Elections and electioneering never seem to take a full break in the United States. There are always seats to be filled and amendments to be made. November 2nd, 2021 is another election day and it’s already close at hand. Many qualified candidates have thrown their hats into the ring and are gearing up for that day. In Aurora Colorado, one of the elections to be held is for the City Council At-large seat. There are two open seats contestable, and Becky Hogan is vying for one. Afrik Digest Magazine spoke to the amiable candidate on her readiness, background, qualification, and other related matters.
Please introduce yourself briefly.
My name is Becky Hogan, a candidate for Aurora City Council At-Large, which means I would represent the entire City of Aurora. I was born in Seoul, Korea, from where I was adopted when I was just a baby. I grew up in a caring family who believed that no matter who you are, what your country of origin is, you deserve to be loved and respected.
Nineteen years ago, I met someone many of you knew as Mayor Hogan, I fell in love with both him and the City of Aurora. We became a family. I am a mother, a grandmother, and a caretaker of our city.
What would be your functions as a city council member at-large?
I am a trusted steward of our taxpayer dollars. As a council member, I will protect, defend, and admit to failures. I will also share successes because that is what families do. I will lead by example, bringing strength and unity to mend a fractured community. I will make sure that everyone in the community is heard and issues are addressed to bring us back to one Aurora.
We have seen partisan politics exhibited on the federal levels, and how it has trickled down to the municipal level. But our issues here are not federal; they are municipal issues.
I will work on policies that will enhance small business growth, job creation, and business expansion. I will work on policies that will reduce burdensome paperwork and provide community resources to conduct business. I will champion the opportunity for gatherings that showcase the diversity in our city.
What ideals are you running on and how will those ideals enhance your voter acceptability?
Why are you running to be a city council member and what are your priorities?
My priorities are safe community, economic well-being, and restoring civility on our city council. I’m bringing the much-needed experience and unique skill sets to lead our city. My profession and background in economic development results in job creation, business retention, and building strong and sustainable communities. I love to serve my city, so I am a regular community volunteer. I am a commissioner on the Planning and Zoning Commission. I am committed to representing the voices of members of our community on this city council.
I bring history and background with a focus on diversity. I bring skills that will enhance the entire city council and build a team that will effectively and efficiently lead Aurora. I am a good communicator and understand how to bridge the gap between my community and the city government. I have built respect and support in the African community for over a decade and will represent the voices of residents on Aurora City Council.
What do you believe are your strengths?
I understand how cities work. I worked for 16 years with cities, and that is one strength to have. Also, I have relationships that have spanned 30 years. A long-term relationship is an asset when needed to accomplish tasks. Knowing who you know can help you get some things done quickly. I have built and maintained relationships throughout Aurora and beyond for the express purposes of getting things accomplished in our city. I have the most experience working with cities and for cities than any candidate in this race. I understand the importance of listening to my community and representing their needs in our city. My background is in economic development.
What ideals are you running on and how will those ideals enhance your voter acceptability?
Among many ideals, I am running on community safety. Everybody wants to live in a safe community, regardless of what party they belong to. I want to bring the voice of the community to the Aurora city hall, because there has been a gap there, and it’s important we fill it. There is not the interaction that there used to be with leadership and the community. If we work together, we will solve many more problems than when we work apart.
I believe in safe communities. We can restore trust and confidence in our city and grow our economy. I support small and diverse businesses; I will commit to meeting the needs of our growing economy in which everyone benefits. Together we will shrink the income inequality gap and bring opportunity to those who did not have it before.
What has inspired you to run for city council?
My love for Aurora inspired me. Aurora has been family. This city has given me so much and cared for me during some of the most difficult times of my life. I know the needs of my city and I have the skills to foster a healthy vibrant environment for growth and healing. I know there are many good things yet to accomplish in our city, and I know how to get them done.
Aurora has been my home for 19 years, and it has been so good to me and Stephen. What inspires me is the possible chance to gather up my family and have them be one again. To stop some of the fighting and criticisms, and truly learn to love and appreciate one another. For us Aurora was family, the city has welcomed us, and we have welcomed them, both in our hearts and into our home. We have experienced some very difficult times with Aurora. The July 20, 2012, a mass shooting was a difficult time for us, and when Stephen passed away, the whole community of Aurora just surrounded me with love and tears, because they lost a member of their family as well.
Can you remind us of what it was like to be married to Mayor Steve Hogan?
I am still grieving after the passing of my husband. We were not perfect people, but we seemed to find the perfect marriage for the two of us. Stephen was a problem solver. As a young boy, he would be the one, who very patiently unraveled the ball of string filled with knots, that no one else had the patience and persistence to do. He kept his eye on the “long game”; looking ahead, focusing on what needed to be done, untangling, and solving problems one knot at a time. We always focused on the needs of our community first. We never gave up on Aurora. We never lost hope in our community. We loved them all; one person, one need, one family, One Aurora. As I knock on doors, people remember Stephen’s great work for the community.
How do you relax outside of work and politics?
I spend time with my children and grandchildren. I love to volunteer for my community. I love to bake for my friends and neighbors. I love to travel and am looking forward to restrictions on travel being lifted so I can see and experience people around the world.
What is your opinion on government spending?
Generally, I am a fiscal conservative. Cities are required to have a balanced budget and I will make sure that we do so. If we must make cuts, we must come back to the community and say, “Here is what we need to do. What do you want us to do?” I want to hear the community’s opinion. Also, I am not going to overspend; I just don’t think that is smart. Every dollar adds up. We must be mindful of how we spend our money. We should know what we will get for our money, and we have to give. The greater point is going back to the community and asking, “What are our greatest needs here in our city.”
As someone born outside of the United States, what do you think are the peculiar challenges of immigrants or refugees?
The challenges are language, cultural awareness and understanding, and opportunity. Every immigrant and refugee need to have these tools to help them thrive in this country. Many immigrants, particularly when they come as adults, come with a skill set that language can often change. They may have come here with a skill set as a teacher, for instance, but because they don’t have English as a second language, they are hampered in what they can do. They cannot step into another teaching role. So, I think that language is a huge barrier.
Another challenge is cultural differences. I think of children whose parents are immigrants who may or may not be limited by language but come with a different culture. These children can pick up the English language quickly but their culture at school may be very different from their culture at home. That can be confusing and difficult for many children.
Lack of tools of opportunity is another challenge. This pertains to people who arrived here as immigrants or refugees. We must avail them the tools to succeed. They should have access to the tools and the opportunity to take off and grow like everyone else.
I am committed to serving the minority communities in our city. Recently, I have been helping with vaccine clinics, Global Fest, and other needs in the community. Looking back in 2015, we participated in a delegation mission to Adama, in Ethiopia through Aurora Sister Cities International. I loved the country and its people. I have continued to be a strong supporter of the Ethiopian community here in Aurora.
What does inclusivity mean to you?
Inclusivity means being part of a family or being accepted as part of a family. I can speak from the perspective of being adopted as a baby. My parents were white, and they loved me exactly like the two other children that were white. Feeling included was easy because I was a part of the family. Being a part of the family also means that you are responsible through your family. It means that you wrap your arms around people, and bring them closer to you, but in doing so, you have your own obligations as a part of the family. Sometimes it’s hard work to be part of a family. Sometimes you must share, and other times you don’t get your desire. Sometimes your siblings may have needs that are different from yours, and your needs must wait. So, it means that becoming part of a family, with all the love and responsibilities, also involves being committed to the family.
Do you believe there is strength in diversity?
Diversity is a wonderful thing for me. The proudest part of the city of Aurora is its diversity. There is diversity not only in race but also in culture. In Aurora we are able to celebrate all the several independence days, like that of Mexico, Nigeria, Senegal, and even America on 4th of July, and we literally have become a melting pot of the different communities.
It’s not a stressor to celebrate the diverse cultures; we only have to make sure that all the different communities do have all of the tools they need, like everybody else. If for instance you call the city’s emergency line, we should make sure it is in a language that you understand. We should be mindful of what the members of our community needs and create ways to make them become part of our family because the more dedicated we are to them, the more dedicated they will be to the city.
What is your opinion on vaccines and mask-wearing?
I think we have to be respectful of other people’s choices when discussing vaccines. I personally have had a vaccine and I think everyone should get it. I have run a number of equity clinics, particularly for our minority population to encourage them to get the vaccine. However, I am not going to force anyone to take a vaccine. I can encourage you and provide educational tools, but it is not in my power to force you to put something in your body. That is really a doctor’s place, not a government’s place.
How can we help you to win?
There are two seats on Aurora City Council at-large. I need my community to register to vote as soon as they can and to VOTE for Becky Hogan for one of the seats. I need people to put signs in their yards to encourage conversation about Becky, because I care for our community. I need people to walk their neighborhoods and ask others to vote (even if they do not know their neighbors). My website is www.HoganforOneAurora.com. I need your prayers, your encouragement, and your help. If we get these things done, I will win this election, all because of you.