Johnson, in his own words | AspenTimes.com

Johnson, in his own words

Dear Editor:

Like many who came to Pitkin County from elsewhere, I found my little bit of paradise. I am so appreciative of all those who went before me working to create such a great place and all those who, with me, continue to work for it. I thank them and thank you for a home where I can be my best self and thrive.

In my public activities I strive to give back to this place that has given so much to me, and I do so seriously and responsibly, with transparency and accountability. I have a strong work ethic, and on your behalf I will engage with all the issues that concern us in Pitkin County:

• Pitkin County must continue to be a home for working families and young people. The struggle to live and thrive in Pitkin County is no abstraction to me. I know from personal experience how hard it is to live here.

• I’ll continue to work maintaining our mass transportation system and improve our bus lanes so that people have a way to work when their car won’t start and to keep more cars off the road.

• I know that working families need day care and I will continue working to increase day care funding.

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• I believe strongly in making affordable housing units livable. I campaigned for Burlingame and worked hard to make it a good place for families who need housing, especially single-family houses.

• I’ll continue to defend our Health and Human Services fund to take care of those of us most in need.

We have worked for years in Pitkin County protecting our environment and natural resources.

I have a strong and proven record of work on environmental issues – I championed the Canary Initiative and purchases of renewable energy and served on the Community Office for Resource Efficiency and Ruedi Water and Power Authority. I campaigned for hydroelectric power, to create wetlands, and to clean up our street run-off before it hits the Roaring Fork River. I’ve campaigned for the passage of the Healthy Streams and River Fund and the Energy Smart Loan Program for homeowner retrofits (saving energy and money and creating jobs), and I worked on the preservation of Smuggler Mountain through open space purchases.

• I will advocate for Wilderness designation, purchases of open space, opposition to oil and gas extraction in Pitkin County, passage of the Thompson/Divide legislation, and opposition to further diversions of Pitkin County water.

We should do what we do best and build a truly sustainable tourism economy based on recreation and arts and cultural events. It’s what keeps people coming here and coming back.

• I want locals to have a chance to build their own business. I’ve championed affordable commercial retail space, incubator space for small business and set aside zones for local business.

• We should all support the Aspen Skiing Co. and Aspen Chamber Resort Association’s marketing efforts. Let’s study how Telluride and Breck are able to have a vital youth culture because that’s vital for our success. Let’s study how Steamboat is able to have both an agricultural and recreation base – let’s return some real crop agriculture to Pitkin County!

• I will hit the ground running to complete the Rio Grande trail system to use for commuting, nordic skiing and bike races; work with the Aspen Skiing Co. to keep the X Games here permanently; and with the Department of Wildlife, Bureau of Land Management and national Forest Service to preserve our backcountry and Wilderness areas.

These are just some of the ideas I’m passionate about and have worked to implement. Economic times are tough, and we must work also to preserve what has already been achieved and do even better what we already do very well.

This election is about a whole community, and if elected, I will not take a narrow view about whom I represent – residents, working people, ranchers, business owners and families. I will champion the interests of kids, seniors, second-home owners, tourists, ski bums and ski bunnies. I will do so seriously and responsibly.

Let’s not forget this election is not just about Aspen. This election is for the Pitkin Board of County Commissioners. I know what office I’m running for – Pitkin County commissioner. And you know where I stand – I’ve said it clearly and directly. I will not let anyone distract or divert me from why I’m standing for office.

Jack Johnson

Aspen