The ‘Bills’ are in for Basalt mayor race — Bill Infante and Bill Kane throw hats in ring
It took no time at all for a mayor’s race to materialize in Basalt.
Two potential candidates — Bill Kane and Bill Infante — picked up nomination petitions for the race Tuesday, the first day the petitions were available.
Kane, a former Basalt town manager, announced Dec. 6 he would seek the seat.
Infante, who has been a Town Council member since April 2018, also picked up a petition and reversed his direction from earlier this fall. He told The Aspen Times on Nov. 15 he didn’t think his work with a family business would allow him to devote the time necessary as mayor.
“At this juncture,” Infante said Nov. 15, “I don’t think it’s anything I’d consider.”
Infante said Tuesday that the current council has made good progress on issues and has developed a strong strategic plan. He came to realize since Nov. 15 that he wants to plan a key role in implementing that vision.
“The need to develop a cogent plan is something that I wanted to spend a little bit of time on,” Infante said. “And so, over the past few months, we have further cemented the trajectory and momentum that we were on. That itself was a compelling argument and reason to seek to remain engaged in a way that perhaps can deliver meaningful change, thoughtful change for the future.”
Current Mayor Jacque Whitsitt cannot seek re-election due to term limits. She is completing a second four-year term.
Also Tuesday, two potential candidates picked up petitions for the race for three council seats. Incumbent Jennifer Riffle picked up a petition for a possible re-election bid. Tiffany Haddad also picked up a petition.
The town election April 7 is for three council seats and the mayor’s position. Incumbent Councilman Auden Schendler said he will not seek another term. Incumbent Councilwoman Katie Schwoerer hasn’t announced her intention.
The council election is at-large, so all candidates run in one race and the top three vote getters will take seats.
Entering the election doesn’t take much effort. Candidates must meet a residency requirement of living in the town for 12 months immediately prior to the date of the election. The nomination petitions must be signed by 25 qualified electors from the town of Basalt. The petitions must be submitted to the town clerk’s office by the end of the day Jan. 27, so the field won’t be set for almost three weeks.
Kane welcomed the competition in the mayor’s race. “I think it’s good for Basalt,” he said. “There should be multiple candidates or it would be a hollow process.”
Kane, 74, said he would campaign on his experience, years in the valley and “sensitivity to the issues.” He wants to focus on protecting the environment, educating kids and taking actions that round out the community and lead to “feeling good about where we live.”
Among his experience, he served as Basalt town manager from 2009 to 2012. He moved to the Roaring Fork Valley 45 years ago and moved to Basalt from Aspen 10 years ago.
Infante, 58, said he believes he has skills to help Basalt “achieve some incredible things” in 2020, many of which were laid out by council in the strategic plan. That’s what spurred him to run for mayor.
“We looked at the trajectory of opportunity and the kind of projects that I launched this spring, notably those related to the promotion of regionalism — developing regional connections between us in Basalt and towns and communities up and down the valley, our counties, our state — to deliver on the sense of issues that are most important to our communities, these would include, of course, energy responsibility, climate action, affordable housing, child care, broadband ,” he said. “There is so much opportunity now that has begun to gain momentum that I am very committed to seeing that through.”
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