Guest commentary: Aspen Council candidate points to efficiency, execution where city can improve |

Guest commentary: Aspen Council candidate points to efficiency, execution where city can improve

Sam Rose
Guest commentary

“Would you do the job for $10 dollars a month?” my dad, a retired six-term councilman in St. Albans, Vermont, asked me the other day.

“Absolutely,” I replied without hesitation.

And it’s the truth: If I’m elected to Aspen City Council, I’ll donate my first year’s salary to the Aspen Community Foundation to support local service industry workers affected by the pandemic. It’s something I’d be immensely proud to do, and that I’d be able to do only because I’ve saved up while being the grateful recipient of free room and board during my first two years in town.

My name is Sam Rose, and like many of you, I’m not an Aspen native. The view outside my bedroom window growing up was of Vermont’s Green Mountains. I graduated from the University of Denver before making my way to Aspen and from the moment I drove over Independence Pass into town, I’ve felt so profoundly at home — and at peace — that embedding myself meaningfully in the community seemed not like a choice, but a sacred obligation.

First and foremost, I am a volunteer firefighter with the Aspen Fire Protection District. I also advocate for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence through Response’s crisis hotline. My full-time job is as the lead case investigator for Pitkin County’s COVID-19 team. On most days, the phone is my life; I call dozens of people to help with COVID-19-related issues by offering critical information to prevent further spread of the virus. Many nights, the phone and firefighter radio are next to my head while I sleep so I don’t risk missing any call or alarm, whether it’s a burning structure or a person’s life at stake.

Altitude and attitude cause enough headaches in Aspen; I’m looking to help alleviate them, not add to them. I want to help local workers and businesses through the pandemic, expand and improve affordable housing, add more child care options, and maintain environmentally friendly policies. My litmus test for every matter before council will be how much each decision adds to the quality of life of the people in Aspen.

Aspen City Council has done a commendable job during an inconceivably terrible time. Fortunately Aspen is also a big-hearted, resource-rich community with the minds and means to see its way through even the darkest days. However, the city could stand to build on its efficiency and execution in ways that I’d argue a young(er), ego-free and fresh set of eyes can uniquely offer.

Please look for me around town, say hi and let me know what’s on your mind — I’m that guy in beige Carhartt overalls skinning up Tiehack at sunrise, squeezing in a noontime Bowl lap, playing men’s rec hockey, teaching Hebrew school at the Aspen Jewish Congregation, and generally trying to soak up and add to all that Aspen is about. If everyone who said they wanted the world to be a better place did what they could to fix it, something good has to come out of it, right? Please help me do my share by voting me into City Council.

Sam Rose can be reached at, phone at 802-752-7026 or


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 will be mailed out Feb. 8.

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