Tina Marquis’ involvement in local politics began about 15 years ago, when she volunteered at her children’s elementary school, Foothill Elementary. She then served on the Boulder Valley School District’s District Accountability Committee and later she was elected to the district’s Board of Education, where she served four years as president. Marquis has served on the board for CU Boulder’s Conference on World Affairs and volunteered with the Democratic Women of Boulder County. She has described herself as an introvert and has said she does not like to interrupt people.

Endorsements: Boulder Elevated and PLAN-Boulder County

Answers to questionnaire:

What do you think are the most promising initiatives for reducing homelessness?

Homelessness is complex, and people are homeless for different reasons. I believe we’ll need several tools to address this humanitarian crisis. I would advocate for more supportive housing, increased behavioral health treatment, and ready-to-work programs. I also believe Boulder cannot solve this issue alone, and nor can Denver. 

I will advocate for partnerships across the metro region and hope we work together to create solutions for homelessness. I am optimistic about new grant funding received by multiple groups county-wide serving the homeless to expand support for the homeless, including housing.

[Editor’s note: Earlier this year, the city was awarded $2.5 million from the state to create a respite center for homeless people and help launch a non-police behavioral health crisis response program. And last month, the city was awarded additional money to pay for 40 housing vouchers, which subsidize rent, and other homelessness services.]  

We are in a climate emergency. With your leadership, how would Boulder change commensurately?

I would continue and/or accelerate many of the initiatives already in place, including shifting from fossil fuels to renewables, electrification, carbon sequestration, reducing single use plastics, green building, including incentives for construction that is climate resilient, and expanding biodiversity. I also will continue to support alternative transportation to cars, including creating safer routes for bikers and walkers as well as advocating for more bus service. Finally, Boulder cannot alone solve the climate crisis. Instead, we need to collaborate with other municipalities and counties, with humility, and create a collective commitment to create a climate resilient future.

How can we better provide alternatives to cars when existing infrastructure prioritizes cars?

In the over 20 years I have lived in Boulder, we have been trying to reduce our dependence on cars. During that time, I have observed the elimination of some routes from RTD, and recognize that we are still dependent on the state to help with some of our transportation challenges. That being noted, I am very excited about RTD’s free fares for people 19 years of age and under and possible legislation to increase funding for RTD next legislative session. I also support the work of the city to create safe routes for bikes across the city. However, our city relies on thousands of in-commuters to provide medical services, teach and care for our children, work in our restaurants, and maintain (and manage) our city. While we encourage eco-friendly modes of transportation for those living in the city, we will need to increase public transportation for those commuting into the city as well as encourage electric vehicles, including convenient charging.

What is your plan for increasing Boulder’s affordable housing supply?

I appreciate Boulder’s commitment to increasing the affordable housing supply, with over 8% of our supply being affordable, outpacing our county, and more on the horizon. 

Like many, I am looking to increase “missing middle” housing. I would like to explore multiple pathways, including the existing downpayment assistance program, a rent-to-own program like that proposed by Mayor Johnston in Denver if successful, and opportunities in the planning reserve as part of the comp plan [Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan] review. I am particularly interested in creating incentives for affordable ownership opportunities for people with children to ensure Boulder can offer a continuum of housing options at every income level while enabling lower- and middle-income residents to build wealth in Boulder. Finally, I would like to discuss a vacant home tax to recoup lost sales and tax revenue.

What approach would you take to address camping in our parks, on our bike paths and along our waterways?

I would continue to enforce the camping ban, with priority enforcement around schools, medical centers, day cares and recreation centers, as well as multi-use paths, waterways and areas more vulnerable to wildfires. 

Enforcement around schools would continue to be the top priority for me so that our students can rely on a safe and welcoming experience every day they go to school. I am supportive of the Reimagine Policing plan that focuses on prevention, equity and compassion, which I believe balances our community’s interest in both helping those experiencing homelessness and maintaining safe and welcoming public spaces. I also support the Crisis Intervention Response Team to respond to the needs of our community as well as the homeless day center to provide a place for the unhoused to rest, receive support, and connect to services during the day. Finally, the end goal is of course to eliminate the need for camping by providing affordable and supportive housing. 

Assume you are elected this November. Now imagine it’s November one year later. What one, specific thing will you have accomplished that you’re proud of? Put another way, what will define success for you after one year on council, or as mayor?

Within a year of having joined the council, my hope is that every city council in Boulder County, including Boulder, and the county commissioners, will make a joint declaration that homelessness in Boulder County is a humanitarian crisis and will embark on a collective, unified effort to eradicate homelessness. We will adopt within the year common, outcome-based metrics to measure our work. Colorado will be recognized as being the first Blue state in the nation to be on track to compassionately address homelessness while ensuring public safety.

John Herrick is a reporter for Boulder Reporting Lab, covering housing, transportation, policing and local government. He previously covered the state Capitol for The Colorado Independent and environmental policy for VTDigger.org. Email: john@boulderreportinglab.org.