Denver councilwoman Robin Kniech won’t run for mayor but wants to be a resource to those who might

Robin Kniech has won three citywide elections.

Despite the urging of constituents and the years of speculation from political insiders who see her as a smart and capable politician, she will not be trying to win a fourth in Denver’s wide open 2023 mayor’s race.

She’s not considering her options or on the fence. She out, she told The Denver Post.

“It was humbling to have people approaching me pretty frequently asking me to run. When people ask you to step up, you think about it,” Kniech said. “But it was never my plan.”

Kniech, 47, became the first out LGBTQ person elected to the Denver City Council when she won her first term in 2011.

During her 11 years representing the city at large, she’s been at the center of major policy changes. She celebrated when the council established a higher, citywide minimum wage in 2019, a bill she sponsored. She breathed a sigh of relief when the council adopted an affordable housing mandate in June, an issue she had worked on for more than a decade.

There are personal reasons for Kniech’s decision.

She and her family have dealt with serious health problems in the last year. That is not preventing her from any would-be runs for office but she acknowledges that being a public official has taken a physical toll.

Her son was 2 years old when she was first elected in 2011. He’s 13 now. The COVID-19 pandemic reinforced the value of being home.

“Neither of us can remember a time when I wasn’t gone and away a lot,” Kniech said. “I certainly believe that governing is compatible with families. I’ve done it for 12 years. But I think that I need some recovery time.”

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Kniech wants to be a resource to Denver’s future leaders. Her idea of who holds political office had to change before she ran. She was a fresh law school graduate from a working-class Milwaukee family when she came to Denver. She was elected as an out lesbian with a two-year-old. She feels Denver is in need of some “mom energy.”

“If we nurture the city and we pass bold policies that are effective and keep our voices collectively raised for some national attention then I think we have the potential to get through what is going to be a rough period,” she said.

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