Basalt mayoral candidate wants to work together to contain growth |

Basalt mayoral candidate wants to work together to contain growth

Rob Leavitt
Guest commentary
Rob Leavitt
Michele Cardamone

Friends and fellow Basaltines: I am running for mayor of Basalt to help contain the growth that threatens the charm and character of our small town, to support our schools — because I believe strong schools make strong communities — and to return our town to a bastion of civil discourse, where lively discussions enhance our decisions and all citizens feel safe and respected.

After my recent comments at a Planning and Zoning meeting about the number of potential new units being considered for Basalt were reported in The Aspen Times (Dec. 20, 2019), I have been stopped in the supermarket and on the ski slopes and encouraged to run. There is clearly a movement afoot that wishes to preserve our quality of life. We can’t build our way out of a growth problem.

I am the only candidate for mayor with children in the Basalt schools. My wife was president of the Basalt Education Foundation and is currently a pre-collegiate mentor, helping students whose parents did not attend college to navigate the application and admission process. I served on the Roaring Fork School District Facilities Master Plan Working Group. We are invested in this community and I will continue to advocate for teacher housing, appoint a student member to Town Council and explore financing an additional School Resource Officer.

My four years on Town Council ended with the town embroiled in a battle over the future of the Pan and Fork. With that issue finally resolved, it is time for us to move forward. Just because we disagree doesn’t mean we can stop talking; anyone who is married knows that. Mutual respect and a sense of humor should be part of every conversation.

I have lived in the valley for 32 years and served on Basalt Town Council from 2012 to 2016. Since then, I have been on the mayor’s Cabinet, the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Gun Range Task Force, where I pushed for a world-class shooting range that was safer, quieter and more fire-resistant. I graduated from Harvard University in 1987 and am a licensed general contractor and Colorado real estate broker. I have been a ski instructor for 31 years teaching alpine, telemark and adaptive skiing at Aspen Highlands. Aside from raising two daughters and going to a lot of meetings, I love to bike and fish and am concerned that too much growth will degrade both.

I plan to make this a campaign about ideas and leadership, not about yard signs. I will not accept campaign contributions and pledge to spend no more than $1,000 on my campaign. Please give donations to your schools, churches or environmental organizations instead of to local politics. In 2019, our Town Council declared a climate emergency. I don’t believe that investing in yard signs, which end up in the landfill the day after the election, is consistent with being the sustainable community we desire. I don’t want your money. I do want your vote.

I’m Rob Leavitt and I approve this message!


Editor’s note: Leading up to the Basalt election April 7, The Aspen Times is publishing one guest commentary from each candidate. Leavitt’s Facebook page is @Rob4basalt2020 and he can be reached at