Boulder, Boulder County: Recruitment Key to Finding Minority Leaders

Heath Urie, Daily Camera (Boulder), October 24, 2009

Many Boulder city officials, past and present, agree that more needs to be done to recruit Hispanics, Latinos and other minorities into local government.

Realizing that finding and providing leadership opportunities to those underrepresented groups has been difficult over the years, there’s a renewed push at the city and county levels to reach out to potential minority leaders.

The Boulder-based Community Foundation in June launched the Boulder County Leadership Fellows Program in an effort to recruit a diverse group of people into leadership roles.

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The program grew out of a 2008 survey that concluded enrollment costs prohibited many people of color from participating in leadership cultivation classes, and that Boulder County lacks opportunities for diverse groups of people to have mentoring relationships with local leaders.

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But some argue that Boulder’s voters have made that participation more difficult.

In 2004, Boulder’s Council Charter Revision Committee decided not to adopt recommendations that non-U.S. citizens should be allowed to serve on city boards and commissions.

The city last year took the issue to voters, who narrowly defeated a measure that would have allowed non-citizens who were 18 or older and had lived in the city for at least a year to serve on boards and commissions.

City Councilwoman Angelique Espinoza said the measure would have been a good step toward showing that Boulder is open to Latino participation, in particular.

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Boulder County, meanwhile, is also continuing its efforts to recruit people of color to serve on local boards and committees, through its People Engaged in Raising Leaders program.

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