Basalt mayoral candidate: Infante is looking forward |

Basalt mayoral candidate: Infante is looking forward

William S. Infante
Guesty commentary

My family and I chose Basalt after years of serving our government overseas because it is an exceptional and unique community from its residents to its natural environment and creative fervor. We settled here and are enthusiastic to share our perspectives and experiences, and be part of Basalt today and in the future.

We love the outdoors. We hike, bike and fish — all within our town limits ­— and I strongly believe in preserving our ability to live, work and play in Basalt. The best way to preserve our open spaces, rivers, forests and fields is to focus on our core in Willits and historic downtown. It’s logical and wise to locate population near transport, entertainment, education and medical services that support daily needs and minimizes our carbon footprint.

Smart, responsible and resilient development caters to the needs of aspiring entrepreneurs, families with school-age children and the elderly on fixed incomes, and ensures that our community remains diverse, attracting the best and brightest who inspire knowledge-based growth.

Knowledge-based growth includes smart agriculture that delivers locally grown produce, meat and dairy, and attracting big-thinking institutions like RMI, AGCI and the RFC that are pioneering energy solutions, advancing understanding of climate change and protecting our waters. It means promoting arts, culture, skilled and professional trades that generate revenue and jobs while enriching our community. Attracting knowledge-based enterprises also drives economic diversification ahead of global warming that will savage ski-tourism dependent economies. As mayor, I will continue to cultivate entrepreneurship that nourishes our community, literally and figuratively, and which brings vitality and jobs that build a strong community.

Strong communities are built on the foundation of strong schools. As a councilman and parent, I am committed to supporting our local schools. Council can: support affordable teacher housing that helps recruit and retain great educators, spearhead outreach that keeps our children safe and healthy, support fundraising that pays for facilities, and show up at community events.

Community is what small-town character is all about. People sharing values: teamwork, commitment, respect, integrity, trustworthiness. Small-town character is a mindset shared by people who call Basalt home, and embrace common purpose and identity. The notion that “NO growth” protects small-town character reflects a failure of leadership to lead, and to model the behaviors that bring people together. Leaders listen, and then chart a path that inspires trust and which others follow because it reflects their will.

It’s time for Basalt to engage the communities and counties that share our watershed to address issues of common concern that none can solve alone: affordable housing, climate action and the environment, enhancing the business environment, and the list goes on. Embracing partnerships will ensure that we have a seat at decision-making tables to meaningfully tackle energy, broadband access, housing and waste management: all are topics that I have addressed with local, county and state officials over the past two years, and which are poised to deliver results. I have every intention of continuing to reach out energetically and to further build relations that benefit Basalt today and in the future.

I am hopeful because of our accomplishments. I’m conscious of our past, but I’m unencumbered by it. As mayor, I will work to build trust by listening to residents, businesses and partners who are part of our community. Our community is calling for new ideas, vision and approaches that chart a path for us to follow as one Basalt. If elected, we will work to protect the social, cultural and environmental values that attracted us, while continuing to promote vibrancy that creates opportunity for families to live, work and play in Basalt.

Editor’s note: Leading up to the Basalt election April 7, The Aspen Times is publishing one guest commentary from each candidate. Infante’s Facebook page is @BillforBasalt and he can be reached at