An entrepreneur and former business development professional with the city of Colorado Springs launched his bid for mayor Monday in front of an enthusiastic crowd.
Yemi Mobolade, a west African immigrant, promised to bring fresh vision to the city as a political newcomer who is neither a Republican nor a Democrat.
"My affiliation is to this great city," he said.
He would put his business background to work ensuring Colorado Springs is the best place to do business by streamlining the process to start new ventures. He worked closely with small business representatives on similar initiatives in his most recent position as the former Small Business Development administrator for the city. He brings personal experience to business development as the co-founder of Good Neighbors Meeting House and The Wild Goose Meeting House.
A former pastor, Mobolade also promised to convene the community to determine the best way to address tough issues, such as funding for parks, through collaboration and to lead with empathy and humility. As a co-founder of COSILOVEYou, a faith-based nonprofit that brings people together to do service projects, he has experience with community organizing.
"The best part of the plan is you. ... There is nothing we can't accomplish together," he said.
He noted many residents are feeling the pressures of high costs of living and inflation and that economic hard times could be on the horizon. He promised to champion projects that would encourage a greater diversity of housing through flexible zoning and redevelopment.
"I believe our city stands at this crossroads and this moment calls for a new generation of leadership with fresh ideas to move all people forward, and we keep growing but we grow mindfully and responsibly," he said.
Improving safety amidst rising crime would also be one of his top priorities and he would focus on "humanizing the badge," recruiting officers who are reflective of the community and building on successful initiatives to help those in crisis, such as the community response and homeless outreach teams.
When it comes to roads, Mobolade said he would work to create a permanent source of funding for maintenance that would build on the dedicated sales tax funding most recently extended through 2025.
In his administration, all the quadrants of the city would be represented to help build a city that is united.
"I will work to increase transparency, access to and restore your trust in government," he said.
Mobalade faces three competitors in the race for mayor's seat slated for a year from Monday.
City Councilman and former Secretary of State Wayne Williams, County Commissioner Longinos Gonzalez and former City Councilman and County Commissioner Darryl Glenn are also in the race.
Mayor John Suthers is term-limited and cannot run again.