8 candidates for Basalt council, 2 for mayor | AspenTimes.com

8 candidates for Basalt council, 2 for mayor

Staff report

The final lineup of candidates for the April 5 Basalt election features two political veterans squaring off in the mayor's race and eight candidates seeking three council seats.

In the mayor's race, incumbent Jacque Whitsitt is seeking re-election to a four-year term. She is challenged by Rick Stevens, a former mayor and current councilman whose term is expiring.

Councilman Bernie Grauer, who picked up a petition for the mayor's race, decided against a bid, according to Town Clerk Pam Schilling. Grauer will remain on the council. He is in the middle of a four-year term.

Schilling said the following candidates submitted nomination petitions to run for the three at-large council seats: Incumbents Rob Leavitt and Herschel Ross and challengers Bel Carpenter, Leroy Duroux, Mark Kwiecienski, Jen Riffle, Auden Schendler and Katie Schwoerer.

Duroux is a former mayor and councilman, and Schwoerer recently served on the council. Both of them have been off the board for four years.

Basalt politics tends to attract some of the same faces, and this year is no exception. Both mayoral candidates and four of the eight council candidates already are on the board or recently were on it.

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The four remaining candidates are familiar faces on Basalt civic issues. Carpenter is a member of the Pan and Fork Citizens' Committee, which launched a citizens' initiative to try to get the town to buy property. Kwiecienski has been immersed in the Pan and Fork issue for more than a year, though not formally part of the most recent committee. Riffle has spoken on various land-use issues in recent year and successfully lobbied the council to allow residents to keep chickens in their yards. Schendler is vice president of sustainability at Aspen Skiing Co.

Two people who took out petitions for the council race decided against running. Carol Hawk and Haley Thompson didn't submit their nomination petitions. Candidates can withdraw by Feb. 2. Ballots will get mailed in March. Election day is April 5.

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