Aspen restaurant owner joins county commissioner race |

Aspen restaurant owner joins county commissioner race

Janet Urquhart
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Rob Ittner

ASPEN – Aspen restaurateur Rob Ittner has joined the race for the Pitkin County commissioner seat in District 1, calling the economy a driving force in his decision to run.

Ittner, 40, is making his first bid for public office.

“I am running because I have a strong belief that the focus in local government needs to be on the local economy and creation of jobs,” he wrote in a statement declaring his candidacy. “As an employer and business owner, I feel my business sense, leadership experience, finance and accounting background, and love for this county will be an asset” to the board of county commissioners.

Currently the owner of Rustique, Ittner moved to Aspen from Vermont in 1999; he said he quickly fell in love with the valley. Since his arrival, he has been a manager at the Hotel Jerome, a teacher at the former Cooking School of Aspen, and owner of the former Renaissance and Range restaurants in Aspen.

He was also a founding board member of the Aspen Young Professionals Association, president of the Aspen chapter of the Colorado Restaurant Association, founder and coordinator of the Taste of Aspen event, a member of Aspen Rotary and is presently on the marketing advisory committee for the Aspen Chamber Resort Association.

“My being a business owner, I can’t help but be involved in what’s going on,” Ittner said Tuesday.

County government, he said, plays a role in the economy. For example, he noted the commissioners have a say about the extension of the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport and that that decision will have an economic impact. The county also makes decisions that affect the environment, and the Aspen’s natural surroundings are its biggest draw, Ittner said.

He said he wants to hear from the community and invites input at

Ittner’s candidacy means as many as five individuals may seek election to the seat currently held by Patti Kay-Clapper. Term limits will prevent her from running again.

Others who have announced their candidacy include Jack Johnson, Brian Speck and David S. Weiss. Clapper’s husband, Tom, also announced he would run, but he subsequently suffered a heart attack and several strokes, and remains at a Denver care facility.

Commissioner Rachel Richards is seeking re-election in District 2; she is unopposed thus far.

Candidates have until June 4 to turn in their nomination petitions. The county clerk and recorder’s office has already certified the petitions of Speck, Weiss and Richards.

More than two candidates in a race, regardless of party affiliation, means an Aug. 10 primary to narrow the field to two for the November general election. Ittner is unaffiliated.


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