Basalt mayoral race: What makes Rappaport and Whitsitt different?
BASALT – Basalt voters will choose a mayor and three Town Council members in the April 3 election. This week, The Aspen Times is asking a series of questions to mayoral candidates Glenn Rappaport and Jacque Whitsitt.Profiles of the six council candidates and their answers to questions will run March 26-30.Today’s question to Whitsitt and Rappaport is: You two have served four years together on the council and know each other’s voting records and governing styles well. What makes you more qualified to be mayor than your opponent?
Those who have been watching know that my opponent’s and my voting records have been in disagreement at times – especially regarding how growth should occur.When I first ran for council, I ran on a platform of slow and easy growth. As a recent land-use graduate, it seemed logical to me that if you approve too much growth at once, you may not be able to adequately mitigate consequences like traffic and pollution. If you approve growth in the wrong place, you may crowd out the vistas and critters that brought many of us here in the first place. The outcome of my past campaigns tells me that the majority of people in Basalt share a similar vision. Bringing dissimilar individuals and groups together to address our common problems is a great motivation for me. I believe that the community has greater solutions and ideas than a council or a person. As Roaring Fork Transportation Authority chair, I always tried to practice this ideal. I was committed to listening to all sides and ending up with answers and solutions that felt right because everyone knew they were heard. As mayor and chair, my own platforms will take a back seat to making sure all interests are voiced and heard. My record speaks for itself. I am consistent and predictable. And I will continue to be guided by my experience, passion and what’s in my heart.
Voters in Basalt have a real choice in this election, and that is a good thing. My opponent and I come from quite different backgrounds and perspectives.My strengths and aspirations are mainly as a collaborator and consensus builder.This is what I do in my work as an architect, with clients, consultants, and even students. This is also my primary focus in my political work, with my fellow council members and constituents. Ironically, the job of being a mayor isn’t about me. It is about what happens to the Basalt conversation while I am sitting in the middle of the table. Will we find the tools to work with folks of differing opinions? Will we respond appropriately to what I call “the wrath of the non-participants,” those who only emerge to protest at the final meeting, when direction has finally and painstakingly been established through numerous earlier meetings?There is much to be excited about in Basalt’s future: We have the potential to become a center for nonprofit and educational organizations, and the new Whole Foods market may have tie-ins with local food production. There is talk of an Anderson Ranch Sculpture Center in Willits, and a continuous care retirement facility on the south side of town. I believe I am the best candidate to engage with these projects, and ensure that Basalt gets from them what it deserves.I am the only mayoral candidate who has been on all sides of the table in developing new projects and initiatives for Basalt. With so much in our future, it makes sense to elect a candidate with experience in the public and private sectors, someone who knows the land-use and governmental process, and can ensure that our aspirations for the future of Basalt are realized.
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