Highlands Ranch is a community of over 100,000 people, and we're represented by our Metro District for municipal services like road maintenance, open space management, utilities, and community programs. The Metro District also runs the Highlands Ranch mansion. 


With a budget of over $70 million and more than 80 full- or part-time employees, the Metro District controls a considerable amount of our tax dollars and interests. We elect seven people to its Board of Directors, and in 2020 there are three seats up for election representing three different regions of the Metro District. Voters choose a candidate for each seat regardless of where they live, meaning you can vote for candidates in all three seats even though you may not live in their region.

Here you can learn about our candidates (Barrett, Paula, and Michelle), their policies, and how you can help elect them to the HRMD Board of Directors!


- Our Candidates -


North Central

Paula Smith

Paula, her husband, and two children have called Highlands Ranch home for over a decade. Paula is a business analyst for a large, enterprise software firm and has a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt. She is an active member and officer of several local advocacy groups.



Barrett Rothe

Barrett and his wife decided to make Highlands Ranch their home just after having their first daughter. He is a project manager in healthcare finance and also holds a Master of Public Administration from the University of Colorado, Denver. His second daughter was born here in 2018.



Michelle Leuenberger

Michelle, her husband, and three children live in Highlands Ranch where Michelle is active in local community groups like Indivisible and Mom's Demand Action. Michelle worked in the Douglas County Clerk and Recorder's office during the 2018 election.


- Their Platform -

Paula, Barrett, and Michelle share values, but they each have different approaches to better policy. What they all agree on is that the Highlands Ranch Metro District could be doing more to better serve your tax dollars. Below you'll find an overview of the policies, ideas, and priorities they will bring to the Board of Directors.

The Basics

Everyone wants to finally finish the Senior Center, pay down our debts, and increase property values. Those are just the minimum expectations! Your tax dollars should be represented by leaders trying to do better, not just keeping the lights on. Paula, Barrett, and Michelle want to ensure you get a return on the money you put into the District.


Every other municipal government has citizen advisory boards to get feedback from residents, but not the Highlands Ranch Metro District. Paula, Barrett, and Michelle want to change that by bringing expertise and community values together on committees that will consider economic development, transit, and other important issues.


Good government must start with accountability for the people we elect. Right now the difficulty of participating in Metro District elections is unacceptable. It can and should be easier to hold your elected officials accountable, receive a ballot, and vote for the Board of Directors. Colorado voters expect nothing less.

The Economy

Metro Districts in Colorado have broad powers to support businesses, but for years the HRMD has not taken the initiative to do better. Paula, Barrett, and Michelle believe the Metro District should be doing much more to support small-business owners and entrepreneurs, while recruiting businesses to Highlands Ranch just like they do in every other community in Douglas County.


Highlands Ranch needs leadership with a vision and good strategy. It starts with managing Metro District operations in a proactive way. An update of the HRMD website, better communication with residents, a closer relationship with the HRCA, and strong support of the hard-working Metro District staff should be top priorities for the elected Directors.


It is time for the leaders of Highlands Ranch to truly and actively represent the people of our community. That means petitioning our legislators, county commissioners, and state government to better serve our citizens. It also means doing more to support our neighbors most in need, better preparation for emergencies like COVID-19, and ensuring we are prepared for any challenge ahead.


- How You Can Help -

Better government starts with you! We are working hard to win this election and every contribution helps us win on May 5th. The first thing you need to know is that you have to request a ballot in this election to vote by mail! You must request yours by April 28th and your voted ballot must be in the hands of the election officials by May 5th.

Here are the other ways you can help put Paula, Barrett, and Michelle on the board!

  • Donate to the Douglas County Municipal Alliance and help fuel our grassroots effort!

  • Sign-up to get a yard sign, write letters to the editor, and more!

  • Follow-us on Facebook and help spread the word in your social network.

  • Contact us with any questions or ideas.