City Councilwoman Robin Kniech joined the Denver municipal government today. Robin became the city’s first openly gay city council member following a swearing-in ceremony at Temple Hoyne Buell Theatre in the Denver Center for the Performing Arts complex. Kniech joined Debbie Ortega in grabbing Denver’s two at-large city council seats. Of five at-large candidates on the ballot, Kniech garnered the second-most support from Denver voters behind Ortega.
Kniech, a proud member of the LGBT community, made no secret of her dedicated 10-year relationship with her female partner while on the campaign trail. In fact, Robin’s campaign team sent mailers to Denver voters featuring photos of Ms. Kniech, her partner, and their 2 year-old son. Robin Kniech was sworn in today, Monday, July 18th, followed by rousing applaud from the assembled DCPA crowd.
That Kniech was successfully elected as an openly gay member of the Denver community is not surprising. Really, it is more shocking that Robin was the first openly gay member of the Denver community to seek and achieve a seat on the city council. After all, Denver has the 8th highest percentage of gay residents of any major city in the United States, ranks 7th amongst US metro regions, and just celebrated its 35th annual gay pride parade. The Pride Parade comes complete with a two-day Denver Pridefest that draws strong support each year from Colorado’s straight community through its family-friendly mantra and inclusive atmosphere, and is an annual testament to the decades-long strength of the LGBT community in Denver.
A strong grassroots advocacy campaign eventually earned Robin endorsements from former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb and she was rated as the top city council candidate by the Denver Post. Webb’s endorsement was particularly powerful. Wellington is remembered by many Denver voters for his superb work as the city’s first black mayor. Former City Councilman Michael Hancock was also endorsed by Webb, and won a runoff last month to become Denver’s second black mayor. Hancock was sworn in at Temple Buell on Monday as well.
While Kniech never shied away from her connection to the gay community, she kept her campaign focus on the pressing fiscal issues that will dominate her inaugural tenure in office. Said Kniech on election night in early May after clinching the second at-large city council seat, “I ran to work for all Denver families, but I know this is a meaningful day for our LGBT community.”
Family photos and details of Robin’s past work for the City of Denver can be found on her website.
Watch the Inauguration of Denver’s new elected officials – skip to the 40-minute mark for the swearing-in of at-large members Kniech and Ortega.