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Romero wins council seat

Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times
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ASPEN Dwayne Romero is the newest Aspen City Council member – and the only candidate who won outright in Tuesday’s election.His two closest opponents, Steve Skadron and Toni Kronberg, will face each other in a runoff election June 5 to become the fifth member of City Council.City Clerk Kathryn Koch reported that 2,207 of the city’s 4,990 registered voters, or 44 percent of those eligible, cast ballots. Announcing the results at the relatively early hour of 8:10 p.m., she said the turnout in this election was about 100 votes fewer than in the municipal election in 2005.Romero was the clear winner with 1,126 votes (or 51 percent), a total that eclipsed not only the votes for his fellow council candidates but also those running for mayor. To win outright, a council candidate needed to receive at least 45 percent of the total, or 890 votes.

Skadron was second with 862 votes (39 percent), and Kronberg came in third with 487 votes (22 percent).”I can’t believe I made it into the runoff,” Kronberg said in the City Hall basement shortly after the release of the results. “I’d like to thank The Aspen Times very much for giving me that free publicity,” she added, in reference to an article about a relatively thick group of case files bearing her name at the Pitkin County Courthouse.She blamed her low tally in part on getting a late start. She was one of the last candidates to declare, barely beating the April 6 deadline in filing her petition of nomination.”Now, I’ll just be a little more concerted, more organized,” she pledged, also promising to challenge Skadron on his positions and his voting record on the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission during the coming campaign.Skadron, also hanging around City Hall, seemed angry at the results.

“I know I should be jubilant [at making it into the runoff],” he said, but he expressed disappointment at having missed the winning margin by only 28 votes.He said he is confident he will win the runoff, but added, “Nothing is certain.”As for his opponent, he said, “I respect everything Toni’s done for the community” and called her a tireless worker with views and goals similar to his own.Skadron said he is ready for the coming campaign, noting, “I still have a fairly healthy amount of money in my budget, maybe a third ” and that he had gotten numerous pledges of support and offers of assistance as he walked to City Hall on election night after the results were known.Romero, literally reeling from the victory, said he was “completely surprised” to be the only one to win in the first round, for which he credited having “good people, across the board,” working on his campaign.



He said his victory is “a reflection of the broad community service and the connection that that brings,” but added that all the candidates were “great people” who would have served Aspen well had they won, instead.In response to a question about his first political goal once he takes office, he answered immediately, “Affordable housing. I really think we have opportunities … to do better. I want more families to do the migration upstream,” a reference to the fact that he and his family lived downvalley before they managed to buy a home in Aspen.Skadron said he believes the city can step up its affordable housing program without worsening the impact of development on local residents, if the city simply takes the attitude that “all of it needs to be controlled.”As a member of the development community, he said, he can serve as a bridge between the city and the developers to accomplish what he sees as “an overarching goal.”John Colson’s e-mail address is jcolson@aspentimes.com


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