Denver, CO

Film tells story of Denver women who took on establishment

David Heitz
Candi CdeBaca shows surprise on the campaign trail two years ago."Running with my Girls" press kit

Denver City Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca’s “unlikely rise to power” is featured in “Running with my girls,” a documentary about women in politics premiering Wednesday at the Denver film festival.

The documentary is by journalist Tamara Banks. It is produced and directed by Rebekah Henderson. The film shows poignant moments as five women activists take on the Denver “entrenched political establishment,” according to the press kit, in five separate races. CdeBaca was the only candidate to win her race.

In one scene in the movie’s trailer, CdeBaca sheds a tear as she makes a police report after she was threatened with death and rape during the campaign.

The film’s premier is sold out. Another showing will screen at 4 p.m. Friday at Maglione Theater.

Councilwoman CdeBaca Democratic Socialist, LGBTQ

“An unlikely winner, a Democratic Socialist and Latinx LGBTQ, Candi is the underdog,” according to the press kit. “She is a fighter, graduated at the top of her class, survived domestic abuse, and is all about her community.”

In the movie’s trailer, CdeBaca talked about her strategy for winning. “Part of my strategy when I started to run was to make sure I wasn’t running alone. When you’re running alone and you’re the lone voice of reason you just get further and further isolated.”

CdeBaca often is attacked in the online comments of news stories for her left-leaning political views. In the trailer, she says “I want to see the people closest to the pain, closest to the power, and that’s why I’m running.”

Denver never has elected woman mayor

When CdeBaca won the election, she made another of the film’s featured candidates her chief of staff. Lisa Calderon is shown in the documentary at a campaign stop noting Denver never has elected a woman for mayor in more than 100 years. Calderon lost in a race for mayor to incumbent Mayor Michael Hancock.

“Historically the small community battles that people don’t pay attention to have given rise to some of our nation’s greatest Civil Rights heroes,” Henderson explains in the press kit. “I happen to have been born in the right time to be able to film the historic uprising of women in politics, but also in that moment in history juxtaposed against a crumbling, dysfunctional system giving rebirth to something new and beautiful.”

In the movie trailer, the announcer says the women want to tackle the city’s affordable housing crisis, which they claim has so far been managed with “band-aid solutions.”

Council may name chambers after first female member

Meantime, the Denver City Council will consider Monday renaming its council chambers after the first woman elected to the Denver City Council. Cathy Reynolds was chosen in 1975. Today, women are the majority on the council.

“Cathy Reynolds was re-elected at-large in 1979, 1983, 1987, 1991, 1995 and 1999, in first (place) each time and ultimately serving the longest tenure of any Denver City Council member, a public service spanning 28 years and two weeks, and which was ended only by the start of term limits,” according to the bill that would rename the council chambers.

Reynolds sponsored legislation that made Denver one of the first cities in the U.S. to propose LGBTQ rights, “igniting a conflict that led to a controversial 1992 statewide initiative seeking to strike down Denver’s and similar local laws, followed by a victory at the Colorado Supreme Court and soon after that, a landmark victory for gay rights in 1996 at the U.S. Supreme Court,” the bill reads.

The council will hold a public hearing on whether to rename the chambers at its Nov. 15 meeting. The council must vote on the proposal twice for it to become law.

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I have been in the news business more than 30 years, spending much of my career at some of the best local newspapers in the country. Today, I report on Denver City Hall, homelessness and other topics for NewsBreak, much like I did in my twenties covering Newport Beach, Calif. for the Daily Pilot. I consider myself a lucky guy to still be doing what I love after so many years.

Denver, CO

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