Guest commentary: Aspen council candidate makes push to move forward together
In 2013, I saw a lack of family-oriented entertainment locally, so I built Slopeside lanes in Snowmass Village. Despite a pandemic, just this past year I opened Pussyfoot Steeps, a local community restaurant in the Airport Business Center. Investing within my community is of vital importance to me. I’m Mark Reece, and I am running for Aspen City Council because I have always been inclined to build things people need, and now I am looking forward to building a better future for all of us.
I am a graduate of Penn State with a degree in History and Business Administration. I am a productive and motivated individual and although adept at putting square pegs through round holes I would rather use practicality to problem solve.
Aspen has given so much to me, allowed my family to grow and prosper through our affordable housing program, a program that is flawed yet fixable. We need to acknowledge problems of the past so we can avoid them in our future. Promoting movement through the system so others can benefit will add more rungs on the ladder as people move upward with more equitable outcomes. I cannot wait to contribute to finding these kinds of solutions for Aspen.
In a time when our revenues will be lower than anticipated and our needs as high as ever, we can work together at identifying effective ways to be more efficient. We must weigh the risk/reward for our city safely as we face a massive decline in city revenue. This will impact the programs we all value and the people who they serve. As a successful small business owner, I come to the table with a fresh vision and valuable management skills learned from taking projects from conception to completion. I will work with many different perspectives and backgrounds to get the job done for Aspen.
As a member of several local service-based organizations, one of which I have a seat on the Veterans Committee, I recognize that during this challenging time, it has become even more apparent that we need to tackle the mental health issues in our community. I have been in Aspen for 12 years and seen far too much preventable loss of life. Now more than ever, especially with COVID in place, we need to invest back into our community. We’ve got a perfect storm brewing here and I want to make sure that when we come out on the other side of this pandemic, we are overly prepared rather than grossly underprepared as we find calmer waters.
Aspen is a community with an enormous amount of talent, wonderful people who are incredibly resilient. This is a safe community, we look after each other, it is a dreaming town. We all want the same thing; a roof over our heads, good care for our children and a safe place to bring up our families. We have the same goals; to see our community bounce back stronger, be more vibrant and fix some real big challenges that have evaded us for years. We can help each other find common-sense solutions. We can take a breath and really establish who we want to be in Aspen moving forward.
My daughter Perry has opened my eyes to the future. I have been considering what will her life in Aspen will be like for decades to come? Who do we want to be? I know we can grow together, thrive with our business, and protect the Aspen we have all come to love.
I am looking forward to building and partnering with you.
Editor’s note: The Aspen Times has offered each candidate a guest column of 600 words or less. There are eight candidates running for two open seats on the Aspen City Council. The municipal election is March 2; ballots have been mailed.