Charlie Tarver makes official his bid for mayor
Aspen bike shop owner Charlie Tarver officially announced his candidacy for mayor Tuesday, boosting the field of contenders for the City Council helm to four.
With his entry into the race, it appears candidates for the post will find themselves in a rigorous three-month campaign. Tarver urged voters to pick apart the candidates before they go to the polls on May 8, suggesting the stakes in the spring election are high.
“Aspen has some incredibly important directional decisions to make,” he said. “For the first time the choices, if not made correctly, could have devastating effects.”
Tarver, 38, did not elaborate on his platform, but promised to issue a position paper in the coming days on nine issues he feels are important.
He hinted, though, that he sees a need for change in the operation of city government. Tarver termed his announcement “brief, but purposeful – which hopefully will become a trend in city meetings.”
He said his early entry into the race (petition papers won’t even be available for two more weeks) is to end speculation among other citizens contemplating a bid for a council seat. There are individuals who might run for City Council, Tarver said, “but only if they thought there’s a chance for the way the council functions to be drastically changed.”
Tarver said he hopes to see a campaign that focuses on the differences in the leadership styles among the contenders for mayor.
“I think it’s important for the community to take up the charge to understand the candidates – who they are, what they believe in – and where those two things will take our community,” he said.
“Pull the four of us apart . test us, poke us, prod us and find out where we truly will take this town in two, four or 20 years. Then make a decision,” he advised. “Do your work in differentiating the futures that are offered by all the candidates.”
He also called for a “new tone” in discussions among elected officials and among constituents. “We should be so much more united than we are,” Tarver said, suggesting Aspenites share common interests that should outweigh the divisive issue du jour.
He also said he wants to see the city reach its goals. “We’re wonderful at setting goals and having great ideas of what we want our community to be, and then we have a hard time achieving them,” he said.
Tarver, owner of the Hub of Aspen bike shop and an avid outdoor sports enthusiast, is a familiar sight around town in shorts and clogs no matter what the season. He’s a registered Republican, but said party affiliation has little impact at the level of local politics.
He is seeking his first elected post, but has been active in an advisory role to government, including a stint on the Pitkin County Planning and Zoning Commission. Tarver currently chairs the city committee exploring infill development.
Tarver is challenging incumbent Rachel Richards for the mayor’s seat along with former county commissioner Helen Klanderud and a man known only as Torre.
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