Basalt candidates Q&A: Ask yourself a question and answer it | AspenTimes.com

Basalt candidates Q&A: Ask yourself a question and answer it

Katie Schwoerer
Courtesy photo |

Editor’s note: Basalt has two candidates running for mayor and six candidates running for three council seats in the April 5 election. The Aspen Times quizzed the candidates on five top issues. Their answers will run through Friday with the order rotating.

Aspen Times: Ask yourself a question relevant to this election and answer it.

Council race

Katie Schwoerer

Q: How would you stimulate economic vitality in the downtown?

A: There are creative ways to encourage young professionals’ investment in Basalt as their occupational home base. One example is the creation of a revolving loan fund in which new or expanding businesses can apply for capital. The U.S. Department of Agriculture provided Carbondale with matching funds for their revolving loan fund. These loans would be collateralized and charged reasonable interest rates. This would stimulate an influx of new business whose employees live and work in the town of Basalt. Add to that a vibrant riverfront park for inspiration and I envision a downtown Basalt that is an economic magnet for creative, ambitious professionals.

Leroy Duroux

Write a job description for the job you are applying for: Above all, community service — attending community events, attending school events, representing the town on issues relating to water, energy, emergency situations, health and welfare of all citizens, abiding by oath of office and code ethics, the United States Constitution, Basalt Home Rule Charter and Colorado state Constitution.

Maintaining fiduciary responsibilities by creating budgets that balance, revenue and spending and reserves for the Town each year.

Be involved with creating goals and policies for the town such as prioritizing and creating plans to achieve these goals including financial implications.

The support and respect of the town staff; Basalt has seven fewer positions than it did in 2007. The current staff is doing almost double the work compared with 2007. This is a testament to the employees we have working for the town currently.

Making decisions on matters that come before the board. Whatever the issue, a councilor must be open-minded, study, listen and decide what is best for the entire Basalt community.

Rob Leavitt

Q: Why are you running for re-election?

A: The future for Basalt looks promising and exciting with more jobs, better schools and finally a downtown park that embraces the river for all citizens. We are on the cusp of a fantastic time in Basalt and I’m running for re-election to make sure it happens. Four years ago, there was essentially no relationship between the school district and the town, despite a previously executed inter-governmental agreement. Now, we collaborate on facilities, housing and recreation. Improving this relationship was a promise I made to the community four years ago and am proud to say we have made great progress.

Jennifer Riffle

Q: As a voter in this upcoming election, what attributes do you feel the winning candidates and council should embody?

A: Ideally those seeking offices do so in the best interest of Basalt, with no personal or professional agenda placed above community interests. Candidates should objectively look at each item coming before council with an unbiased approach to find what best aligns with the community vision. The council should have diversity and representation reflecting the demographics of Basalt; a group of individuals who work well in a team environment to address the issues that come before them. Please use your vote to select those who embrace teamwork. The success of our town counts on officials working together to implement community goals.

Herschel Ross

Basalt is lagging behind the rest of the Valley in recovering from the recession. We have a great opportunity right now to move Basalt toward the goal of being a wonderful place to live for working families, especially with the amazing town staff we have. The question is: do we have the political will? The answer is: depends on who is elected in this election.

Auden Schendler

Q: Our problems often seem so big, intractable and costly to fix. Are there any quick, cheap and easy wins?

A: On walkability, it’s crazy we can’t walk from Alpine Bank to Two Rivers Road. Surely we can work with property owners to open up those alleys! On citizen engagement, have you ever spoken to Town Council? It’s terrifying, like testifying to the emperor, with your back to the audience and facing a semicircle of towering desks. Let’s rearrange the chairs and desks in a roundtable and make it easier for people to express their opinion. We should make people feel welcome, not scared. On other issues we need to solve, instead of hiring consultants, let’s recruit community task forces. That’s free and it fosters democracy.

Mayoral race

Jacque Whitsitt

Q: The Pan and Fork legacy park on the river downtown is the keystone that will connect all of Basalt’s residents, visitors and merchants. How can I unite our citizens behind this critical piece of our vibrant future?

A: This beautiful parcel promises to define Basalt as a one-of-a-kind place to live and visit. The Pan and Fork citizen petition group’s efforts, the recent town survey and my canvassing and phone calling confirm the demand for limited development that focuses on year-round events and recreation. Clearly we need to join our partners to purchase the land and move this vision forward now. With a change in council, this is achievable. Honor our river park as the keystone and identity of our town and we will be the envy of every community in the valley.

Rick Stevens

I believe the community can have all it wants and more if all citizens are willing to share in the responsibility of decision-making, are willing to collaborate to find solutions to issues, and address problems with transparency and open dialogue.


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