By Elisabeth Monaghan
Before he was appointed to fill the city council vacancy for District 1, David Kueter already had been attending council meetings.
“I’m something of a policy geek, so I enjoyed going to the meetings to watch what was going on,” explains Kueter. He also had considered running for city council in the past and discussed his potential run with existing members of, and candidates running for the council.
An avid cyclist, Kueter is a leading member of the Wheat Ridge Transport Advisory Team and has established himself as an active member of the community. So, when Monica Duran declared her candidacy for state representative, Kueter’s name was among those considered to take her spot.
Asked how he felt about being tapped for the position, Kueter refers back to his experience as an attendee at council meetings.
“I left the meetings with the realization that not only could I do this, but I also found that even after being in the audience during four-hour-long council meetings, I was still fascinated by the discussions.”
The realization bolstered Kueter’s confidence in his qualifications for the position. It also showed him he had the level of interest necessary to remain engaged in the process.
Growing up in Denver, Kueter was familiar with Wheat Ridge and its charm, but it wasn’t until he and his wife were looking at houses, he discovered that the burgeoning city just west of Denver also was affordable. The Kueters purchased a farmhouse built in 1908 that sits on about one-third of an acre.
Since moving to the area, one of the many positive aspects Kueter points out about Wheat Ridge is that it is “smack-dab in the middle of everything that’s going on the West Side, but it’s still small enough that any resident can get involved in the city and have a meaningful voice in significant regional and local issues.”
Describing the challenges that the Wheat Ridge City Council currently is addressing, Kueter explains that many of them aren’t unique to the city.
“When it comes to issues like affordable housing, they don’t stop at the municipal border,” says Kueter. “All of the entities need to be communicating with each other and working together about issues such as transit and accessibility. As a bicyclist, I don’t know of anyone who rides down a trail in Wheat Ridge and thinks, ‘Oh, I’m about to cross into Lakewood, so that’s the end of my ride.”
He emphasizes the importance of municipalities working together to realize there are some issues that need regional actions or solutions.
In the three months since he began his work as a councilperson, Kueter has spent much of his time getting up to speed on the various issues. That means he is just beginning to extend himself more to the community, but his sense after working with active residents, like those on the Wheat Ridge Transportation Advisory Team, is that people want to have these conversations about the issues affecting so many and to figure out how to work together.
One of Kueter’s goals is to find more opportunities to get Wheat Ridge residents taking an interest in their community.
“Not everybody has the time to invest in attending council meetings on a Monday night, and not everyone is passionate about getting involved, but I do firmly believe that everybody’s voice is worth hearing, and I want people to recognize that we genuinely value it when they contact us or get involved in the overall process,” he says.
Kueter also believes that the more input he and his fellow councilmembers receive from their constituents about the issues that matter most to them, the better a job the council can do in making decisions on their behalf.
When it comes to performing his duties for city council, Kueter’s keen interest in the work has come in handy, but his experience as a lawyer also has provided tools that allow him to listen more attentively. Kueter says that often during a trial, it is not always the subject of the trial that has people upset – so he works with the involved parties to get to the root of the problem.
According to Kueter, “Most people really want to find a solution. It may not please everybody, but by working together, they can figure out something that benefits the majority.”
Kueter’s ability to listen, observe and help all parties come to a solution has proven valuable in his first few months as a city councilman. He hopes they will allow him to continue his work as a public servant. In November of this year, when he has fulfilled his appointment to cover the last of former Councilwoman Duran’s term, Kueter plans to become an official candidate for the office. In the meantime, he wants to make sure his constituents and other Wheat Ridge residents throughout the city reach out to him with their concerns or suggestions because he sincerely wants to listen.
Councilman David Kueter can be reached on his mobile at 720-244-1751, or via email at email@example.com.