Skippy Mesirow makes Aspen City Council campaign official
Mesirow’s campaign letter
The following open letter is Skippy Mesirow’s declaration to run for Aspen City Council in the May municipal election.
I am writing to announce my candidacy for the office of Aspen City Council, and I thank you for the honor.
Over the past several years I have had the privilege to serve our community as a founder and two-term chair of the Aspen Next Generation Advisory commission, current chair of the Aspen Planning & Zoning commission, and helped launch critical community nonprofits like the Aspen Mentorship Program, Aspen City of Wellbeing, and Aspen Entrepreneurs. These relevant experiences have shown me what is possible and motivated me to seek the opportunity to serve our community as your Council member.
While my personal experience has been wonderful, I have also born witness to the creeping effects of cynicism, an erosion of trust in our government, and increasing divisions within our community.
I am running to reverse these trends, to apply a younger, fresh perspective to the critical decisions that sit before us. My two main reasons for running are 1. To rebuild trust in government, modernizing its structure and process to reflect the needs of the modern age, and 2. To create a more livable Aspen.
Local government is more important now than ever. Effective government is necessary to allow our community to flourish. Though it need not do everything, or even much, it is the common forum with mutually agreed upon rules that are the precursor to all our priorities.
Government should no longer expect people to come to it; it most reach out to the people. It must communicate clearly, intently, and authentically. My goal as an elected official will be to activate our citizenry with authentic leadership, hard work, and the courage of conviction. We must use technology to make our government more responsive, remove arcane roadblocks to collective impact, and focus on more voting, not less. A representative government can only work when it’s actually representative.
The Aspen Idea lives in all of us. We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to all those that came before us and made this town what it is. Now it is our turn to build on that tradition and step confidently into the future, thoroughly rooted in the values of our past.
Our challenge, the legacy we leave to those that come after us is creating a more livable Aspen. A more inclusive, approachable community that focuses on human interactions, the reduction of the automobile, modern housing solutions, and a diverse, vibrant core that leverages the sharing economy and tools of the modern age to reclaim character.
We can do these things, the last generation did, and now it’s our turn. Our turn to work together, to rise to the challenge — modernizing government, rebuilding trust in institutions and one another, and creating a more livable, unified, Aspen. Together we can achieve this and I believe, through my unique background, experience, and commitment to service and community building, can help lead us to a future just as good as our past, and even better, together.
Skippy Mesirow has regularly attended Aspen City Council meetings for the past several years. Now the 30-year-old is aiming to sit on the other side of the meeting room.
Mesirow officially declared his candidacy for City Council on Tuesday, joining a field that includes incumbents Art Daily and Ann Mullins as well as challenger Ward Hauenstein. Former Councilman Torre also has expressed his intention to run. The election for the two open seats is May 2.
Mayor Steve Skadron also is up for re-election. As of Tuesday he was running unopposed. March 13 is the deadline for candidates to submit the required 25 petition signatures to the City Clerk’s Office to earn entry on the May ballot.
Mesirow so far is the youngest candidate in the field; he also would be the youngest member on the current council.
“I think quite strongly that representative government must represent not just young people, but we need more women, more Hispanics, to reflect it,” he said.
Speaking in general terms about his campaign platform, Mesirow said his chief talking points will be the advocation for “a functioning, effective government” and a “focus on a more livable Aspen. I think that’s the challenge of our generation.”
Mesirow, who chairs the Aspen Planning and Zoning Commission and sits on other boards, said the city needs to be more active in reaching out to the public and letting all voices be heard.
“It’s nonsensical to me that you could talk to a business partner in Tokyo or order a new shirt or comment on a movie in 10 seconds, but to have to be heard by (City Council), sometimes you have to go in a basement (where City Council meets) and wait 10 hours to be heard.”
Mesirow has worked behind the scenes on the proposed chain-store regulations, one of the hot-button issues in Aspen’s political scene.
“I think it’s not a grand solution, but it is a conversation starter around a much bigger issue,” which he said, “is the town’s character reflected by our retail mix and our environment.”
A transplant from Chicago, Mesirow moved to Aspen when he was 18, in November 2004. Because he was a member of CU-Boulder’s free-ride ski team, he spent his winters training in Aspen while earning his academic credits in the summers. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communications.
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