Mark Udall may be Colorado’s newest senator, but six days before November’s election, he was walking the streets of Five Points, reaching out to minority business owners and community members as a hopeful candidate and Barack Obama advocate.
On Thursday, Oct. 30, a bus carrying Udall, wife Maggie Fox, sister Kate – a television actress visiting from New York City – and various campaign staffers, pulled up to the offices of Civil Technology Inc., 2413 Washington St. Inside the construction management, planning and redevelopment firm, the congressman was met by a group of supports, many displaying Obama pins and Udall stickers. Of those showing support was former councilwoman Allegra “Happy” Haynes – wearing a blue Udall vest and matching Obama visor – and Councilman Michael Hancock.
“Are you ready to move your offices to Washington?” Hancock asked.
“Not yet,” Udall responded.
“Well, we’ll do that for you,” Hancock said.
Carl Bourgeois, who founded and owns Civil Technology along with his brother Charles Nelson, greeted the crowd and deferred the speaking responsibilities to James Ellis, senior associate. Ellis spoke briefly about the company’s community efforts – Civil Technology has been responsible for many building rehabilitation efforts in Five Points – and gave the floor to Udall.
“I hope to work with you as U.S. Senator,” Udall said to Ellis and the crowd of about 20 people. “I will be in this community.”
After leaving, Haynes acted as impromptu tour guide, leading Udall and company along Washington St., all the while describing the history of the block. She pointed out a row house where Carl Nelson had once lived, the historic firehouse DFD No. 3, and the old Denver Urban Spectrum office at 2499 Washington St.
“What is Amendment 46?” Udall’s sister Kate asked when the group walked by a yard sign for the now failed anti-affirmative action plan.
“It’s a bad…A badass amendment,” Udall responded.
Ready for lunch, the Udall tour arrived at Tom’s Home Cookin’, 800 E 26th Ave. The southern comfort style eatery was busy as normal, with a line out the door. “Get out and vote,” Udall encouraged a group of young eaters at tables outside.
Inside, Tom Unterwagner, who co-owns the restaurant with Steve Jankovsky, was serving the food behind the counter, including the catfish that Udall ordered.
“My wife is from the Carolinas and she has taught me to love all of that food; catfish and collard greens,” Udall said.
After lunch, Udall entered Mocha Motive Café, 2732 Welton St., owned and operated by the congressman’s longtime supporter Sandra Hullum. Udall gave her a hug and asked about the Obama bumper stickers she had been selling. He also bought her last two chocolate chip cookies.
Finally, Udall’s entourage arrived at the Obama Campaign For Change office, 2736 Welton Street, where Udall talked with volunteers making phone calls.
“Thank you,” Udall told a group of young volunteers. “I am almost 60, and I can’t tell you how big of a deal this is. It’s historic and we are going to get it done. No rest.”
Following his encouragement, campaign organizer Robert Flood raised his early ballot into the air and said, “We are leading the force,” as he left to vote.
Two hours after arriving in Five Points, Udall was off for a continued day of campaigning, which would end with a televised debate opposite opponent Bob Schafer.
When asked what he would do for minority owned businesses if elected senator, Udall responded, “I’ll do what I’ve always done; work for those businesses and get people back in jobs.”
Photos by Cecile Perrin
Udall and Haynes
Udall and Hancock at Civil Technology
Udall and Hullum at Mocha Motive Cafe
Udall visiting Obama volunteers at the Campaign For Change office