It’s official: Richards will seek Aspen mayoral post |

It’s official: Richards will seek Aspen mayoral post

John Colson

Rachel Richards, after two terms as a City Council member, wantsto be Aspen’s next mayor after John Bennett steps down.While not unexpected, her announcement is the linchpin of thecity’s municipal election campaign so far, which now includesRichards and council hopefuls Tom McCabe and Anthony Hershey.Incumbent Councilman Jake Vickery, who was appointed to his positionthree and a half years ago, has not yet officially declared hiscandidacy for the May election.Richards, 38, has lived in the Aspen area since 1978. A singlemother, she is raising a son, Jacob, and has been working forthe same firm for the last 14 years – Don Sheely’s Aspen Activities.Elected in 1991, the same year that Bennett became mayor, shehas largely agreed with him on most issues.”I think I have a little bit better understanding about what itmeans to be a working person in this town,” she said on Mondayat a press conference announcing her candidacy. Richards notedthat she has lived in employee housing ever since moving hereand has occasionally had to work two jobs to stay afloat.Richards also pointed to her political experience as a reasonto elect her, saying: “There’s a lot of history on a lot of issuesthat’s important not to lose.” Among her accomplishments, shelisted the purchase and renovation of the Red Brick School (andnow the Yellow Brick, as well), senior housing at the Aspen CountryInn, and the purchase of the Moore and Hildur Anderson propertiesas city parks.Linking Aspen with the outside world, she has been a past presidentof the Colorado Association of Ski Towns and Pitkin County’s representativeto the Club 20 organization of Western Slope businesses. She isan avid advocate of affordable housing, open space, trails andmass transit”I think I offer a balanced point of view,” she said, adding thatin order to give enough time and concentration to the campaignand to the mayor’s duties, she has already cut herself back totwo days a week at her job.”I’m going to make being the mayor … my number one priority,”she said.

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