Guth aims to bring new voice, ideas to Aspen City Council |

Guth aims to bring new voice, ideas to Aspen City Council

Aspen City Council hopeful Bill Guth, right, takes part in Squirm Night on Wednesday, Feb. 8, at GrassRoots TV in Aspen. (Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times)
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

Bill Guth first got active in Aspen politics last year contesting the city’s eight-month-long moratorium on residential building.

In a way, running for the City Council for the first time is the 40 year old’s second act.  

“I’m super excited to be a part of this process,” he said. “I would like to represent a broader spectrum of the Aspen community and would really appreciate everyone’s support.”


Born in Florida and raised in Toronto, Guth attended Cornell for undergrad and earned his Master’s of Real Estate Development from Columbia University. Throughout this time he traveled and lived in Tokyo, Ithaca, Las Vegas and New York.

Then he landed in Aspen 13 years ago, and dove into the city’s business and civic framework. He met his future wife Lisa, a registered nurse, on the ski mountain and together they have three children ages 6 and under.

“I’ve been involved in a variety of businesses and have been since moving here, almost all entrepreneurial, where I’ve brought various local businesses to the community,” he said.

He currently owns Aspen Title and Escrow and said he’s involved in other aspects of real estate and development.

In 2014, Guth opened HOPS Culture, Aspen’s first craft beer-focused casual bar and eatery, selling the company in 2018, shortly before his second child was born.

He continued his development trajectory, preserving historic properties in the West End. He’s done everything, it seems, from restaurant creation, to real estate sales and development, historic preservation, and hospitality.

Guth said he has been intimately involved in preserving Aspen’s small-town character and charm, a big personal priority. Professionally, he’s won a number of the city’s historic preservation awards for his work at 124 W. Hallam, 320 Lake Ave., and 202 N. Monarch, among others.

Political Motivation

But it was the city’s eight-month residential building moratorium that got him involved in Aspen politics.

“This was my first political action in my entire life, the opposition to the residential building moratorium. I utilized a process in the city of Aspen charter called the Citizens Initiated Ordinance, and we gathered almost 1,000 signatures and presented those to City Council,” Guth said. “Unfortunately, a concurrent lawsuit rendered that effort moot, and I was hoping that conversation would go to the voters, which was the intention of the process.”

Campaign Platform

Guth is by far the most real estate-oriented of the three candidates. His civic duties reflect his interests, including chairing Aspen’s Commercial Core & Lodging Commission, volunteering with The Buddy Program, and serving on several leadership boards. 

“I will love this town even better if we can improve upon some of the issues facing our community right now. And I know that I can deliver tangible results as quickly as possible for our community. I mean, it’s a bureaucratic process, so it will never be as efficient as the private sector,” he said. “I have a track record of getting things done, and getting them done quickly and effectively. I think that the community needs that right now, and it would be my honor to do it.”

Aspen’s food and beverage industry continues to fuel his passions.

“I believe we’re at risk of losing some of our existing food and beverage restaurant base. If we don’t work with developers in a voluntary program now to permanently deed restrict, to ensure they remain restaurants, we’re going to lose that,” Guth said. “We need to collaborate with the private sector, many of whom are very interested in the continued success of Aspen and provide incentives for them to ensure those restaurants remain restaurants.”

Affordable housing and employee needs are also key in Guth’s platform.

“We need to efficiently and intelligently deploy our emotional and financial capital to effectively build the types of employee housing our community truly needs,” he said.

First Ambitions

Should Guth be elected to the City Council, his first 90 days wouldn’t be too action-packed, he said.

“I don’t want to go in swinging,” he said. “I have a lot to learn about the process. But I would like to express my perspective and experience on whatever topics are being considered in the first 90 days”

There are two things he does feel urgency about, however.

“Before we lose the opportunity, we need to address the Lumberyard project and explore a possible public and private partnership,” he said. “And also the Armory as a possible food hall. We cannot afford to lose this opportunity.”

He recognized that only white males are running for council this time.

“It’s about more than just the female perspective and the minority perspective,” he said. “I think it’s about considering the perspective of so many who aren’t being considered right now, or at least not being considered in a meaningful way.

“This includes people who commute from downvalley and work in Aspen every day who obviously don’t get a vote here. It includes people who are just over the city lines who don’t get a vote here. It includes people who come to visit Aspen once every 10 years or once in a lifetime. It includes a wide variety of people and perspectives that I think need to be considered and contemplated.”

He added: “That doesn’t mean we always need to put their priorities in front of ours as voters and citizens of Aspen, but I do think that they need to be meaningfully considered. And I think that’s the respectful and responsible thing to do.”

Guth is running on experience, balance, practical ideas, practical solutions and consideration of Aspen’s many stakeholders.

“I know what it’s like to raise a young family in Aspen,” he said. “I care deeply about Aspen. I would like to enhance the experience of living and doing business in and visiting Aspen. I do not want to change Aspen.”

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