Mesirow launches re-election campaign for Aspen City Council
Aspen City Council incumbent Skippy Mesirow officially launched his re-election campaign on Wednesday.
Amid snowfall in Paepcke Park, he laid out his vision for his campaign and potential second term.
“It’s going to be about the revival of the Aspen idea,” he said to reporters.
The four main focuses of his campaign: housing, downtown, democracy, and connection.
He put forward the idea of a vacancy tax for Aspen to encourage second-home owners to use the space for local, year-round workers.
He clarified that specific numbers and exact policy for such a tax would require community input and support from the full council but hopes that bringing up this issue will raise awareness and spark a conversation.
“What we are targeting are properties that have truly become an investment for an outside entity that doesn’t have a tie here,” he said.
For the core, Mesirow envisions a local, affordable business district. He said downtown Aspen should be more pedestrian-friendly and focus on including local businesses, like major metropolises around the world.
“If you’ve ever been to (cities like) Tokyo, some of the coolest districts are microspaces with an all-local vibe. And, it’s because it’s affordable, it’s approachable. You can be a solopreneur, or you can have a small business,” he said of his plan for the core. “In my mind, it’s just a matter of time. Eventually, every business that’s local will be gone.”
To combat growing distrust of democratic systems, he suggested the funding and creation of a government innovation office to consult Aspen government on its strengths and weaknesses.
“Trust is the oil of the engine of democracy. Unless we trust the system, it cannot function,” he said. “So, we want to rebuild that. The vision is to have enough funds to bring in the best experts from all around the world.”
He acknowledged that his campaign aims high, and that it is unlikely that in a second term with City Council he would see his big ideas come to fruition.
“So, I think the idea that anything’s going to be complete in the next four years is probably foolhardy. In the best-case scenario, the community opts in big now, and they say, ‘Yes, we see this; we want this.’ And, we bring people together, and we get this thing started,” he said.
Mesirow’s campaign website skippyforaspen.com is live now. Voters can explore his platform and first-term accomplishments there.
The municipal election will take place on March 7. Aspen voters can confirm their registration through the Colorado secretary of state’s website and request absentee ballots from the Aspen City Clerk’s Office.
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