Laid-off Aspen city employee seeks council seat
ASPEN ” Jason Lasser, an Aspen government employee who was laid off last week, has announced his candidacy for City Council.
Lasser, 40, is the special projects planner for the city’s Community Development Department. He was informed last week that as of April 6, he no longer has a job.
The abrupt end to his employment is what prompted Lasser to run for one of two open council seats, which hold four-year terms. As a 20-year resident, Lasser said he also cares about the future of the community and that he is clued in to the issues more than most people.
Lasser has been the lead planner on several projects and closely involved with many community-wide initiatives, including the ZG Master Plan, which contemplates redeveloping the civic area in downtown Aspen. As a community development planner, he said he also knows the land-use code inside and out.
As a former member of the Historic Preservation Commission, Lasser said he has reviewed and made decisions on many land-use projects. Now, he wants to take that experience to a higher level.
“For me it’s like [junior varsity] decision making and I want to go to varsity,” Lasser said.
An architect by trade, Lasser worked for Al Beyer on many significant public projects, including the environmentally-friendly treehouse and strawbale structures at the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies.
Lasser also worked on the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club building, as well as the Fritz and Fabi Benedict, and Braun huts, which are part of the 10th Mountain Division system.
More recently, Lasser designed the newly-remodeled City Council chambers.
His approach to architecture is that form follows function, and spaces should be designed to be efficient. He said as a councilman, he will fully scrutinize future land-use applications.
“I think there are a lot of big decisions coming up and I’m intimately involved with a lot of them,” he said.
As a resident of affordable housing, Lasser is a proponent of building deed-restricted units and will campaign on that platform. He currently serves as the president of the Lone Pine Homeowners Association.
While working with Beyer from 1993 to 2003, Lasser said they did some of the first green building in town. Lasser said, if elected, he will focus on green initiatives and carry on the city’s environmental goals, as well as manage growth in town.
While he considers land-use an area of expertise, Lasser said the city has an excellent, hard-working staff that he will rely upon to gather information on other issues.
Working for the city has given him great experience, he said, and he wants to build upon that as an elected official.
“I learned a ton working for the city,” he said. “I still want to be involved.”
As a believer in no phone messages or wasting paper, Lasser said he plans to run a grassroots campaign and go door to door.
“Forgive my intrusion, but I’m knocking on your door,” he said.
Lasser said he would like to hear from anyone interested in speaking to him about his candidacy, and he can be reached at 948-8039.
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