From critic to candidate: Marks runs for mayor in Aspen |

From critic to candidate: Marks runs for mayor in Aspen

Marilyn Marks

ASPEN ” Outspoken government critic Marilyn Marks has announced her candidacy to run for mayor in Aspen, challenging her arch nemesis, incumbent Mick Ireland.

Marks, 56, moved to Aspen in 2002 as a retired CEO and owner of a trucking company in Atlanta. She said she is running for Aspen’s highest elected office mostly because of the local economic crisis. Marks said she thinks her experience as a business executive and owner can help lead the resort out of its downward spiral.

Marks also has sat on various boards of directors of large corporations, and has started her own Internet company.

“I love creating jobs and small business,” she said. “I have the skill set and experience to address our economic crisis.”

If elected, the local economy is her first, second and third priority, Marks said.

“With the right community, government and business leadership, we can lead Aspen out of the trough we are in,” she said, adding the town can bounce back before the national economy does ” if the right steps are taken.

She said she would enlist Aspen’s business community to form an advisory group that could explore ways to boost the economy. That might include sales tax rebates, parking solutions for employees and shoppers, and indirect property tax credits and fees for businesses.

Marks also thinks there’s opportunity to tap the town’s second-home owners, whose experience as retired CEOs of corporations, for instance, and access to capital could assist with finding ways to help local businesses.

A foe of City Hall, elected leaders critical of Marks’ approach have over the last year repeatedly asked her if she intended to run for public office, which she always said she wasn’t considering. But when she didn’t see any candidates with what she considers extensive business experience come forward, Marks threw her hat into the ring.

“At that time, I was completely unequivocal that I had no intention of running,” she said. But “when no one else with business background stood up, I knew I could help. I do have a unique skill set.”

Marks also will compete for votes against mayoral candidates Andrew Kole and LJ Erspamer. Erspamer founded Colorado Riff Raft and has owned other companies. Kole does marketing consulting for the Aspen Valley Ski Club.

Marks also supports reforms in affordable housing, city government governance, and growth and development.

She said more about her platform can be found at

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