera and tell voters what you want them to know about you as they get ready to make this decision.
Andy Rougeot: So my name is Andy Rougeot. I'm running for mayor to fight for Denver's future. I'm running for mayor because I love this city. It's the city where I settled down after I got out of the Army. It's the city where I'm raising a family. It's the city where I built a business. I want you to know that as mayor, I will enforce our camping ban to give the homeless the mental health and drug addiction service they need. I want you to know as mayor, I will add 400 police officers and increase funding for police officers to make sure they're properly trained to keep our streets safe. As mayor, I'll get rid of regulations that are increasing the cost of building housing in our city and fix a broken permit department. Know that as mayor, I will fight for our future and I'd love you to learn more at AndyForDenver.com.