Hot Sheet

Pueblo’s mayoral race has just begun — and there’s already a winner

Author: Dan Njegomir - March 7, 2018 - Updated: March 7, 2018

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Lori Lively Winner, running for Pueblo City Council in 2015 — and now a candidate to become the city’s first mayor in generations. (@Laurawinner3 via Twitter.com)

…Lori Winner, that is. Make that Lori Lively Winner, which is what she goes by on Twitter. The community activist and former Pueblo City Council member — she’s also a nurse and a pilates/yoga instructor — became the sixth Puebloan last week to enter the running for that city’s newly resurrected post of mayor.

You’ll recall the citizens of the Steel City passed a ballot measure last fall reinstating the position after at least a half century and endowing it with superpowers that promise to be the envy of the City Council. Notably, the mayor gets to run the joint as the city’s full-time chief exec, replacing the city manager. It’s a “strong mayor” form of local government — the kind implemented long ago in Denver and adopted by voters in Colorado Springs in 2010.

Winner isn’t the only non-establishment contender in the running, but given her two-year tenure on council and her social media presence, she does seem to be the populist with the highest profile. Reports the Pueblo Chieftain’s Peter Roper:

Two years ago, Lori Winner was elected to an at-large Pueblo City Council seat after being a thorn in the side of the city administration with her social media posts about dilapidated houses and trash-filled yards the city should fix.

She spent her time on council pushing for tougher code enforcement and even getting the city to put nearly $700,000 in uncollected property liens onto the property owners’ tax bills for timely collection.

Winner tells Roper:

“I’ve heard some people say that I was only about code enforcement … But I was out there campaigning for hiring more police last year, paying for yard signs and getting the (public safety) ballot question passed.”

The other declared mayoral candidates are:

  • Former Pueblo City Council President Steven Nawrocki.
  • Nick Gradisar, the prominent Pueblo attorney who led the campaign to re-establish the mayor’s post.
  • Jackie Massey, a retired college debate coach who moved to Pueblo last year.
  • Janet Wilson, an East Side Pueblo activist, banker and financial planner.
  • Russell Martinez, a boiler maker by trade who has worked on some prominent local projects.

Pueblo voters will pick their new mayor in next November’s general election — unless a second, runoff election is necessary. The mechanics of that process haven’t yet been decided by the City Council; it’s kind of a work in progress. You can read a recap of that issue here.

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir is a blogger and opinion editor for Colorado Politics. A longtime journalist and more-than-25-year veteran of the Colorado political scene, Njegomir has been an award-winning newspaper reporter, an editorial page editor, a senior legislative staffer at the State Capitol and a political consultant.