Hershey not sure if he’ll run for Pitco | AspenTimes.com

Hershey not sure if he’ll run for Pitco

Aspen City Councilman Tony Hershey has set March 1 as his own personal “D-Day.”

The “D” stands for a decision he’ll make on whether to run for a spot on the Pitkin County Board of Commissioners. He is currently leaning against the idea of running for commissioner.

Hershey would be vying for the seat currently held by Mick Ireland, and the prospect of a bruising race against a popular incumbent is one of several reasons he might not run.

“I’ve heard Mick is going to go after me hard,” he said. Ireland has yet to announce whether he will run this fall for a third term as a commissioner.

Hershey said he’s also been told by Jack Hatfield and Dorothea Farris, both sitting commissioners, that it would be waste of his time to run.

“They’re certainly entitled to their opinion,” Hershey said. Neither Hatfield nor Farris could be reached for comment.

Hershey says he’s heard from a number of people who want him to run, but even some of his staunchest supporters have wondered why he would take on such a thankless job.

“A lot of people want me to run, but some people say I shouldn’t leave the City Council,” he said.

Hershey said he thinks he could bring a fresh perspective as a county commissioner, and perhaps shift the political makeup. But he admits that the independent-mindedness of each and every commissioner would make “every issue difficult.”

What really motivated him to take a second – and third – look at becoming a county commissioner was last week’s meeting of the Elected Officials Transportation Committee. The EOTC is a multi-jurisdictional body made up of elected officials from Aspen, Snowmass Village and Pitkin County. It determines transportation spending priorities for the county.

“I watched these five people fight and bicker with each other, fight and bicker with the City Council, fight and bicker with the Snowmass Village Town Council, and talk and talk and talk without really saying anything,” Hershey said of the county commissioners.

If he was elected as a commissioner, Hershey would find himself in a situation reminiscent of his first two years on the Aspen City Council, when he was often at odds with then-mayor Rachel Richards and councilmen Jim Markalunas and Terry Paulson. The current council under Mayor Helen Klanderud is much more in line with Hershey’s points of view.

“I don’t know if I couldn’t accomplish more by staying on the City Council,” Hershey said.

He plans to talk to a few more people, including the leadership of the local Republican Party, before making his mind up.

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