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Deborah “Debbie” Ortega is an at-large member of Denver City Council representing the entire city. She was elected to an at-large position on Denver City Council in 2011 and was re-elected in 2016.
Born in Raton, New Mexico, Debbie is the daughter of a coal miner who was killed in a mine accident. Her mom raised Debbie, her four sisters and brother for a number of years before marrying her step dad. The family came to Denver when she was 13. She attended Kepner Middle School. Debbie still regularly walks Sloans Lake with her middle school friend Michelle. Following graduation from West High School, the councilwoman was called to a life of public service. She worked for former Lt. Governor George Brown and U.S. Senator Floyd Haskell before accepting a position with Denver City Councilman Sal Carpio in 1979. She was elected as Carpio’s successor in 1987 and served until 2003 when term limits required she leave office. Councilwoman Ortega continued her public service after leaving office serving as the first executive director of Denver Commission on Homelessness. She serves as chair of Del Norte Neighborhood Development Corporation, a non-profit building affordable housing. She has also served on the board of directors and chair of the board of Latina Safe house.
Councilwoman Ortega raised her daughter Janelle in Denver. Janelle and her husband Gabe are also raising their four children in Denver.