Teacher Tim Hernández was recently selected by the voting members of the Denver Democrats of House District 4 (HD4).
Colorado legislative vacancies are filled by the party of the vacating member. A vacancy in HD4 was created when Representative Serena Gonzales- Gutierrez was elected into an at-large seat on Denver City Council.
Attending the candidate forum at Regis University were representative hopefuls Cecilia Espinoza, who was in HD4 leadership for several years and is a retired employee of the Department of Justice, and former Weld County state representative Rochelle Galindo.
All candidates gave their reasons as to why they should be selected, but it was Hernández who brought the loudest voice and emphatic passion to the forum, as he promised to tackle gun control legislation and to provide assistance to school districts in need.
“This moment belongs to those who struggle, who choose to struggle,” Hernández said. “What I’m going to ask you to do is if at any point in your life you feel like you’ve struggled, you have been oppressed, whether you’re Black, Brown, Indigenous, if you’re a woman, if you’re LGBTQ+, if you’re poor I want you to raise your hand.” “This moment belongs to all of us, and everybody raising your hands, it’s gonna take all of us to uproot oppression,” he continued. “Homies, that’s exactly how oppression works. It’s not just one person. It’s not just one identity. It impacts everybody.”
Hernández was selected by 70 voting members, gaining 39 votes to Espinoza’s 27 and Galindo’s two. Following the vote totals, Hernández led a chant with his supporters as well as some of his students.
“I know what gun violence is like because I sit with friends who are afraid to die,” Hernández said during his closing statements. “Yeah, we need to take it on, head-on. We need to take our housing crisis head-on for families and parents. We need to take on the issue of what is showing up in our schools, not just because of funding, but because, in case you don’t know, we’re in the middle of a teacher shortage where teachers aren’t just leaving their schools, they are leaving the profession entirely.”
“We need to make sure that what we are building is conducive to the next generation to lean on our democratic values from a place of lived experience,” he added.
Hernández worked at North High School until his contract was not renewed, sparking a walkout by students in 2022. He is currently planning to work with Urban Peak. Hernández said his background in education as well as his work with Sen. Chuck Schumer’s office in Washington, D.C., gave him the necessary tools to be a qualified replacement.
“I believe that organized people will always end up on the right side of history,” Hernández told The Denver North Star after the event. “We worked (hard) to make sure we were organized and we made sure that this place and this neighborhood will be represented by somebody who knows our place, who can speak to our issues from a place of lived experience and can hopefully work to end oppressive policies as it shows up for our community.”
Note: Hernández was sworn in on Tuesday, Sept. 12, after the print edition of the paper went to press.