Guest commentary: Aspen mayoral candidate Frisch would ‘listen, learn, lead’

Adam Frisch
Guest commentary

How does Aspen remain authentic in a less authentic world?

This is the question I have asked myself since Katy and I moved to Aspen to plant our roots, to build a community and to start and raise our family. While enjoying the honor of representing our community for the past eight years, this question has been foremost on my mind. I believe the next mayor, working alongside the council members and a dedicated, high-quality city staff, needs to lead through inspiration, dedication and communication to focus on this question. Our community’s concerns and aspirations, including our indispensable affordable-housing program, our land use code that emphasizes sense of place, the importance of a healthy community, and a continuation of our progressive environmental policies are all affected by our answer.

From day one, I viewed my leadership role at City Hall as elected community service. I have a proven track record of delivering — not just talking about, community goals — and would be honored to be able to continue to serve this community as everyone’s mayor. I have made some mistakes in the past; I am certain to make some in the future. I am not running to be a perfect mayor, but one who listens and learns from our community’s shared wisdom, and then delivers decisive and efficient action through our legislative process.

Of course, it is impossible to produce community goals single-handedly. Support from fellow elected officials and implementation by our dedicated staff are necessary elements of the process. However, community goals are typically initiated by individual members at the council table. I have been effective in introducing legislation during my eight years at the council table and am confident I can be even more so as your mayor. Some of my most successful initiatives that received support from my fellow elected officials and were effectively implemented by our skilled staff were:

• May 2012: Steered a proposed plastic bag tax to a ban on plastic non-reusable bags from our supermarkets.

• Fall 2012: Initiated a two-day, joint work session on affordable housing with the county, APCHA, and the city to focus on a demand study, future needs, opportunities and challenges to the program.

• November 2015: Initiated the balanced and thoughtful downzoning of 2016 by bringing the mayor, city attorney, and director of Community Development together to layout my goals and a process for a moratorium, solidifying a two-story downtown, mandating second-tier spaces in new buildings, and adding further protections for our important view planes.

• Fall 2017: Spearheaded a tobacco tax to City Council, which received 75 percent voter support.

I am humbled to be raising a family in this authentic town. It has been even more humbling to help lead our community forward. I ask for your vote for mayor this election season. I promise I will continue to listen, learn and lead.

Leading up to the March 5 municipal election, The Aspen Times is publishing one guest commentary from each candidate. Frisch’s website is, and he can be reached at