Kole considering run for mayor
April 7, 2003
Yeah, he knows what you’re thinking. Actually, local talk-show host Andrew Kole is a bit skeptical of his chances, too. “I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a longshot,” Kole chuckles.Longshot or not, Kole has thrown his hat into the ring. Sort of.On Friday – just a few hours before the city’s 5 p.m. deadline – Kole filed a petition to become an official candidate for Aspen mayor, joining incumbent Helen Klanderud and City Council member Terry Paulson in the race. The filing came as a surprise to some, but viewers of GrassRoots TV’s “Andrew Kole Show” had an inkling – the outspoken host threatened to run earlier this year, when it seemed that Klanderud would enter the May 6 election unopposed.But whether or not Kole will actually run is still in question. Though he is now an official mayoral candidate, he has until April 11 – the last day candidates may withdraw from the election – to decide whether he will actually campaign for the position.Kole says he entered the race to “create a different choice” for Aspen voters. At the moment, he doesn’t see a big difference between Klanderud and Paulson as candidates – the issues they support and oppose are very similar.”The quote I’ve kind of been attached to is ‘creating a better debate for the mayoral candidates,'” Kole said. Kole says he’ll watch the next week of election debate carefully. If he feels voters haven’t been given enough variety on their ballots, he might launch a full-fledged campaign. If his efforts aren’t given enough support, he might withdraw from the race altogether.Kole promises that, if he does choose to launch an all-out campaign, he’ll immediately circulate press materials highlighting his top platform issues. But no matter what his final decision might be – to run, or not to run? – Kole doesn’t mind discussing his top election season concerns.No. 1 on Kole’s list is Aspen’s lethargic economy.”I would have to say the economy of the town is the number-one issue, whether I run or not,” he said.For Kole, it’s a no-brainer: market it, and they will come. And they will bring money for shopping and skiing.As viewers of Kole’s GrassRoots TV show must know by now, he has an opinion or two about the best way to market Aspen as a tourist destination. For starters, he’d like to see money earmarked for resort advertising – dollars collected from the local bed tax, for instance – used wisely. Kole is also known as a vocal supporter of special events in Aspen. He’d like to see the city foster its current relationships, such as those with the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival, as well as kick start a few new ones.Kole hopes to see Aspen find its next big-name “Food and Wine-type, HBO-type, X Games-type” of event, as well as cater to a few local hobbies. He suggests a spectator event that highlights the valley’s large biking community as a way to promote the area during the traditional “shoulder season.””It would be nice if we could pack the town for some really interesting event like that,” Kole said.Kole will toss around ideas like these as the April 11 deadline nears. In the meantime, Kole will carefully monitor candidates’ discussions.”I’ll take the next two or three days to make a decision, and listen to the debate,” he said.