Have You Met?

After recently serving as the President of the Denver City Council, Rosemary Rodriguez still has a full and active career as the Denver Councilwoman from District 3 in West Denver.

Councilwoman Rodriguez has lived in West Denver her entire life, and she is now addressing such issues as graffiti - by working with “Keep Denver Beautiful” to get the graffiti removed promptly, enforcing codes - such as cruising and adhering to noise ordinances, alley paving, housing assistance, and health care.

Rosemary is committed to the principles of community service and making important contributions now - as well as ones that will leave her neighborhood and city with a better future for generations that follow.

Councilwoman Rodriquez emphasizes: “I want to bring together all of the neighborhoods and hear their concerns and find some common ground, as well as identify problems that need to be addressed immediately.”

Rosemary Rodriquez has held several other key positions with the City of Denver; and she has an admirable list of accomplishments. She is the co-founder of the Colorado Hispanic League and has been recognized for her leadership with numerous awards such as: the “Cesar Chavez Leadership Hall of Fame Award”, the Mile High Girl Scouts “2005 Woman of Distinction Award”, the Mi Casa Resource Center for Women’s “Volunteerism Award”, the Latin American Research Agency “Bernie Valdez Award for Self-Sufficiency”, and the “William Funk Award for Building Community Statewide” presented by the Colorado Association of Non-Profit Organizations.

Councilman Rodriguez is an avid reader and a ceaseless fighter for her community who addresses the needs and interests of the diverse cultures in her district head on. Rosemary has encouraged many working class Latinos to better their lives by setting high standards through education and civic involvement.

As her neighbors would agree, Councilwoman Rodriguez has made significant contributions within her community. Rosemary Rodriguez is an outstanding woman leader and an impressive role model for young girls everywhere.

What were some of your most interesting challenges when you served as President of the Denver City Council? I was able to represent the City and County of Denver in a variety of situations—from welcoming representatives of China at the Brown Palace Hotel to commemorate the fall of China to testifying before a Congressional committee with Senators Allard, Salazar and Governor Owens in an effort to keep the Air Force Accounting office at Lowry. I was honored and excited to participate in each and every one of these events! .

Do you have a mentor; someone who has been there to help guide you or consult with when you needed their input? I listen to many people; I like to say that I listen to former Mayor Wellington Webb on one side and former Councilwoman Susan Barnes Gelt on the other. Attorney Donald W. Hoagland has been a sustained and influential person in my life as well. .

You are out in the public arena quite often; who is the most interesting person you have ever met? I sat next to George Will at a Press Club banquet and he is definitely one of the most interesting people I’ve met… We are political opposites but he clearly possesses an amazing mind. What program(s) are you focusing on most these days? I am looking for ways to educate my constituents about predatory lending—it’s a practice that I would like to prevent in my district.

Having also grown up on the Westside of Denver, in your opinion, how have things progressed through the years? Residents of West Denver have always known that we have a great neighborhood, with the finest Asian and Latino restaurants in Denver. However, West Denver is on the cusp of being discovered—for example, our proximity to Downtown. My house is six minutes away from Downtown! We have managed to keep our proximity a pretty close secret but a couple of things have happened recently that are going to transform our neighborhood—hopefully for the best.
• The Fast-tracks West Corridor, the first one to be built out, will travel right through the Villa Park Neighborhood.
• Villa Park is the new home to the region’s finest “disc golf course.” Apparently there are a number of disc golf players who have been coming to my district and falling in love with it.
• Starbucks adopted Garfield Lake Park in their “Passion for Parks” program and did a major clean up, installed the first public recycling system, planted 58 trees and painted the pool house. It looks lovely!

Is there a charitable event you really look forward to attending each year? The Mi Casa Fiesta. It’s usually just pure fun with inspirational stories. Another one is Urban Peak’s “Climb the Peak Dinner.” The impact of these events that participants tell their own stories and they’re usually transformative.

Is there a non-profit organization you plan on staying involved with for a long time? Again, the Mi Casa Resource Center for Women is close to my heart. As a high-school service project, I helped paint the first “house” that the Center used to offer services to low income Latinas and youth.

Going back to when you first started with the Denver City Council to now, what has been your proudest personal achievement? Working with Mayor Hickenlooper on a program to pave over 1,100 alleys in Denver neighborhoods.

What do you enjoy the most about your work as a Council Member? I have loved bringing my neighborhood’s issues and concerns to light. .

What is your greatest strength(s) that has made you such an asset to the council? I don’t want to boast but I what I offer to the council is a lot of experience in the City (11 years as a member of Mayor Webb’s staff) and I have first-hand knowledge of how things work.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? Feeling all is right with the world.

Throughout your time as a Councilwoman, what do you consider your “aha” (I get it now) moment? The first time I had to go get six votes to get something decided—my experience in the Mayor’s office was such a huge contrast.

How do you relax? - Do you have a favorite vacation spot? I haven’t had a true vacation since 2003. I read to relax.

What do you wish you could have a never-ending supply of? Little notebooks—the pocket-sized ones.

If you found a treasure chest – and you could keep it, what would you want to be in it? Gift cards to book stores and movie passes..

How can we reach out to other people in the world? Treat everyone with dignity.

Is there an inspirational book you have read that you would recommend to others? I recommend “Too Funny To Be President” by Morris K. Udall.

What can make you laugh? People who don’t take themselves too seriously and tell stories on themselves..

What can make you cry? The thought of separation from my family.

Is there a fond childhood memory you can share with us? I hid once to finish a book in peace. Everybody was looking for me but I didn’t come out until I heard my dad come home from work—early.

When you were a little girl, what did you say you wanted to be when you grew up? A dad.

What can’t happen fast enough in the City of Denver – in other words, what needs to change? We need to look for ways to create opportunity for our least advantaged residents—educational opportunity, economic opportunity, whatever the obstacle, we must find ways to overcome it.

What do you think is the biggest problem we are facing in this country today? We need to figure out how to provide all of our children with a good education. John F. Kennedy said “A child miseducated is a child lost.”

What is your vision and hope for the future? That we someday learn to manage conflict effectively and without strife.

How do you want to be remembered by future generations? As a woman who got up every morning and embraced challenge with optimism.

Do you have a motto, or saying, that has guided you through your life? A moving target is harder to hit—meaning that I should stay busy.