Profiles in Power highlights public officials nationwide who are improving their communities through their dedication, enthusiasm, creativity and experience.
This week’s profile is Aaron Brockett, mayor of Boulder, Colorado.
Public career highlights and education: I got my start in public service when I applied to the city’s planning board 13-odd years ago, being appointed by the City Council. I spent the first five years helping determine which buildings and developments to approve to be built in the city of Boulder. I learned a huge amount from that. As I was nearing the end of my term I ran for council and was elected eight years ago and re-elected four years ago. I have worked on all kinds of projects, too numerous to mention.
Then, I was appointed mayor by my colleagues two years ago. The system was that the mayor was elected within the city council, but that changed this current year when we held a direct election of the mayor for the first time in the city’s history, which I won. I was just sworn in Dec. 7, 2023.
What I like best about public service: It comes down to making a difference in the community – passing policies, ordinances and budgets that have a true impact. I particularly strive to help those that are really struggling, those living paycheck to paycheck, maybe food insecure or without stable housing conditions. We’ve been able to help people who are losing their house, for example. That’s making a real difference in people’s lives.
The best advice I’ve received: It is a hard one, so many leaders, mentors and friends who have helped me over the years. The best advice I’ve ever gotten is listen before you talk, you don’t have all the answers, learn from other people.
People might be interested to know that: My career was in software development, but I majored in music. Before I got too busy with politics, I sang in a local chorus.
One thing I wish more people knew about local governments: People spend a lot of their time focusing on national politics, what’s going in Congress or the presidential race, those kind of things. But it is local government that really makes a difference in people’s day-to-day lives. I love it when people get engaged with local government. I’d wish our culture and news sources paid more attention to local government because so much of the good work happens at that level.