2023 Denver mayoral race: Candidate Aurelio Martinez shares his platform

Posted at 2:59 PM, Feb 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-22 19:45:55-04

Aurelio Martinez is a former boxer and business owner who grew up in Denver’s Five Points neighborhood Curtis Park. Martinez says “the city of Denver is broken,” and he’s running to “bring back beauty and greatness.”

According to city data, Martinez qualified for the Denver Fair Elections Fund. At the start of February, he had received $7,484.98 in campaign donations, none of which is from the Fair Elections Fund.

March 22 update |Response to the shooting of two deans at East High School in Denver:

Today’s shooting incident is unacceptable, as any violence in our schools!

DPS and Denver’s administration have to stop shifting the blame on guns, metal illness and weapons and look into the poor job they are doing in protecting students and faculty members.

Immediately, Denver has to stop wasting millions of dollars on programs that are based on reaction such as the ShotSpotter gunshot detection and focus on prevention. The money wasted in the ShotSpotter gunshot detection program can be better used by placing surveillance equipment at the perimeter of every public school.

And what’s this policy DPS has that allows a potentially dangerous student in school by simply doing a frisk and search every day?

Our platform and priority issues include providing opportunities for our youth.

Denver has lost its focus on positive solutions for our youth resulting in increased youth crime and violence rates. Previously, we were a leader in providing a “front-line” response by providing recreation, team sports, education and employment opportunities directly to our youth. These programs worked and were impactful toward decreasing youth violence in Denver. My administration will lead on this issue, not flip it to our over- burdened Community Based Organizations

Denver7's Chief Investigative Reporter asked Rodriguez about her plans if elected as Denver's next mayor. Watch their conversation or read a transcript below.

2023 Denver mayor race: Candidate Aurelio Martinez shares his platform

Tony Kovaleski: Introduce yourself. Tell us your story.

Aurelio Martinez: I'm a native of Denver, lived in Curtis Park Five Points area all my life. And I still do live there. I guess the reason I'm running is because Denver has a lot of issues that need to be fixed. And my main issue on the whole thing is we have to bring a little bit more control back into the neighborhoods, residents, people that work here, and small businesses. I mean, they have to have a say in what happens and they've been ignored for decades.

Tony Kovaleski: OK, first question. Insiders tell us the four most important issues in this race are crime, homelessness, housing, and transportation. Rank them from most important to least important and explain why.

Aurelio Martinez: That was crime, housing, homelessness, transportation? Well, obviously, I think the first one has to be crime, because crime has everything to do with all the other issues — they're intertwined. OK. And then we have to deal with the homelessness, which has become a disaster in this city. And from there, you go to housing. Housing is very big, and then transportation.

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Tony Kovaleski: So, based upon your No. 1 priority, crime, what is your pledge to voters on how you will address it that may be different from your opponents?

Aurelio Martinez: Well, I think the first thing we have to do is look at our Department of Safety. We have to get the police and the sheriff's department to do what they're there to do to protect and serve. But it's not easy, because recruitment in that whole division is very hard. No one wants to become a police (officer) anymore. So, No. 1, we have to put more money into the Department of Safety so that we can get better recruitment, we can get better training for the officers and they don't have to work long hours and stretch themselves. I think that's very important that we fund the Department of Safety so that it works effectively for the people that live here.

Tony Kovaleski: Next question. There are a lot of financial needs in Denver. If elected, what would you prioritize? And where would you trim?

Aurelio Martinez: Financial needs? Well, I can almost go anywhere. That can lead into housing – we have to get into making housing work. Basically, the four issues you just talked about — the housing, the homelessness, transportation and department — that has to be focused on more finance, more money, more budget.

Tony Kovaleski: Where would you trim?

Aurelio Martinez: Well, I'll tell you what, I would trim in the administration itself. There's a lot of positions in the current administration that are just, shouldn't be there. Just to give you an example, I think they have four administration staffs, four of them. And we have to redo the administration so that we can trim at that point and get better programs.

Tony Kovaleski: As you know, Denver is a diverse city. If elected, would you make a commitment to ensure your administration reflects the diversity of Denver? And if yes, how?

Aurelio Martinez: Well, yes, we would. But on that note, our administration is going to put the best people for the job. We can't have someone in there simply because they fit a quota of some type. And then we don't get the type of person running the proper departments. So that's No. 1. And we will make every effort because I'm convinced that we can find someone to have a diverse administration.

Tony Kovaleski: City council has the potential for a significant change after this election. How are you planning to work with the new council? And what will your relationship look like?

Aurelio Martinez: Well, I think we're going to have a good relationship simply because that's the kind of person I am. Things that I want to see happen in the city, things that I'm committed to change in the city and better in the city — councilmen have the same ideas, they have the same thing. So, it's not going to be what we're going to be battling against each other. I mean, I'm very good at working things out and we can make things work as long as it's for the betterment of the city.

Tony Kovaleski: If you could ask one other candidate, one question, who is it? And what would that question be?

Aurelio Martinez: Boy, that's a good one. I got 16 or more than that to talk about. I don't know. I think I'd ask one of your — maybe, maybe. Boy, that's a tough one. That's a tough one.

Tony Kovaleski: You've got some time to think about it. One candidate, one question.

Aurelio Martinez: You know, I'd have to go with probably Debbie Ortega, because she has the most experience as being an elected official. So I would, I would just simply ask her how will she change the direction of Denver. And this can go to all candidates. Because me, I'm not part of the status quo. Other candidates are. So how are they going to get away from that and can they?

Tony Kovaleski: This is trying to get inside who you are. What is the last book you read and why? And what do you do for fun?

Aurelio Martinez: Last book I read was "The Aztec Empire." And I just, because I want to know more about where I'm from and where I've come from, you know. On my father's side, we are Indians from Mexico, from Guanajuato, Mexico. So that was the last book.

Tony Kovaleski: What do you do for fun?

Aurelio Martinez: I train athletes. I train professional and amateur boxers. I boxed for 10 years of my life, both as a professional and as an amateur. And I like to give that back to the youth, the adolescents and the young adults, and teach them the trade.

Tony Kovaleski: Time for closing statements. You got a couple of minutes here. Talk to voters. What do you want them to know, as they're making this decision for Denver's next mayor?

Aurelio Martinez: That's an easy one. I want everyone out there to know who I am, what I stand for. Look at my background. I was a business owner at a very young age — 26 years old. I opened a business, very successful business, and business center. I was an IBM customer engineer before that. So, I just want everyone — that background will serve great in administrating the city because we have to make the city be not only profitable, we have to make it work for the people. And that takes knowledge of how to make things work, how to make it work, and that's going to be very good. The second thing is, like I mentioned before, I'm not part of the status quo, OK? Because it's just a matter of, you're not going to get the same with me, you're actually going to get someone in there that don't owe anybody any favors, don't owe special interest, don't owe developers, don't owe anything. My commitment is to the people that live here, the residents, the neighborhoods, the people that work in Denver, and also the small businesses. Small businesses have been forgotten. They're not — we need to help them. We need to help them succeed. They're the backbone of America. They're the backbone of Denver.