Longtime Centennial resident Kathy Turley announced her candidacy for city council this past May, nearly six months before Election Day.
“I wanted to get an early start and hit the ground running,” said Turley. “I'll bet I've knocked on thousands of doors by now. I really wanted to talk with my constituents and get to know the issues. Now I feel prepared to represent my district.”
A self-described “seniors' advocate” and community activist who was elected to serve on Centennial's Home Rule Charter Commission, Turley is running against Mike Hanbery for the District 1 seat currently held by Rick Dindinger, who is term-limited.
Turley, 69, a Forest Park resident for 27 years, ran for council 12 years ago, when the city was first incorporated.
“It really was a blessing I didn't win the first time because I was working and couldn't have devoted the time,” she said. “I believe being a Centennial city council person is a full-time job.”
Turley, a former sales executive for Kaiser Permanente, said that after she retired last December, a number of people began encouraging her to run for council.
“I gave it a lot of thought and prayer and then made my announcement,” she said.
Turley's has been a high-profile campaign: Her supporters have put out nearly 500 lawn signs and the candidate cruises around her district on a flashy white Vespa motor scooter with “Turley for Council” signs affixed to the fenders.
“I've always been involved politically,” said Turley, who, if elected, promises to be a “good steward of taxpayer dollars. Any decisions that involve taxpayer dollars should be thoughtful decisions based not only on economic conditions, but the overall needs of the community.”
Turley said she also supports the city's current “wait and see” approach after Amendment 64 cleared the way for the retail sale of marijuana. “I don't think that is the right image for our city but I am open to watching what Denver is going to do and then see if it's applicable to Centennial,” she said.
A strong advocate for fiscal responsibility, Turley insists the words “tax and spend” are not in her vocabulary and there will be “no blank checks” for government on her watch.
She has nothing but positive things to say about the way the city is being run. “We are the most beautiful and safest city. We have no debt. It is so impressive what our leaders have done,” she said.
Turley has three grown children. Her husband Tim is the former director of the Denver Juvenile Court.
She said that conversations with constituents have led her to believe that Centennial and Arapahoe County can do a better job of working together. “I feel very strongly about the lack of collaboration happening with the county,” she said. “Both entities have a fiduciary responsibility to be working together and I don't see that happening right now.”
Another cornerstone of her campaign — and public life — has been advocating for seniors. Turley was appointed by former Colorado Gov. Bill Owens to the Colorado Commission on Aging and also served as his delegate to the White House Conference on Aging.
She's also a past Aging and Adult Services Advisory Board member of the Denver Regional Council of Governments, and a member of the Arapahoe County Council on Aging speakers' bureau.
“Every seven seconds someone is turning 60,” said Turley. “Approximately 10,000 people a day are turning 65, and 30 percent of the population of Centennial is over 50. Whether you are a senior, caring for a senior or thinking about the upcoming golden years, you will need a voice at the table — I will be your voice.”