Veronica's Background

Veronica Barela has served as the President and CEO of NEWSED Community Development Corporation since 1978. NEWSED is a nationally recognized non-profit whose early focus was the holistic revitalization of Denver’s westside community. NEWSED has since expanded its focus to serve the entire Denver Metro Area through its housing counseling, small business development and lending programs. Veronica is now retired after 40 years of service. She is recognized for the revitalization of Santa Fe Drive (between 6th and 14th avenue) and bringing the Cinco de Mayo back to the community. Today the Denver Cinco de Mayo is the largest cultural event in Colorado.


Under Veronica’s leadership at NEWSED she created partnerships with the city of Denver and others vital stakeholders that have ushered in hundreds of businesses to locate to Santa Fe Drive and the surrounding area thereby creating thousands of jobs. She has developed affordable for sale and rental housing and three shopping centers. Veronica has received national attention for her work in community development and is the recipient of several major proclamations and honors. 

Ms. Barela has a Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) from the University of Colorado at Denver.  Her undergraduate degrees are in both Public Administration and Psychology from Metropolitan State University. Veronica has served on various committees related to People of Color and M/WBE issues for the State, City and Denver Public Schools.

Veronica is married to Thatcher Barela and has two daughters Anna Abeyta and Andrea Barela. Her son-in-law’s are Paul Abeyta and Jason Torrez and her four grandsons are Christian and Brandon Abeyta and Israel and Noah Martinez. 

Local & National Community Involvement

Mayor Federico Pena’s Hispanic Advisory Council, 1982 - 1991

Mayor Wellington Webb’s Hispanic Advisory Council, 1991 – 2003

Mayor John Hickenlooper’s Hispanic Advisory Council, 2004 – 2007

Co-Chair of the Advisory Council

Governor’s Appointment, Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA), 1993 - 2001; Chair of the Board, 2000

Board of Directors, National Center for Community Change (CCC), Washington D.C. 1999 - 2004

Santa Fe Drive Redevelopment Board of Directors (SFDRC), 1979 – 2016

Chancellor’s Advisory Board, University of Colorado at Denver 1985 - 1989

Hispanics of Colorado (HOC), 1986 – 1995; President 1989 - 1992

People of Color Coalition (PCC), Co-Chair 1992 - 1995

Governor’s Federal Reserve Board appointment to the Consumer Advisor Council for the Federal Reserve 1990 - 1993

Board of Directors, National Community Reinvestment Coalition Board (NCRC), Washington D.C., 1993 - 1998

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), 1992 - 1996

Mayoral Appointment, Board of Directors, Denver Housing Authority (DHA), 2002 - 2008

Mayoral appointment to Construction Empowerment Initiative (CEI), 2008 - Present

Chair of the Committee for City and Airport Fairness (CCAF), 2008 – Present

Board Member, National Association of Latino Community Asset Builders (NALCAB), Washington D.C. & San Antonio Texas, 2008 - 2018

Co-Chair West Denver Equitable Education Collaborative (WDEEC), 2010 - Present

Board Member of the Denver Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (DHCC), 2013 - 2018

Member of the Board of Trustees, Denver Zoological Foundation 2013 – 2018

Co-Chair of the Colorado Latino Forum (CLF), 2016 – Present; Board Member 2013 – Present

Governor’s Appointment to the Auraria Higher Education Center (AHEC), 2017 - Present



" Veronica has spent her whole adult working to promote economic development, housing, and creating community programs that increase income and education levers for disadvantaged communities. I have know doubt she will work to protect and stabilize communities, so they will maintain affordability. "

Ramona E Martinez

Former Member Denver City Council District #3

" Veronica has never been afraid to roll up her sleeves to get the job done. She has always been an advocate for the disenfranchised. Her contribution to the Santa Fe District is exceptional. Today many enjoy the artistic and cultural events that happen on Santa Fe, because Veronica's vision made this happen."

The Honorable Fran Coleman

Former State Representative

" I support Veronica Barela because her entire life has been focused on serving West Denver through improving our neighborhoods. She recognized the value of our families through insuring that West High remained open with high quality programs, help lead NEWSED to improve West Denver, began Cinco de Mayo to showcase the Latin culture and always made sure our voices were heard at the city level."

Rita Cordova

Barnum Resident



University of Colorado at Denver, Graduated 2007 Masters Degree in Public Administration

Metropolitan State College, Graduated 1977, BA in Public Administration, BA in Psychology



Denver Community Leadership Forum, sponsored by The Center for Public/Private Sector, Graduated 1985

National Internship in Community Economic Development, Graduated 1983 Training Institute, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Leadership Development and Advocacy Program, Graduated 1983, Sponsored by the Mexican American Legal Defense And Education Fund (MALDEF)