Daily Camera (Boulder)

Junie Joseph discusses dual roles, equity goals for Boulder, state

- By Annie Mehl amehl@dailycamer­a.com

When Junie Joseph thinks back to her childhood in Haiti, she recalls the suffering many in her community endured that still weighs heavily on heart.

Although she was only 14 when she moved to the United States, those memories haven’t blurred, but are vivid in her mind, and have helped her grow into the person she is today.

After moving to he U.S., without knowing or understand­ing any English, Joseph discovered a passion for community service. In high school, she formed a multicultu­ral club, and since then she has graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder Law School. She served as an intern for the Obama White House, has been elected a member of the Boulder City Council and most recently, in November, to represent House District 10.

“Doing this work gives me my sense of identity,” she said. “Ultimately, there is no real pay but just the satisfacti­on of making a difference.”

Prior to the November election, Joseph originally said she would resign from her current position on the Council, triggering a vacancy, but later changed her mind. Joseph was selected by the Boulder County Democratic Party nomination vacancy committee to replace Edie Hooton in the state Legislatur­e, when Hooton withdrew from the race about a month after the June primary.

“They didn’t have anyone else who they would have been put in the position,” she said. “There are land use issues that are coming before the Council. Of course, housing is a priority. Staying on Council ensures that the priorities I ran on are still represente­d.”

Because Joseph’s City Council vacancy would have occurred after Aug. 1, 2022 and before Aug. 1, 2023, city code states that a new Council member will be selected in the municipal election in November 2023. Boulder City Attorney Teresa Taylor Tate confirmed that if either Boulder Mayor Aaron Brockett or Joseph were selected for the nomination, and then went on to win the election, the City Council would be down a person for the majority of 2023 until the municipal election in November.

But since that decision, some Boulder residents have thanked Joseph for her dedication and determinat­ion to juggle both roles, while others have criticized her for not leaving the City Council.

“Junie should resign her council seat,” former Boulder City Councilmem­ber Steve Pomerance wrote in a guest column for the Camera. “The council will not only survive with eight members until next November; it will work just fine.”

Regardless of the pushback from some community members, Joseph said she will finish the remainder of her term on the City Council and will continue pushing for equity, both locally in Boulder and at the capitol.

“When you look at the makeup of the Council, most of the people on Council are upper class members of our community,” she said. “Even though I am a lawyer, I am very working class. I don’t know what it feels like to be in the majority. I don’t know what it’s like to be wealthy.”

Joseph said she’s a stakeholde­r in all of the bills she has helped introduce. One bill, — House Bill 1134 — recently passed through the House, and would require home warranty service contracts to offer homeowners the option of replacing gas-powered appliances with electric-powered ones. If passed by Senate and signed into law by the governor, the bill would

reduce greenhouse gases, and help reduce the rate of children with asthma, which is disproport­ionately Black, Joseph added.

Children in neighborho­ods with higher population density and with more low-income households and families living below the poverty level experience­d more asthma, as well as early and persistent wheeze, according to a study by the University

of Wisconsin-madison. The study found that Black and Hispanic children have a higher risk of asthma than white children, even in neighborho­ods with higher income. The researcher­s suggest that the social and environmen­tal legacy of structural racism may broadly and adversely influence respirator­y health.

“We know that people of color are disproport­ionately impacted,” Joseph said.

As Colorado looks to cut carbon emissions, many people point fingers at gas and oil refinery Suncor in Denver. But the problem is bigger than that, and so is the solution, Joseph said.

“We’re not looking at ourselves and saying ‘What can we do?'” she said. “That’s the whole reason that this legislatio­n can help. It will allow you to say ‘let’s go electric.’”

In the coming months, Joseph plans to spend her days just as she has since she was elected to represent District 10 and was later sworn in: She will wake up, go to the capitol and work. Then after that, she will continue to represent the city she resides in and loves, she said.

“The next nine months on the Council is to stand on those values I ran on,” Joseph said.

“We want to make sure we have diverse voices, and I try my best to listen to the community and be accountabl­e to them and vote in a way that reflects the community. I am delighted to be doing this job. I go to the capitol very early in the morning, and I get to work, and that’s just who I am. I love to work. I love being on Council, and I love being in the state capitol.”

Public Library on Saturday afternoon. Before that, on Friday, she visited three Boulder-area schools to meet with students, whom she said were good listeners and asked a lot of questions.

Around half of the proceeds from Bior’s book sales go to My Refugee Story Foundation, a nonprofit she establishe­d this year to help girls and boys receive education in South Sudan.

Bior sold around 10 copies at the museum Saturday, but said she cares more about the relationsh­ips she’s been able to form with people through her work.

“It’s the message that counts for me more so than the money,” she said. “I feel there’s a need for stories like mine to be spread so people can see that it does get better.”

a plea to have her remains returned to her family, the surviving sister made the decision to leave her remains in Boulder. It was not for lack of caring, but because Boulder is where Dorothy belongs.

The Jane Doe/dorothy Gay Howard story has been made into a 45-minute documentar­y now streaming on Hulu. It’s under the series title “Web of Death,” as “Episode 2, Boulder Jane Doe.”

What do Bent Barley Brewing, a 5-year-old beermaker in Aurora, and Wynkoop Brewing, the 35- yearold Lower Downtown mainstay co-founded by Sen. John Hickenloop­er, have in common? What about Ska Brewing, a regional IPA and lager specialist in Durango, and Bruz Beers, which turns out Belgiansty­le specialtie­s at its north Denver brewhouse?

You can find out when Collaborat­ion Fest returns on March 25.

The state’s signature beer festival, which is hosted by the Colorado Brewers Guild, will feature more than 120 unique collaborat­ive beers produced by 175 different breweries, including 20 from out of state.

What’s a collaborat­ive beer? It’s when two or more breweries work together on a beer, each bringing their own set of talent and skill, along with ingredient­s, flair and style.

“I’m delighted to see noncolorad­o breweries such as Beachwood Brewing and Monday Night Brewing on the roster, as well as Cyprez Tap Room out of Mexico,” said the guild’s executive director, Shawnee Adelson, in a written statement.

“This proves that Collaborat­ion Fest is a world-class beer event that brings both breweries near and far.”

Some of the collaborat­ions include: 105 West Brewing and The Elizabeth Brewing; Angry James Brewery and Locavore Beer Works; Cabin Creek Brewing and Soulcraft Brewing; Danico Brewing and Ursula Brewery; Denver Beer Co. and El Rancho Colorado; Glenwood Canyon Brewing and Craftsman Brew Co.; Great Divide Brewing and Boneyard Beer; Jade Mountain Brewing and Weldwerks Brewing; Los Dos Potrillos and River North Brewery; Mythmaker Brewing and Outworld Brewing; New Image Brewing Company and Cerebral Brewing; New Terrain Brewing and Fritz Family Brewers; and Novel Strand Brewing and Cohesion Brewing.

Collaborat­ion Fest takes place at The Westin Westminste­r, 10600 Westminste­r Blvd., in Westminste­r, on Saturday, March 25, from 3 to 6 p.m. General admission tickets are $65, while early-entry tickets (beginning at 2 p.m.) are $85. Get more informatio­n online.

 ?? MATTHEW JONAS — STAFF PHOTOGRAPH­ER ?? Boulder City Council member Junie Joseph poses for a portrait in council chambers on Thursday.
MATTHEW JONAS — STAFF PHOTOGRAPH­ER Boulder City Council member Junie Joseph poses for a portrait in council chambers on Thursday.

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