2023 Denver mayoral race: Candidate Trinidad Rodriguez shares his platform

Posted at 3:03 PM, Feb 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-22 15:48:08-04

Trinidad Rodriguez was raised in West Denver. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts. From 2013 to 2021 Rodriguez worked at D.A. Davidson as senior vice president and managing director. Additionally, he serves on Metropolitan State University’s board of directors.

According to city data, Rodriguez qualified for Denver Fair Elections Fund. At the start of February, he received $121,767.65 in campaign funding. Fair Elections Fund contributions account for more than half of that.

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

"Once again my daughter, my wife, and I are reeling for our fellow East Angels and East High community. Our thoughts are especially with the deans and their families. How many people have to be lost, harmed, or traumatized for us to stop it? Our students have spoken at our state Capitol and we all must respond to their clear call to action. This is one of the many reasons our city must wrap its arms around our youth to ensure they are safe and supported so they can focus on learning."

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

2023 Denver mayor race: Candidate Trinidad Rodriguez shares his platform

Tony Kovaleski: Introduce yourself. Tell us your story.

Trinidad Rodriguez: Thank you for having me and thank you for covering the mayoral race. I'm born and raised in West Denver by a hard working single mom. We faced some challenges along the way: housing insecurity, mental health challenges, we even confronted violence. But Denver helped us through the tough times. That's why I wanted to pay it forward. And so when I was starting my career here, 25 years ago, I decided to — in finance — I decided to serve our community the entire time, by serving the city's most efficient and important civic and nonprofit organizations, where my financing built affordable housing communities, and schools and clinics and hospitals. And that really sets me apart from the other candidates.

Tony Kovaleski: Let's go to our first question. Our 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.

Trinidad Rodriguez: Most important is housing, then crime, transportation, and you had 4?

Tony Kovaleski: Four was homelessness.

Trinidad Rodriguez: Oh, sorry, yeah, homelessness. So, sorry, No. 1 is homelessness, housing, crime, transportation.

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Tony Kovaleski: OK. And then the follow-up to that, based upon your No. 1 priority, which you said is homelessness: What is your pledge to voters on how you will address it? And how would that be different from your opponents?

Trinidad Rodriguez: Yeah, it needs a new approach today. And my plan, the first step of my plan is to declare a state of emergency on people living unhoused on our streets, and to bring a compassionate solution that actually treats the medical challenge that many people living on our streets face. And that is creating more pathways to treatment, so people can heal their medical challenges, including involuntary commitment, which is really a point of compassion for people who are struggling with mental health disorders, and substance use disorders.

Tony Kovaleski: Next question. Like many cities, Denver has many financial needs. If elected, what would you prioritize and where would you trim?

Trinidad Rodriguez: The first financial investments I'll make are in housing, or excuse me, in homelessness and in crime, and in fighting crime, in public safety. Those will be temporary, those will require temporary cuts, because our police force is far too small, and I talked about needing new solutions for homelessness. So, there will be temporary cuts elsewhere in the budget. My view is that there are a lot of things we can do much more efficiently including using volunteerism in our community to supplement the really good work our city teams already do. I've seen it work in many places across the city.

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

Trinidad Rodriguez: Yeah, the city and my team — building and investing in teams has been a key part of my success in my 23-year career in finance. And that is something I really look forward to. Valuing difference is a way to think about leading the city from that place of inclusion, and I've seen it work on all the teams I've been on to deliver results. Better, faster, higher quality.

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 would that relationship look like?

Trinidad Rodriguez: Yeah, I'm excited about working with our new council. Working together, I think we as a city can cover way more ground to get my vision for the future of Denver. And that means collaboration on a level that our city hasn't seen for some time. Every person in that dais needs to be able to contribute to the conversation, because they each bring a really important valued voice to the discussion. That means teamwork, rather than opposing teams.

Tony Kovaleski: There are 16 other names on this mayoral ballot. If you could ask one candidate one question, who is it? And what is that question?

Trinidad Rodriguez: Show how you've given of yourself to our city.

Tony Kovaleski: Which candidate?

Trinidad Rodriguez: Oh, which candidate? Sorry.

Tony Kovaleski: You've got 16 opponents.

Trinidad Rodriguez: Well, that was a universal question. But I'll choose Chris Hansen. Why is your — talk about your service to the city. Where you gave of yourself. And how you did that. And what outcomes that led to. And not something you got compensated for.

Tony Kovaleski: What is the last book you read and why? And what do you do for fun?

Trinidad Rodriguez: The last book I read was "The Least of Us" by [Sam] Quinones. And it unearthed harrowing realities about the current version of addiction in our country, that's flooding our country. And what I do for fun is I ride my bicycle as much as I can for whatever purpose, whether it's going to the grocery store or going to a meeting or dinner with friends or going to the office.

Tony Kovaleski: We're now to closing statements, look into the camera and tell the voters what you want them to know.

Trinidad Rodriguez: Absolutely. I want you to know about my background and passion in serving Denver. Being born and raised in West Denver by a single mom, going on to serve the organizations that actually helped me and my mom through some of our toughest times, either as a board leader or in securing financing for them. And then to finally go on to dream a big dream and have a big vision of building a city where everyone, regardless of the neighborhood they're in, can go on to their version of success. And that's the city we can and will build.

Editor’s note: This transcript has been edited to include the correct name of the author of The Least of Us.