Spotlight COlorado  

Have You Met?

There is a good chance that if you are attending a charitable event given by one of Denver’s well-respected non-profits, Denver Councilman at Large, Doug Linkhart, just might be there. That certainly makes sense since Councilman Linkhart is committed 100% to creating better opportunities for young people, improving the ability of adults to earn good wages and benefits, and creating safer neighborhoods.

Elected to the Denver City Council in 2003, Doug Linkhart serves as one of the city’s two At-Large representatives. Councilman Linkhart has been focusing on: Expanding opportunities for kids, creating better job opportunities for all residents, making neighborhoods safer by providing needed services to minor offenders, celebrating Denver’s diversity and global connections, and enhancing services and opportunities to our aging population.

Councilman Linkhart is excited and upbeat about what a global city Denver has become. Linkhart says: “Denver is a diverse city with many international connections. Many cities around the U.S. have used these qualities to help build their economies.”

Councilman Linkhart says he’s hungry for ideas on how the City can help create jobs and improve lives. Councilman Linkhart always makes himself accessible to Denver residents. As a “man of the people” he’s known to be kind, wise, and is a sympathetic listener. He welcomes your thoughts and questions. He is available by phone or e-mail at: or 720-865-8000.

Working at securing a better future for all citizens of Denver, City Councilman, Doug Linkhart is one of the city’s most visible and influential leaders. Linkhart has worked as a public servant at the state and local level for over 13 years to build a better home for all residents of the city and state. Councilman Linkhart says: “By working together, the elected officials, government agencies, nonprofit groups, business leaders, community leaders and citizens of our city have made Denver a great place to live. Let's keep moving forward!”

What do you love the most about the City of Denver? The people. What I appreciate most is the progressive, well-informed, can-do attitude that pervades our city. When there is a need people step up to volunteer, donate, attend meetings, speak out, raise taxes for a new program or whatever it takes to address the issue.

Is there someone you have always looked up to as a mentor? Certainly my father has always encouraged me to believe that there is no problem that can not be solved and no goal that can not be reached. He’s still proving this point, running marathons even after he turned 70.

What do you hope to accomplish during your time as a City Council member? I want to show that by investing in people we can create a better city. During my term the City has already increased our investments in early childhood education, schools and alternatives to incarceration. Next I am hoping to expand our efforts to create better economic opportunities and capitalize on the diversity of our population and global connections. Most of all I want to show that all of these investments pay off in the form of a better quality of life for all residents.

What are some of your favorite weekend activities? I spend all the time I can with my kids, who are 12, 14 and 16. We ski, go on trips, go to movies, clean house and do homework.

Councilman Linkhart, you are seen often at charitable events. All non-profits are worthy and do great work. Can you mention a few that have really inspired you, and why? The fact that Denver has so many nonprofits shows our interest in helping each other and changing the world. Unlike many who work in this arena, I like seeing new nonprofits form. They show that someone is passionate enough about a cause to start a new effort. There are too many great ones to mention, but most of my support goes to those that work at the grass roots level, particularly with kids.

What is your favorite Denver restaurant? I would have to say Strings, but mostly because of Noel and Tammy Cunningham’s great work to help people in Africa.

What state law would you like to see changed? TABOR, not because it requires public votes to raise taxes, but because it has resulted in Colorado being one of the lowest states in terms of investment in education, mental health, higher education, health care and many other areas.

What is the best part of being a Denver City Councilman? Being a Councilman At-Large means that I represent the entire city and can focus on citywide issues. I love the diversity of our great city and the many groups that focus on making it better.

What is the greatest problem our city has to deal with at this time? The long-term economic prosperity of our residents is eroding as we fail to keep up with the changing economy. Unless we invest in education, youth programs, job training, mental health and health care, our residents will continue to find it more difficult to make ends meet. I am currently working with the Mayor’s office on these issues by co-chairing an Economic Prosperity Task Force aimed at generating solutions to these problems.

What can we as citizens do to make this world a better place for future generations? There is too much at stake to stand idly by. People need to participate in our public processes and make a difference where they can. Probably the easiest place to make a difference for both ourselves and others is at the neighborhood block level. By getting to know your neighbors and working together, we can each create a better quality of life where it matters most.

What keeps you going during challenging times? My primary motivator is my desire to make the world a better place for my kids and others like them. What makes me optimistic are the successes of efforts all around us to make things better. For each problem we face, there are hundreds of solutions, most of which are already taking place in some small form. I love seeing the creative efforts of individual, government and community pursuits bear fruit.

What do you consider your proudest achievement? In my private life, it would be my three terrific children. In terms of public efforts, it would be my work with others in the State Legislature to create a 50% state child care tax credit for contributions to nonprofit and private organizations operating child care or after-school programs. In addition to child care agencies, groups like the United Way, Boys and Girls Club, YMCA and Colorado Children’s Campaign have benefited from the credit.

How do you envision the City of Denver 10 years from now? Ten years from now I see Denver as a shining example of how to maximize opportunities for all residents. Anyone who needs good quality child care, after-school programs and summer activities will have access, which will lead to improved school performance and a more educated, flexible workforce. People will also have easy access to health care, mental health services, substance abuse treatment and alternatives to incarceration for minor crimes. This will make our city safer and more prosperous. It will be easy to start and grow a business and adults will have access to job training and continuing education so that they can get and keep jobs that pay wages and benefits that meet their needs. We won’t have to worry about affordable housing and health care because people will have jobs that pay enough to live here. Art, culture and community activities will thrive because now more people can afford to participate. Best of all, the savings from our reduced need for social services, police and jails will pay for all of the above!

How do you want to be remembered? As a great father and someone who cared about people.

Doug Linkhart's Community Leadership & Involvement:

• Chairman, Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation, a coalition of Denver neighborhood associations, 1984-86

• President, Organized Baker Residents, a Denver neighborhood association, 1989-91

• President, Denver Association of Business Economists, 1988-90

• Advisory Board Member, Latin American Research and Service Agency (LARASA), 2000-2003.

• Member, Ethnic Studies Advisory Committee, University of Colorado at Denver, 2002-2004.

• Founder and Board Member, District 31 Community Service Fund

• Board Member, Urban League of Metropolitan Denver, 1991-1994

• Board Member, Colorado Hispanic Institute, 1992-1995

• Board Member, West University Community Association, 1986-88

• Board Member, City Club of Denver, 1989-90

• Member, Economic Development Committee, The Denver Partnership, 1988-90

• Participant, Leadership Denver, 1987-88

• Democratic Captain, Co-Captain and Finance Chair, 1989-93

• Columnist, Rocky Mountain News, Colorado Statesman, Washington Park Profile, Cherry Creek Local, La Voz, and other publications, 1987-93

• Member, Advisory Council, Colorado After-school Network, 2004-present

Doug Linkhart’s Current Council Positions:

• Chair, Safety Committee Member, Neighborhood, Community & Business Revitalization, General Government, and Economic Development Committees

• Chair, Crime Prevention and Control Commission

• Member, Goodwill Industries Board of Directors

• Member, DPS A+ Denver Commission

• Member, Mayor's Early Childhood Education Commission

• Alternate, Denver Regional Council of Governments

• Vice President and Board Member, Colorado Municipal League

• Member, Community and Economic Development Steering Committee of the National League of Cities

• Member, International Task Force of the National League of Cities

• Member, Colorado Municipal League Policy Committee

• Member, Welfare Reform Board

• Member, Denver Housing Action Plan Committee

• Member, Advisory Committee, Colorado Afterschool Network

• Steering Committee, Children & Youth Friendly Cities Initiative

• Member, Community Leadership Board of Mile High Montessori