Teague, Rappaport and Freedman win in Basalt
BASALT – Basalt voters went for experience in Tuesday’s election, voting Glenn Rappaport and Anne Freedman back into office, as well as picking political newcomer Karin Teague for a seat on the Town Council.
Teague received the most votes with 333. Rappaport was next with 263, and Freedman collected 244. Both Rappaport and Freedman served eight years on previous councils.
There were six candidates vying for the three open seats. Jim Paussa fell just short with 235 votes. Patrick Maley collected 206, while Mary Holley had 100.
There were 518 ballots cast, or 22 percent of the 2,303 registered voters in Basalt.
Freedman, 71, a retired professor of political science, said she wasn’t sure voters would support someone who formerly served on the council, given the political mood of the country.
“Obviously I’m happy that I won,” she said.
Rappaport, 56, an architect, said perhaps voters wanted to go with experienced candidates since the town is facing tough financial times. Revenues have sagged tremendously in the past 18 months in the town, which is dependent on sales tax revenues.
Rappaport said voters might have been comfortable with familiar faces who know some of the town government’s recent history and what has been attempted. “I kind of know what I’ve got there” is what voters might have been feeling, he said.
While Teague is new to political office, she has been active in civic endeavors in Basalt and the Roaring Fork Valley. As an attorney she has worked on various environmental causes in the valley. She also brings the perspective as co-owner of Harry Teague Architects and as the firm’s administrator.
Teague, 45, the mother of two children, ages 8 and 6, said she was “very pleasantly surprised” to be the top vote-getter. “I’m thrilled and honored to serve the people of Basalt,” she said, adding that she looks forward to joining with Rappaport and Freedman.
Teague, a contributor to The Aspen Times, campaigned with a message of “balance” – preserving the small-town feel while “recognizing we need to keep the town alive.”
The three winning candidates will join Mayor Leroy Duroux and council incumbents Pete McBride, Katie Schwoerer and Jacque Whitsitt. The members leaving the board are Amy Capron, Chris Seldin and Gary Tennenbaum. The changing of the guard takes place Tuesday, April 13.
Freedman said she didn’t feel there were huge differences among the six candidates. Growth and development didn’t separate candidates as much as in past elections, she said.
She believes active campaigning helped her cause. “I think I did more than most other people,” she said.
Freedman tried to deliver flyers to 1,110 residences. Her knee gave out on some of the steeper streets of Basalt’s Hill District. Freedman said she was assisted in her campaign by Whitsitt, her new council colleague.
Freedman said economic recovery and character will be a top priority for her. “I’m always concerned to see that our businesses remain healthy and our downtown remains healthy,” she said.
Rappaport said his visibility and interaction with a lot of people in Basalt over the years likely helped his candidacy. “A lot of people know me,” he said. “I think they see me as a reasonable person. I’m just trying to figure this stuff out.”
Rappaport had been concerned that he might be viewed as a pro-growth guy by voters who weren’t familiar with the nuances of his positions.
“I’ve always been a guy that’s pressed for density instead of sprawl,” he said. “I will push for density where it’s appropriate.”
He said it’s difficult to determine a priority because experience tells him something unanticipated always pops up during council terms. However, he wants to work hard to establish a grade-separated pedestrian connection between the downtown portion of Basalt and the Southside neighborhood, which includes the high school.
Pedestrians currently cross at a traffic signal on Highway 82. “It’s dangerous. We should be smarter than that,” Rappaport said.
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