As in its inaugural 2019 event, a Raucous Caucus, at which a handful of Boulder City Council hopefuls introduce themselves as candidates, has launched the local election season in 2021.
Boulder Progressives and United Campus Workers (UCW) put on their second Raucous Caucus from about 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday. More than 140 people joined the virtual public forum where 10 potential city council candidates introduced themselves before debating for five of the nine seats up for election this coming November.
Candidates shared their opinions and potential plans regarding Boulder’s unhoused community, affordable housing and the economic crisis following the pandemic. The moderator sprinkled in lighter questions, too, to keep the spirit of the aptly titled event, like “Do you snore?” and “Do you like pineapple on your pizza?”
With the Raucous Caucus, Boulder Progressives and UCW aim to broaden electoral appeal to younger voters and aim for public transparency. “Decisions get made fairly early on behind closed doors about which people are getting endorsements from major groups,” said Claudia Hansen Thiem, one of eight people on Boulder Progressives’ steering committee.
“This is for folks still testing the waters, seeing what kind of reactions they’ll get from people committed to local politics,” Claudia said.
Following their first event before the pandemic, which had food trucks and a pool for kids, Boulder Progressives and UCW experimented with the event’s virtual format in order to keep the Zoom forum fast-paced. During round one, two candidates answered a question with a live time limit. The following lighting round consisted of candidates using paddles to respond whether they agree or not to a posed question. The event finished with a Q&A session.
In 2019, around two-thirds of candidates who participated in the Raucous Caucus filed for candidacy, in addition to four or five others who didn’t attend the event. This year’s city council hopefuls can start filing for candidacy on August 3.
The candidates that participated in the event included: Matt Benjamin, RJ Boyle, Ed Byrne, Lauren Folkerts, Jono Kupferberg, Gala Orba, Nicole Speer, David Takahashi, Mark Wallach and Dan Williams.
Feature image: Screen shot of the digital event.