Snowmass Town Council race: Alyssa Shenk, Tom Fridstein win Town Council seats | AspenTimes.com
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Snowmass Town Council race: Alyssa Shenk, Tom Fridstein win Town Council seats

Snowmass Town Council incumbent Alyssa Shenk drops off her and her husband’s ballots on Election Day in Snowmass on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020.
Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times

In a cruise to victory in Snowmass Village, one fresh and one familiar face will enter Snowmass Village Council chambers this fall: incumbent Councilwoman Alyssa Shenk and first-time candidate Tom Fridstein were the top vote-getters for two open seats.

Five candidates vied for two available seats, both up for grabs because mayoral candidate Tom Goode and Councilwoman Shenk had reached the end of their four-year terms on council. Councilman Goode opted to run for mayor rather than seek reelection on Town Council; he lost that race, to fellow Councilman Bill Madsen.

Shenk was a clear frontrunner around 7 p.m., when the Pitkin County Clerk’s Office began reporting unofficial results with nearly two-thirds of all county ballots tallied. By 12:09 a.m. Wednesday, with 86.8% of all Pitkin County ballots counted, she had maintained her lead with 1,104 votes in her favor and 37.06% of all Town Council votes recorded.

In a phone interview on election night, Shenk said that the support felt like a “vote of confidence from her community.

“I feel very proud — I thank the voters because there’s clearly a huge, very strong voter turnout,” she said. “I feel like people are giving me the nod that they want me to continue to represent their voices.”

This will be Shenk’s second full term and seventh year on Town Council. She was appointed to council in 2014 to fill a vacancy created when then-Councilwoman Markey Butler was elected as mayor; Shenk was re-elected to a full term in 2016.

As a longtime resident of Snowmass Village, Shenk has deep roots in community service outside of council chambers, too. Shenk is actively involved with the local food bank and Pathfinders, a nonprofit that provides support and resources for those coping with cancer, chronic illness, stress, grief and loss. She also regularly contributes her time to local schools where her children are students.

The race for the second council seat was closer, though Fridstein had an clear lead when unofficial results dropped around 7 p.m. By 12:09 a.m. Wednesday, Fridstein secured 608 votes, or 20.41% of all Town Council votes recorded.

Fridstein has a long history in Snowmass Village, where he has seen the town grow and change since coming to the village 52 years ago. This will be Fridstein’s first term on Town Council, but the architect is no stranger to town government. For the past five years, Fridstein has served as the chairman of the town’s Planning Commission — experience he plans to bring to the table in Town Council discussions on housing and development.

“I care deeply about the future of our village,” Fridstein said at a candidate “squirm night” on Oct. 22. “I believe my experience and expertise can contribute to its continuing success.”

Throughout his campaign, Fridstein emphasized his 45 years of architectural experience and understanding of building development as an asset for Town Council; several major developments have recently faced council review, including a revamp of the Snowmass Center and the final phases of Base Village.

“My goal is always to make sure that we’re getting the best benefit for the community from the development,” Fridstein said at the candidate forum. “Balance is what’s important.”

Snowmass voters could vote for any two of the five Town Council candidates on their ballots; winners are determined by whichever two candidates receive the most votes, regardless of whether any candidates received a majority of all votes tallied. Candidates Gray Warr, Matthew Owens and Jeff Kremer did not secure enough votes to earn a council seat.

It was an unusually competitive election season, several town officials noted in conversations with the Snowmass Sun on Election Day. In 2016, then-incumbents Shenk and Goode faced only one challenger for two available seats. And two years later, for the first time in the town’s history, all candidates up for reelection ran unopposed.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, Shenk suggested.

“I think as hard as it is to have competition, I think it’s good,” Shenk said. “It forces you to look at what you’ve done and your time in office, and how you’ve made a difference and how you continue to make a difference.”

Shenk and Fridstein will be sworn in at Town Council’s Nov. 16 meeting, joining current member Bob Sirkus and newly-elected mayor Bill Madsen on the council. Because Mayor-elect Madsen had two years remaining on his second council term, his seat will be filled by a Town Council appointment.


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