Guest commentary: Aspen council candidate wants to foster equity, stability in community |

Guest commentary: Aspen council candidate wants to foster equity, stability in community

Kimbo Brown‐Schirato
Guest commentary

My name is Kimbo Brown‐Schirato and I am running for City Council. I grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa, studied business and economics at the University of Cape Town, came to Aspen-Snowmass for a post‐university ski season in 2004-05 and effectively never left. A 16‐year resident of the Roaring Fork Valley, I have lived in Snowmass Village, owned a home at the height of the housing crisis in Carbondale, and a week before my daughter was born, moved to Aspen after winning the APCHA lottery.

I met my husband on “Day 1, Job 1, Season 1” and we’ve been together since. After a few years of J‐1 and H2B visas in the hospitality industry, I received my green card by marriage and got my first job at an Aspen nonprofit, Aspen Youth Experience. In 2009, I started working at Obermeyer Wood Investment Counsel, where I manage client service and help our clients navigate their complex financial lives. In addition to my full‐time job, I help my husband run our small business, Aspen Custom Vans, building and renting camper vans for clients all over the country.

Making a difference in the community has always been a priority for me. I have engaged with various nonprofits and young-professional boards (Room to Read Aspen Chapter, Springboard Aspen, etc). I started a young‐professional volunteer organization that helped high school seniors apply to college by guiding them through essay and resume writing. I was recruited to join Aspen Community Foundation board at the height of its Cradle to Career planning efforts. I am keenly aware of the struggles individuals and families endure from Aspen to Parachute on a daily basis to just barely survive. There are large problems in our greater valley, and we need to apply big thinking to help solve them.

I am a founding member of the Aspen Next Generation Advisory Commission, which advances the policy interests of the 18‐ to 40‐year‐old demographic who either live or work in Aspen. Critical issues for this group are housing, child care and access to career advancement opportunities. It was during this time that I understood that effective policy could bring positive results to the lives of our community members. I joined the Planning & Zoning Commission in early 2020 to learn more about Aspen’s complex land-use code and built environment.

My experience in the nonprofit and public space would benefit our community. My perspective living the commuter life for a decade gives me the real experience of the challenges much of our working population must endure on a daily basis to service our economy.

Finally, I’m a working mom of a preschooler and I live the day‐to‐day experience of finding and affording high‐quality child care. As a young family, we were lucky enough to find an infant spot in 2017, but I know that’s not everyone’s story.

If elected to council, I will represent a demographic who has lacked direct representation for decades: a full‐time working mother of a young child who lives in APCHA housing.

I want our town to be the best place for visitors, second-home owners and full-time residents, and what makes that possible is that locals continue to live here and thrive. I want to create an environment that ensures our mountain resort community fosters equity and stability.

As a leader, I will push to create a shared vision with the community about what we wish for our children and grandchildren.

I promise to do the work and make the hard decisions to lay the groundwork to get us there.

I humbly ask for your vote.

Editor’s note: There are eight candidates running for two open seats on the Aspen City Council. The Aspen Times has offered each candidate a guest column of 600 words or less. The municipal election is March 2; ballots will be mailed out Feb. 8.

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