NORTH FORTY: First off, can you tell us a little about your personal interests?
JENI: I always say my personal interests are running, swimming, biking, and talking to people. Also, I suppose reading and knitting are two other pastimes.
NORTH FORTY: If you had the perfect forum to get messages across to the residents and the region, what would that look like for you?
JENI: I would like a publicly owned newspaper. I’m a big fan of locally owned newspapers[…]we don’t have a community bulletin anymore. I’m interested in how we go about having a trusted, non-biased source of information that communicates to the residents, that’s reliable and consistent and accurate because, in the long run, that’s what helps everyone[…]My fundamental thing is communities should be designed by the people who live in them, the elections should be the highest number of people participating as possible, and that’s how you get the community to reflect what the community wants.
NORTH FORTY: What made you initially decide to run for mayor of Fort Collins?
JENI: It was an open seat and frankly I was getting phone calls across the political spectrum asking if I would run for mayor. I saw a chance to keep Fort Collins on track in terms of not going the way a lot of other places have gone in terms of being super ideological and having a split in our community. That piqued my interest and I thought I wonder if we could do it that way because that’s a good goal. Honestly, that’s what got me thinking about it. If I had gotten calls just from one party, that’s not as intriguing to me in terms of how you govern a city; governing a city shouldn’t be ideological in nature, so when I started getting calls from former mayors asking if I would consider running, I thought, ‘Wow, we can really do this together.’ I think (with me) people saw fundamental fairness or willingness to listen and see all sides of an issue; as Jacy Marmaduke (of the Coloradoan) said to me the other day, ‘you always go for the unsexy sort of nuts-and-bolts approach to help things just go better.’ I told her, ‘well, thank you for recognizing that because yeah, that’s what I do.’ I think people notice and appreciate that fact; I was surprised and flattered that they noticed that, but it’s true.
NORTH FORTY: What are some of the key issues that you’ve been passionate about since your time serving in office?
JENI: I mean this totally sincerely: my issues are the issues of the people. Everyone asks, ‘what’s your agenda’ and I tell them my agenda is yours and I mean it. That’s service, it’s not about me. Personally, because I was a special education teacher and professor, I’m very emphatic about full inclusion, so when we talk about diversity, equity and inclusion, people always jump right to race and that’s certainly a part of it, but I’m very passionate about people with disabilities; that would be the only personal issue I would bring to the table.
NORTH FORTY: Any plans of running for another term?
JENI: Yes, absolutely, I am intending to run again next term.
NORTH FORTY: Lastly, is there anything else you’d like to say to the public?
JENI: People can just call me; a little girl came from Dunn (Elementary IB World School) to shadow me for an afternoon and then went and reported to her student council and they asked her, ‘how did you get in touch with the mayor’ and she told them, ‘I called her.’ People can just call me; government is open, and everyone is welcome anytime.