2020 Board Candidate Biographies

Running for a First Term:

Arriana Salma Belkin

Arriana currently serves as the Public Affairs Manager at Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM), where she works to engage others in the political and advocacy process to defend women’s health and reproductive rights. Additionally, as a board member for Emerge, she is committed to training and developing new female leaders to run for office and win. As a young Muslim American woman, she understands what is at stake for women and women of color especially. Arriana remains engaged in progressive political work and is active at all levels, from grassroots organizing to the strategic and data side.   

Steve Chavez

Steve has been a life-long resident of Denver. He grew up in West Denver in public housing and personally experienced many of the inequities that people of color experience regarding poverty, family mental illness, domestic violence, lack of a quality education, health care disparities, and police brutality to name a few. He developed a keen sense of social justice as a young man and always felt like an “other”.

In college, Steve thought he wanted to be a medical doctor but witnessed abject poverty in the Colonias of Fort Collins while organizing in the Latino community.  He decided instead that he wanted to be a lawyer and attended the University of Colorado School of Law at a time when there was tremendous social injustice in the United States, including Boulder, Colorado. As a member of the Chicano Law Students, Steve participated in many social justice initiatives. He has always been a helper for the underserved.

As a young practicing lawyer, Steve had to opportunity to prosecute corporate polluters who violated environmental laws related to water and air. He also developed an expertise helping employers rid themselves of men who intimidated, sexually harassed and assaulted women in the workplace. As the Director of Civil Rights Enforcement for Colorado, Steve had the opportunity to advance Colorado’s civil rights laws in employment, housing and public accommodations with an emphasis on sexual orientation issues. He continues his work advising non-profits that advocate for social justice.

Faisal Salahuddin

Recognized by Thomson Reuters as a “2020 Super Lawyer” and previously as a “Rising Star” in Criminal Defense in 2015- 2019. Faisal’s practice includes civil rights, criminal defense, employment discrimination, and constitutional law. In 2018 and 2019, Faisal was also recognized as one of Denver’s top civil rights litigators by 5280 Magazine. Before forming Frank & Salahuddin LLC, Faisal was an associate at Killmer, Lane and Newman LLP (“KLN”). While at KLN, Faisal worked under the guidance and tutelage of some of Denver’s best-known and most accomplished attorneys, David Lane, Darold Killmer, and Mari Newman. He was interviewed numerous times by media outlets regarding the Occupy Denver protests of 2011 and related free speech issues. A passionate advocate of First Amendment rights, Faisal works as pro bono associate counsel with the ACLU of Colorado, and for the last four years has worked as co-counsel on a number of cases with the highly regarded defense attorney David Wymore. Faisal began his legal career as a Deputy State Public Defender in El Paso County and then in Arapahoe County, handling both felony and misdemeanor cases. Since 2008, he has trained attorneys and law students across Colorado on various aspects of trial work. While he was at the University of Colorado School of Law, Faisal worked as a law clerk at two nationally-recognized firms, Patton Boggs LLP (now Squire Patton Boggs LLP) and Reilly Pozner LLP.

Running for a Second Term:

Ben Hand-Bender

Ben Hand-Bender is a Deputy Public Defender for the State of Colorado. Before practicing indigent criminal defense, he worked in education, politics, and the non-profit sector. He has been involved with the ACLU for over 20 years. Ben is proud to be a member and supporter of an organization dedicated to protecting the civil liberties of all.

Marcus Ollig

Marcus Ollig is a business veteran with over twenty-five years experience in senior management positions at Fortune 500 companies and his own companies, The Advocates & Targeted Legal Staffing Solutions (TLSS).  Marcus has a long history of passionate involvement in social causes in a variety of areas. He started his career working as Special Projects Director for the Lt. Governor of Colorado where he worked on a variety of issues, including research on a major women’s health initiative, gun control and resolving a land rights dispute for the people of the San Luis Valley. More recently, serving on the leadership team of a board of trustees for a local school, he led the effort to overhaul the school’s bylaws and worked to expand diversity participation on the Board. Marcus was instrumental in guiding the school through a number of difficult transitions.

At The Advocates, his practice focuses on partner-placements and group mergers for law firms and he works with law firm leaders to achieve their strategic growth objectives.  Marcus has consulted on law firm management issues ranging from interviewing and retention, to providing market insights and guidance. The Advocates has an active role in the community, allowing its employees to choose a charitable organization that the company gives both money and employee time to.

Dr. Maurice “Scotty” Scott

Dr. Maurice “Scotty” Scott is a family physician and native of Denver who is happy to be back in the city after completing his fellowship training in Palliative Medicine at The University of Chicago.  He splits his time between serving as attending physician on the University of Colorado Hospital Palliative Care Consult Service, providing telehealth palliative care services for a rural mountain hospital, teaching in the Masters of Science in Palliative Care program, and overseeing the Problem-Based Learning Curriculum for first- and second-year medical students. 

When seeing patients, he appreciates having medical students, residents, and fellows work alongside him, as he is uniquely fitted to model a comfortability with empathic presence and sitting in silence with patients and families during their times of grieving. The ability to be comfortable in the uncomfortable silence is a learned trait and one that, even among those in palliative care, is rare to behold.