2023 Denver mayoral race: Candidate Renate Behrens shares her platform

Posted at 3:25 PM, Feb 20, 2023

Renate Behrens is from Germany and moved to Colorado in 2007. She’s a survivor of human trafficking and dealt with homelessness after coming to the United States, she told Denver7 in an interview. To get back on her feet, Behrens worked in the same homeless kitchen that fed her.

City data shows Behrens did not qualify for Denver Fair Elections Fund. At the start of February, she’s received $429 in campaign donations.

March 23 update |Response to the shooting of two deans at East High School in Denver:

This is a nationwide problem and phenomenon (and the world likes to do as Americans do!) that cannot be resolved by a mayor!

It is made by us, the society, when neglecting the natural human rights.

and no psychologist or psychiatrist can heal society.

Vote for me as Denver mayor, and I will create a totally new world, I promise, all the people make promises....

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

2023 Denver mayor race: Candidate Renate Behrens shares her platform

Tony Kovaleski: Introduce yourself. Tell us your story.

Renate Behrens: Hello, my name is Renate Behrens. Renate for Mayor. I would like to ask you to vote for me, because I am very down to Earth and in touch with the people who have some — most — problems here in Denver. I have done it all, I have had it all. I was homeless, I was human trafficked and everything that you could think of, you know. I do not speak very well — that's because I was not born with this language in my mouth. But I'm trying my best. I'm trying my very best.

Tony Kovaleski: Let me — and thank you for trying your very best. Let me begin with our 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.

Renate Behrens: I think the most important part is the air pollution, the pollution of any kind. And connected to that is transportation, public transportation. We do not have to talk about that, we just have to act right now. Public transportation should be free right now so that all the commuters leave their cars at home and have a relaxed ride to their job where they can work very efficiently. Now, see, I'm not stressed out. And their parking space, is — their parking places, we can turn into nice little gardens or producing gardens or even Colorado original vegetation. And I think — and I would even ask the homeowners to get rid of their grass into a real garden.

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Tony Kovaleski: OK, follow up question to your No. 1. Based upon your No. 1 priority, which was transportation, what is your pledge to the voters? And how will you address it that may be different than the other candidates on this ballot?

Renate Behrens: You see why I'm different. I'm almost like a "Purple Cow". Of course, I'm different.

Tony Kovaleski: But how would you address the transportation issue that might be different than the other candidates on the ballot?

Renate Behrens: Because I'm a fan of public transportation. I'm from Europe and we have a very good experience with that. And here in Colorado, we can learn from them. They have fantastic transportation systems. They are not all free, but they are on their way.

Tony Kovaleski: OK. Finances are critical for every city. Denver is no exception. If elected, what would you prioritize on the financial side? And where might you trim?

Renate Behrens: I don't know that I understand. But I think we, the citizens, we have to pay for everything. That's true. So, let's start at the gasoline pump. We have to pay more because we have to finance the air pollution. We have to ask the people who do the air pollution to pay for that. That's us, that's we the drivers, the drivers.

Tony Kovaleski: OK. As you know, Denver is a wonderfully diverse city. If the voters elect you as mayor, will you make a commitment to ensure your administration reflects the diversity of the city? And if your answer is yes, how?

Renate Behrens: My answer is yes, because we have so many choices, because all the nations of the Earth are meeting here in the United States, and we can learn so much from them, the good and the bad things. I prefer the good things and to make our country more livable, likeable.

Tony Kovaleski: In this election, Denver City Council has the potential for significant change. How are you planning on working with the new council and specifically, what will that relationship look like?

Renate Behrens: I hope it will be good. I think we all work together because we are in the same boat together. And there are so many other public problems we didn't talk about that we have to tackle.

Tony Kovaleski: OK. If you could ask one other candidate — you probably know there are 17 names: yours and 16 others on this ballot. If you could ask one other candidate one question, which candidate would it be? And what is the question?

Renate Behrens: I would ask Mr. Tate. Oh, he is for council. He is not —

Tony Kovaleski: Talking about the mayor.

Renate Behrens: I didn't think about any, any of my competition to ask. So, I don't know. I cannot say anything.

Tony Kovaleski: OK, that's fair. We can move on. This is a chance for the voters to understand a little bit more about you. What is the last book you read? And why? And what do you do for fun?

Renate Behrens: This book that's funny, that's the "Purple Cow." It's marketing. It's telling the reader how to be very successful. And they say you have to be different. So I have to be a Purple Cow. Look at me, do I look like a Purple Cow?

Tony Kovaleski: OK, and what do you do for fun?

Renate Behrens: I do some exercising for fun. I ride my bike. And I go into the gym every day and work out there. And afterwards, I have a sauna and that's my real fun. And then I like dining, dining, quality dining. I am very picky because I almost live vegetarian only. And I love the good stuff.

Tony Kovaleski: OK, very fair. Last moment for you here. Closing statement. Look into that camera and tell voters what they need to know about you as they make this critical decision.

Renate Behrens: Yeah, the voters, I am as low down as you. I was homeless and I do not have any income. I do not have any Medicare, no health insurance, no food stamps, no nothing. Don't you think that I know what's going on and how we can solve the problem? A person that was never in touch with the people, with us the people, cannot decide what to do. If you experienced all the lows, then you know much better and you may appreciate things better.