Guest commentary: Aspen mayoral candidate Mullins gives vision for town’s diversity |

Guest commentary: Aspen mayoral candidate Mullins gives vision for town’s diversity

We are at a crucial juncture in our city governance. We have the opportunity to rebuild City Hall management with the transparency we seek, engagement of the public, clearer direction from City Council and input from city staff. We have the chance to do baseline services and budget review and staffing assessment. We can staff the senior management positions with people who are forward-thinking and responsive to our community. We can recognize and reward staff that already do this every day. We can populate City Hall with public employees whose first responsibility is to the community. This is a chance for a fresh start, with a strong, well-led council, working strategically with a professional city manager, engaging with the public and leading staff with respect, clear direction and reasonable objectives. But the city also is very vulnerable to careless decisions during this process.

It takes a certain type of leadership to do this right. Leadership that is assertive but not aggressive, listening but not reacting, thoughtful but not headline grabbing. It is the kind of leadership that I used to build a 50-person award-winning firm, responding to and being accountable to the marketplace, my employees, clients and the community as a seamless whole.

I won’t make my decisions lightly, but by being thoughtful and resourceful and always with the best long-term interest of the city in mind. I have the personality for this: even, calm, respectful, not reactive, not dominating, not volatile. The process I use is one that has proven effective; it is inclusive, strategic and transparent for getting to the best solutions for all of us.

A strong leader serves a strong vision. My vision for Aspen is a healthy, thriving community standing apart from other communities because it is utterly unique. We can only get there through diversity — diversity of housing options, of job opportunities, a unique mixture of small businesses, choices in transportation, choices in cultural and recreational activities, diversity of population. All these things put together create a rich and sustainable community but we have a lot of work to do to get there.

I will work to:

Improve affordable housing governance, inventory and management;

Support and preserve small businesses;

Protect our environment;

Find transportation and congestion solutions;

Support families;

Transform community outreach.

I have been part of the Aspen community since 1971, working as a waitress, a housekeeper and at the Popcorn Wagon. Then in the ’80s as a mom visiting with small kids. And then back, this time starting a new design business while working my way up from a ticket seller to a ski instructor at Buttermilk. I have been deeply involved in the community through my work on many boards and commissions for the city as well as serving on City Council.

I have a deep love for this city and the capacity to lead that will result in decisions with myself serving as mayor that are best for Aspen now and into the future.

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

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