District 1 hopeful advocates communication

Posted 9/17/09

Sharon West, a first-time candidate for Centennial City Council in District 1, has a theory about why the race is so crowded. “The city is in …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Don't have an ID?

Print subscribers

If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.


Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.

If you made a voluntary contribution in 2022-2023 of $50 or more, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one at no additional charge. VIP Digital Access includes access to all websites and online content.

Our print publications are advertiser supported. For those wishing to access our content online, we have implemented a small charge so we may continue to provide our valued readers and community with unique, high quality local content. Thank you for supporting your local newspaper.

District 1 hopeful advocates communication


Sharon West, a first-time candidate for Centennial City Council in District 1, has a theory about why the race is so crowded.

“The city is in somewhat of a crisis with growing pains,” she said. “It’s sort of at a crossroads as to where it wants to go. A lot of people recognize that and are feeling that. Because we live in the neighborhood, we’re passionate about it.”

The sudden resignation last month of Councilmember Betty Ann Hamilton, who has left the district, prompted the council to call a special election in conjunction with the regular Nov. 3 mail-in ballot.

West is one of seven candidates who hurriedly filed papers to replace Hamilton when the election was called one week before the filing deadline. Despite the quick turnaround, the District 1 race has turned out to be among the most populated contests in Centennial’s eight-year history.

The other hopefuls are former Councilmember Vorry Moon, Ron Phelps, Sonni Marbury, Gary Furnee, Michael Hall and Pete Cooney.

“Everyone of us has a chance of winning this race. That’s what makes it so much fun,” West said.

As Centennial marks its first year as a home-rule city and prepares for the departure of its founding mayor, West thinks it is time for Centennial to recommit to serving its 103,000 residents.

The first step, according to the candidate, is better communication.

“People really have strong ideas as to what they want, but we all have our own daily lives to contend with,” she said. “There are going to have to be some new ways of reaching out to let them know a little better about what’s going on in the city before it gets to crisis proportion.”

As an example, West points to a controversial proposal that would direct traffic from a new I-25 underpass into residential neighborhoods. The candidate was in the city council chambers on Sept. 14 when District 3 residents crowded into the room to protest the idea.

Many complained that they had not been properly informed of the proposal until District 3 Councilmember Rebecca McClellan began a grassroots effort to get the word out.

“I was sitting there kind of open-mouthed,” West said. “I think Rebecca McClellan did an awesome job of letting people know [about the hearing], but why didn’t they know ahead of time?”

If elected, West says she would venture to work more closely with the media and form a network of quasi-town criers to help get the word out, door to door, one District 1 resident at a time.

“In order to do that, you’ve got to have a group of people who care and are willing to spend some time doing that. If you get people on a face-to-face basis, you get to engage them,” the candidate said.

West, 62, plans to use much the same door-to-door tactic as she sets herself apart from her competition with a pledge to maintain Centennial’s original vision of limited government.

Although the 23-year resident supported the 2001 incorporation of Centennial and, in particular, the proponents’ vision of a small “virtual” government, the candidate opposed the home-rule charter passed by voters last year because she saw it as an attempt to expand the city bureaucracy.

“Those of us who lived in the area when it was still unincorporated Arapahoe County liked it because it was diverse and laid back,” she said. “When Centennial came in, there was a lot of talk about small government and low taxes. Most of us didn’t really believe it would happen, but small government was a promise we bought into.”

Originally from Michigan, West moved to present-day Centennial with her then-husband and three children in the mid-1980s. The grandmother of five has lived in the same west Centennial house ever since.

“I came here because I loved the neighborhood,” the candidate said. “I loved the large lots. I loved the mature landscape, although it wasn’t quite as mature back then. I used to be able to sit on my roof and see the fireworks. I can’t do that anymore.”

West has worked for the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment in several different capacities for 13 years. She considers her work for the department to be her strongest qualification for city council.

“I know how government works,” she said. “I work with statutes and rules of procedure and legal precedents every day. I know how the legislature works. I know how a government budget is put together.”

West has several degrees, including a master’s of environmental policy and management and bachelor’s degrees in civil mediation and business administration.

She has also worked in the insurance, sales and hotel management fields.

In her spare time, West has been a volunteer for Colorado’s state parks, Girl Scouts and other community organizations.

“I love my neighborhood. That’s the bottom line,” she said. “In the last year or two, I’ve been developing a district affinity as well.”


Our Papers

Ad blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.