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About Harriet

 

EARLY LIFE

Harriet was born in Los Angeles, California but, because her father was a minister, her family lived in three different states during her childhood. That was the beginning of her lifetime love of world travel.

“My father had a sense of mission that kept us moving - to the next city wherever the call took us….  I inherited my sense of mission from him. For years my mission has been community mental health--and now I am broadening it to include the community as a whole.”

After completing high school in Pennsylvania, she earned her undergraduate degree in Ohio. She then moved on to the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where she obtained a PhD in Psychology.

 

CAREER

Because she was anxious to get back to the western U.S., Harriet landed an internship with the Colorado mental health system in Denver.  After working in Weld and Adams Counties, in 1981 Harriet began her tenure at the Jefferson Center for Mental Health in Arvada.  At that time, Jefferson Center had approximately 70 employees serving all of Jefferson County.

By 1984, Harriet had been named Chief Executive Officer and President of Jefferson Center, a position she held for 34 years until her semi-retirement in 2018. She still works part-time as an advisor in whatever capacity she is needed.

"Given how much we moved when I was a kid, I never would have predicted I would have stayed in one place so long….  But in Arvada I truly found a community worth working for."

During her long career at Jefferson Center, Harriet worked hard to improve the quality and scope of the mental health services provided by the Center.  Currently, the center has more than 600 employees providing a wide range of services from 20+ locations in 3 front range counties.  Before her retirement, Harriet negotiated the acquisition of the previously failing Arapahoe House withdrawal management (detox) and treatment center. She simply could not accept the idea that local citizens would lose those very important intervention services.

In addition to guiding the mental health center to provide services to anyone in need, Harriet has led the response to numerous mental health crises.  Jefferson Center response teams have been on the front lines of a variety of traumatic events.  Most notably, Harriet and her team were among the first responders in the 1999 Columbine High School tragedy.  They provided counseling and other services to the students, their families, school staff and other emergency response workers for nearly three years.  Following Columbine, Harriet's commitment to providing care to anyone who needed it because of the tragedy meant fighting for resources in the face of faltering state funding, and becoming adept at grant writing and other means of fundraising.

“Responding to the Columbine tragedy tested many. I knew that my job was to find resources for the whole community, not only the victims, to heal.”

Harriet is known nationwide for her innovative approach to confronting a very serious need for better mental health services. Her visionary leadership abilities have generated requests for her to sit on a variety of boards and committees over the years and she has been recognized often for her contributions.

COMMUNITY ADVOCACY

When Harriet first became an Arvada resident in 1988, she had no idea that our city would steal her heart and convince her to make this her adopted “hometown”.  With her first home located in the historic Olde Town area, it didn’t take long for her to realize she had found a unique and charming place to live.

As she worked to improve and expand the mental health resources in Jefferson County, she began to see changes to the city that caused her concern.  Harriet saw this as another challenge, and she began to take on the role of community advocate in her “spare time”.  She is currently a member of the Arvada Sustainability Advisory Committee and the board of Community Table (the local food bank). Previously, she was a member of the Gold Corridor Stakeholder Committee and the most recent Citizens Capital Improvement Project Committee, charged with making recommendations to city council about the most appropriate capital improvements needed in Arvada.

Harriet believes in “Smart Growth” rather than the unbridled land development taking place in Arvada in the past several years.  She has made every effort to motivate city leadership to see the difference.

"One of my frustrations was that Mental Health Center Board meetings and City Council meetings were always on the same night, which kept me from attending Council regularly.  Now I have no such constraints!" 

Because of her concern for issues such as inappropriate land development, a lack of affordable housing, historic preservation, and a growing homeless population, Harriet has chosen to run for Arvada Mayor. Harriet's career was characterized by her effective use of thoughtful, innovative, and collaborative leadership. Those same qualities will enable her to partner with other councilmembers to raise the bar on decision making, on behalf of Arvadans and our quality of life. 

 

PERSONAL INTERESTS

Harriet first came to Jefferson County in 1981 and by 1988 she had purchased a home in the Reno Park Historic District in Olde Town Arvada.  In 1996, Harriet and her husband, Geoff, moved to another Arvada home, this one in the Stocke Walter historic district.  She loves to garden, and she and Geoff have turned their property into a beautiful oasis that includes lush gardens and a koi and duck pond.

"Planning for retirement, we considered moving, or buying a second home, but decided instead to build our retirement home right where we were, because what better place than Arvada?"

Harriet is also a proud grandparent, world traveler, lover of fine wine, and community advocate. 

If you are looking for more common sense and real collaboration at City Hall,  Harriet Hall is the best choice for Arvada Mayor.

 

 


 

Hall for City Hall
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