Two old pros will square off in Basalt mayoral race
Aspen Times Staff Writer
Two Basalt residents who have served on the Town Council with one another for the past six years will oppose one another in the April mayoral race.
Councilwoman Anne Freedman said Wednesday she will run for mayor. Councilman Leroy Duroux had previously said he would “probably” run, and Wednesday he confirmed he will make a bid for the office.
Mayor Rick Stevens cannot run for a third time because of term limits.
Freedman said she will make growth and development her primary issue in the campaign.
“I think he’s been a little too friendly to development for this community,” Freedman said about Duroux. She said she will “work like a devil” by going door to door to make sure residents know the candidates’ positions on growth issues.
Duroux said he will welcome debates with Freedman.
“If she portrays me as pro-growth she’s absolutely wrong,” Duroux said.
He added that he’s always maintained that a healthy town needs some growth.
Freedman said she supports “limited” growth, with the emphasis on limited. She said the town has approvals in place for hundreds of thousands of square feet of commercial and residential development and that there will be plenty of projects to help boost the economy even if stricter limits are adopted.
“We’re going to have this valley floor built out if we’re not careful,” she said.
Freedman selected three examples to show differences in their records. She said she voted against a proposal to make the Riverwalk development in downtown Basalt even bigger. Duroux voted for the larger proposal.
She said she supported a 5,000-square-foot cap on new homes; Duroux voted against the idea. She proposed historic preservation guidelines to try to prevent commercial buildings on Midland Avenue from getting demolished. Duroux ultimately supported the proposal but Freedman claimed “he wasn’t enthusiastic about it. That’s putting it mildly.”
Duroux said he will wait to debate Freedman on the issues and his record as the campaign progresses. He said he is proud of his record in office and believes voters will like what he’s done.
“The centerpiece of my campaign is to treat the citizens fairly and honestly and make sure the River Master Plan gets implemented,” he said. That land-use planning document will craft a vision for development along the Roaring Fork River corridor and get residents of two trailer parks in the heart of the town out of potential flood danger. In theory it will provide the park residents with alternative affordable housing.
Duroux has served on the council for nine and a half years. He was appointed to the board, then was elected twice by comfortable margins. He is prohibited by term limits from seeking another four-year term as councilman.
Freedman was also appointed initially to fill a vacancy. She joined the board in 1998 and was elected to a two-year term in 2000. She was unopposed in a re-election bid in 2002.
If she wins the election she will surrender her council seat and the entire council will appoint her successor. If she loses in the mayoral race, she retains her council seat. Although she has a seat at the table either way, she said she didn’t want Duroux to run without issues being debated.
“The issues are too important,” Freedman said. “It’s about the issues. I want to get everyone on the record.”
No other candidates have emerged in the mayoral race. Councilwoman Jacque Whitsitt, who is facing term limits, left the door open to a bid when interviewed last month. “The door’s closed,” she said yesterday.
Whitsitt said she won’t run for personal reasons. She wouldn’t elaborate. She said she supports Freedman for mayor.
Scott Condon’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org