If there is anything good to come of a Trump presidency, it's that it's encouraged a surge of young people to run for offices like state legislatures, city councils and more. Adams County is no exception, and we are thrilled so many Young Dems are stepping up to run to represent us.
Leading up to the municipal elections on Nov. 7, we'll be profiling Young Dems running for city council seats in Westminster, Thornton, Northglenn and Aurora, giving you a chance to learn more about these remarkable people, their beliefs and their candidate platform.
CRYSTAL MURILLO, CANDIDATE FOR AURORA CITY COUNCIL, WARD 1
What made you decide you wanted to run?
I am running for office because I believe that some in our community are being left behind and deserve a fair shot at success. I grew up in Aurora and I care deeply about the people who make up our diverse community. Like most immigrants, my grandparents came to the U.S. in search of a better life. Their journey landed them in Aurora, Colorado, where they’ve been for the past 20 years. I am a product my family’s American Dream; I am the first in my family to graduate high school and college. I want to take the necessary steps to ensure everyone has the opportunity to fulfill their dreams just like I did, whether one has lived in Aurora 50, 20 or 2 years. My way of giving back to this wonderful community is to make sure everyone has a voice and representation in our community.
How have your previous experiences, professionally and personally, made you the right candidate for this office?
I believe in investing in and empowering the people in our community and I believe representation matters. As a native of Aurora, having grown up in this community, I am connected to the community. The people are struggling are not “others” to me - they ARE me. The makeup of our current city council is not reflective of the community it serves and I seek to change that as a candidate and support others that hope to represent our community equitably.
I am a Democrat with a business and legislative background, which gives me the political and financial perspective needed to represent the people of Ward 1 and find practical solutions to our problems.
After I graduated from the University of Denver with a Bachelors of Science and Business Administration, I immediately got to work serving my community. My experiences working with Speaker Duran in the State House and serving on both the State Board for Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and the Citizen Advisory Committee on Housing and Community Development for the City of Aurora taught me that there ARE solutions to our community’s problems. We can have a FAIR and AFFORDABLE Aurora that works for all - you just have to want it and be in the room making the decisions.
Has anything about your experience as a candidate surprised you?
Yes, this is my first time running for public office and there have been many new lessons learned from this experience. What has surprised me the most is how personal this experience has been. Even though my goal is to engage and empower others in my community, there is such a strong personal connection because I am from this community.
One issue I have had to overcome is not being fully bilingual and being between my Mexican-American culture and language. As a single mom raising two kids and working multiple jobs, my mom had to make tough decisions about our upbringing. She couldn’t really teach us more than what I was learning and my english-only school. Though I have always been insecure about that part of my identity and have always aspired to be fully bilingual, running for office has made that more of a pressing matter. People assume I speak Spanish fluently and not being fully bilingual has not only challenged my sense of identity but at times others have questioned it as well. Additionally, there is large Latino population in Ward 1 and in order to best connect with them I feel it is necessary to meet them where they are at and speak Spanish. I want to be the best advocate for my community and at times that means overcoming my own insecurities to be able to do the best job.
What are the most pressing issues facing your city and what will you do to address them?
Affordable housing, responsible growth, and a connected, robust public transit system are issues my campaign is focusing on. As I canvass the neighborhoods in Ward 1, I find that these are issues that community members care about as well. Though there are other issues I consider important, I know that I am an advocate for more than myself and it’s my job to meet the evolving needs of my ward. However, I also recognize the intersectionality of climate change as it relates to all of those issues and more. Though I am not as deeply versed in the realm of conservation, I know I have benefitted from the spoils of the natural resources in our state, and it is in-turn my responsibility to be a steward of it.
Running for office can be rewarding, but difficult. What keeps you going?
My family and Selena.
What’s your favorite thing about where you live?
Vibrant resiliency and diversity.
Who do you look up to politically and why?
Dolores Huerta because she was an unapologetic advocate for her community and believed that so strongly that she still continues to organize today even though she’s 87 years old.
What was your first paid job?
Selling CutCo knives during summer break in high school.
What’s your favorite TV show that you tell people you watch, and what’s your favorite TV show that you watch in secret?
Everyone should watch House of Cards. I plan on binge watching it after the election is over. I don’t really have time for anything else.
What songs do you listen to for getting hyped up?
How can Young Dems help in your race?
Knock doors! Make phone calls! We can win this thing if we can people who normally don’t vote in municipal elections to VOTE! Visit facebook.com/murilloforaurora to check out our upcoming events. Or email our campaign at MurilloForAurora@gmail.com to get plugged in!
What else should voters know about you?
The residents of Ward 1 will be my priority.