Anti-rail activist makes election bid for City Council |

Anti-rail activist makes election bid for City Council

Tim Mutrie

Aspen native Tony Hershey will seek election to a City Council seat in the May election, he announced Thursday.

Hershey, an active anti-rail activist leading into last fall’s rail votes, lists growth management, building more affordable housing and the downsizing of local government as his primary platforms.

“Rail isn’t the only issue I’m concerned with,” Hershey said. “I feel City Council is not responsive to the people, the voters, so I thought I’d throw my hat in the ring.”

“I think the city government has gotten too big,” Hershey said. “We’ve created this government behemoth and we need to downsize, we need to cut it back.

“Aspen is facing some serious problems, and the current city leadership sees rail as this panacea, as a cure-all, but I don’t see it that way,” he continued. “First, we need to four-lane the highway and make it as safe as possible.”

By putting so much energy into rail, city government is overlooking other issues, Hershey said. “I’m concerned with growth, and the fact that Aspen needs to retain its charm. I think a train might be detrimental to that as well,” he said.

“Employee housing is almost reaching a crisis point and has to be addressed,” Hershey said. “Perhaps instead of building a multimillion-dollar train, some of that money could go toward housing, so everybody doesn’t need to live downvalley.

“The immediate concerns of the people aren’t being addressed by the local government,” Hershey contends. “I think [city government] speaks with one voice, which is wrong. Just to have one dissenting voice on the council is good thing . I’ve decided to run to change that mind set.”

Hershey, a former assistant district attorney in Brooklyn, N.Y., has never held an elected office before. He is currently living in Denver while studying for the Colorado Bar Exam. He plans to practice law in Aspen after he’s licensed, he said.

Two City Council seats, held by Rachel Richards and Jake Vickery, will be up for election this May, in addition to the mayor’s seat.

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