Marvin goes for mayor

Luke Zarzecki
Posted 3/6/23

Growing up, Julia Marvin’s family owned a pizza restaurant and it was one of her first jobs. It taught her some of the bedrock skills she continues to rely on today. 

Now, she’s …

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Marvin goes for mayor


Growing up, Julia Marvin’s family owned a pizza restaurant and it was one of her first jobs. It taught her some of the bedrock skills she continues to rely on today. 

Now, she’s running for mayor and plans to use those skills to connect more of the community to local government.  She's been a city councilor since 2019.

“I ran because I wanted to make sure that there was a voice for the people and that there were advocates for the people in the community,” she said. 

Voters will go to the polls in November to select the mayor for the next four years, as well as three City Councilors. Candidates can begin passing nomination forms and collecting signatures on Aug. 8.

Marvin said she's been a voice for the people already on the council — breaking down barriers, engaging people and putting them in the driver’s seat — but she sees more work that needs to be done.

“I think there's also a disconnect between our residents and their values and the representation on council,” she said. 

If elected, she has eight big priorities: protecting Thornton’s drinking water, a strong economy, smart growth, accessible multimodal transportation, accessible and accountable government, affordable housing, safe neighborhoods and diverse community services. 

She hopes to help create a strong economy that supports workers and provides opportunities for small businesses. Citing her family’s own small business, she wants to attract more coffee shops, restaurants, places to gather and other local entrepreneurs. 

Current issues 

For housing, Marvin wants to take a look at zoning codes and attract more housing stock that is attainable and affordable for residents. 

“...Housing that if you're a teacher, you can live here and work here,” she said. 

Marvin said there are actions that Thornton can take. One is land banking, where the city buys land and then partners with a housing authority to build affordable and attainable housing. 

She also thinks Thornton should create mandates or incentives for new developments to make the new housing affordable. 

Renters need housing support, too, she said. A tool city staff presented but didn’t gain consensus on was the creation of a rental registry, she said. The registry would make landlords apply for a permit that would come with an inspection process. 

The registry would also put landlord names and phone numbers on properties, making it easier for tenants to be able to contact them.  

“It helps us understand what kind of housing stock we might have and what's available and can help with long-term planning,” she said. 

Cost of living 

“Families here are struggling with the economy, with the cost of food, living and childcare,” Marvin said.

The role of local governments is to keep rates affordable, whether that’s the rec center membership or water costs, she said.  The cost of living also ties back to housing, she said, especially how local governments are supporting senior housing, affordable housing and others. 


Marvin said Thornton’s Police Chief Terrence Gordon runs an excellent department and is one of the reasons Thornton’s police department doesn’t have a lot of the problems other police departments do. 

Gordon and his work is one side of the equation, she said. The other side is fully funding communities. 

“When we underinvest in things like housing and infrastructure and schools and health care, that's what creates the environments where crimes happen,” Marvin said.  

Past issues

Marvin was part of 2022's grassroots movement that called for campaign finance reform. A group of residents collected signatures to put the issue on the 2022 November ballot, but fell short collecting signatures.

If passed, the ordinance would have limited contributions to candidates, created more frequent reporting deadlines, and required more disclosures on campaign materials. It also would have banned corporate, special interest and union money and made it easier to understand rules that govern making donations.

Marvin said candidates don’t have to file campaign contributions until after the ballots have been mailed. 

“If you were trying to find out who's funding the candidate, what kind of support they have and from where —  especially if it's coming from the wealthy donors or special interests — there's not really a good way to be able to find that,” she said. 

Disappointed that the initiative didn’t get enough signatures, she also noted the process is designed for residents to fail.

“Our ballot initiatives also aren’t set up for regular residents to succeed at it. You have to get 10% of voters, that was 9,000 signatures, (and just ) 21 days to do it. If you've got a full volunteer base, like this group did, it's tough,” she said. 

She said that each person she talked to while gathering signatures –  Democrats and Republicans alike –  said they were surprised Thornton didn’t already have those measures in place. 

For this election, she plans to report out more frequently and her campaign will be powered by small donors. However, she said it can be tough to run within all the parameters that need to be changed when the other candidates are not. 

“Because of the way the system is set up, how do you run within those parameters if no one else is running within those parameters?” she said. 

Thornton Shopping Center 

In a perfect world, Marvin said the city would have a resident-driven process to create a master plan for redeveloping the recently acquired Thornton Shopping Center. 

“This wouldn't have happened without the advocacy from residents,” she said. 

She said it’s important to hear the voice of the residents and what how they want the site transformed. Residents also need to be able to work with a developer that understands the vision. 

“Making sure that it really fits into the neighborhood and enhances it and doesn't take away from it,” she said. 

Jacque Phillips vote

On Feb. 9, 2022, Former City Councilor Jacque Phillips was voted off council 5-4, with those for the removal citing a purchase of a home in Alamosa and starting a second job there. Marvin voted against it. 

She said it was politically charged and that the process needs to be looked at. She said there weren’t parameters or objective measures for councilors to consider. 

“Jacque could have presented what she did, like her voter registration, her car registration, she owns a house here and her law office is registered here,” Marvin said. “She had all of those things, but it wasn't ‘that’s what’s considered residency.’” 

Marvin said if the Ward 1 voters were unhappy with who was representing them, they could have initiated a recall election. 

“It wasn’t a secret to anybody that Jacque did not get along with those five counselors and so I think we knew going in (to the vote) what the intent was,” Marvin said. 

Thornton water project 

One of the bigger issues is the Thornton water project, and Marvin said the city is in the process of submitting another permit to Larimer County to allow a pipeline from the Cache La Poudre River to Thornton. Marvin said it's important to talk with Larimer to understand what they’re looking for. 

“The biggest thing is going to be working with Larimer County. It's our water, we have the rights to it. So how do we make that happen while addressing some of the concerns that (Larimer has)?” she said. 


The Environmental Protection Agency set a new health advisory on June 15 at 0.0004 parts per trillion for PFOA and 0.02 parts per trillion for PFOS. 

In May 2022, the Thornton Water Treatment Plant measured 7.1 parts per trillion for PFOA and 3.5 parts per trillion for PFOS. The Wes Brown Water Treatment Plant saw 5.4 parts per trillion for PFOA and 2.0 parts per trillion for PFOS.

City Spokesperson Todd Barnes said meeting the new advisory will be costly with the need to update and upgrade water treatment facilities. Marvin doesn’t want Thornton residents on the hook for those costs. 

“I strongly believe that the cost of cleanup should not be paid for by taxpayers. It should be paid by the people that are responsible for the contamination,” she said. 

She cited the city moving forward with a lawsuit against those sources of contamination. 

Fracking in Thornton 

On Nov. 29, Thornton city council approved a proposed 10-well fracking site at the southeast corner of the E-470 and I-25 intersection. Marvin was one of the votes against it. 

“We have a responsibility to protect the health and safety of our residents,” she said.

Civitas, the company applying for the site, went through an operator agreement and staff recommended approval. According to Wahab, the negotiated terms are more protective than city and state requirements. 

Even if city council didn’t approve the project, it would’ve most likely been given the green light through a different route of authorization.

Marvin sees certain city codes need to be updated and advocacy at the state level can help.

Thornton, election, mayor, Julia Marvin


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