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Democrat Mike Johnston’s gubernatorial campaign sets ‘Day of Service’ rebuilding community garden

Author: Ernest Luning - April 7, 2017 - Updated: April 7, 2017

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Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Johnston, a former state senator from Denver, speaks with voters at a campaign event on Saturday, March 4, 2017, at Belmar Library in Lakewood. (Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman)
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Johnston, a former state senator from Denver, speaks with voters at a campaign event on Saturday, March 4, 2017, at Belmar Library in Lakewood. (Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman)

Democrat Mike Johnston’s gubernatorial campaign is sponsoring the first of what organizers say will be a series of “Days of Service” on Saturday in Arvada. He’s teaming up with the Leadership Jefferson County group to rebuild and replant the community garden at Foster Elementary School in Arvada and is inviting supporters and acquaintances to help out.

“One of the things I most looked forward to as we began this campaign was the chance to work shoulder-to-shoulder with neighbors to make Colorado a better place through service projects like this,” Johnston told The Colorado Statesman on Friday. “It’s one of the ways I have built bridges throughout my entire life and this is just the first of many of these opportunities. I hope we can draw a crowd of folks ready to help.”

Johnston’s campaign organizer Gabe Uy says volunteers don’t need a green thumb or gardening experience to take part in the event, which is set for 9 a.m. to noon at the school.

Jeremy Bird, deputy national field director of the 2008 Obama campaign and national field director for the Democratic president’s 2012 reelection campaign, is expected to be volunteering on the project with the Johnston campaign.

This year’s Leadership Jefferson County class picked Foster’s community garden as a project because it’s fallen into disrepair in recent years without a drip irrigation system to keep plants flourishing during hot summer months. In addition, a lack of fencing has allowed neighbors to harvest the crops and vandalize the garden. The group, a project of the West Chamber of Commerce, is aiming to have the garden ready by May 15. It’s recruiting help to work on the garden all day Saturday and Sunday.

Foster Elementary School, at 5300 Salsbury Court in Arvada, was one of the first STEM elementary schools in the Jefferson County school district. It’s also the Jeffco school that pioneered the first two-way dual language program in the county, which aims to make students bilingual in both Spanish and English by the sixth grade.

Johnston is one of two Democrats running for governor in next year’s election, although that number is set to double by sometime Monday. Businessman Noel Ginsburg declared in December that he’s a candidate, while U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter is planning to announce he’s running on Sunday at an event in Golden, and former State Treasurer Cary Kennedy is expected to throw her hat in the ring on Monday. Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper is term-limited.

— ernest@coloradostatesman.com

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning is a political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has covered politics and government for newspapers and online news sites in Colorado for more than 25 years, including at the Highlands Ranch Herald, the Jefferson Sentinels chain of community newspapers and the Aurora Sentinel, where he was the city hall and cops reporter. After editing the Aurora Daily Sun, he was a political reporter and blogger for The Colorado Independent site. For nearly a decade, he was a senior political reporter and occasional editor at The Colorado Statesman before the 119-year-old publication merged with Colorado Politics in 2017.