Keeping dialogue alive | AspenTimes.com

Keeping dialogue alive

Dear Editor:

The Aspen Democracy Initiative would like to send a very special thank-you to BB’s Kitchen and the Aspen Young Professionals Association, which collaborated with the Aspen Democracy Initiative in the “democracy dialogues” series we hosted during the May offseason.

BB’s demonstrated the utmost commitment to our community by offering its cocktail lounge every Wednesday in May as a space to gather for thoughtful dialogue about current local, national and international issues. The Aspen Young Professionals Association was crucial in helping the Aspen Democracy Initiative reach out to its target audience, young adults in our valley, to encourage them to get more involved in public policy and civic issues.

The “democracy dialogues” provided a free, nonpartisan opportunity for valley residents to engage in a panel discussion with local media; to “meet and greet” our U.S. congressman, Scott Tipton, our state senator, Gail Schwartz, and our candidates for Pitkin County commissioner; to have moderated conversations with experts in the fields of campaign finance laws and international security; and to talk with Aspen Skiing Co.’s Matt Hamilton about how Skico integrates its business goals with public-policy goals.

Aspen Democracy Initiative sends a special thank-you to Hamilton and other participants, including Steve Wickes, Luke Runyon, Curtis Wackerle, Ryan Slabaugh, Silbi Stainton, Peter Wallison, Michael Kinsley and the elected officials and candidates for volunteering their time and knowledge with our attendees.

The Aspen Democracy Initiative will continue to offer programming aimed at creating nonpartisan opportunities for meaningful and respectful dialogue over the next few months. We especially encourage younger residents to get involved in the conversations and decisions that will shape their futures.

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Our next event will be a June 27 “behind the scenes” tour of the Aspen airport followed by cocktails and Q-and-A in the airport. On Aug. 28, Aspen Democracy Initiative is hosting a “Meet the Mayors” panel discussion with Mick Ireland and six of Aspen’s former mayors. We also will be offering programming related to the November elections – visit and “like” us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/#!/aspendemocracyinitiative) to stay in touch!

Jill Teehan, Riley Tippet and Alison Friedman

Aspen Democracy Initiative