Kury: Actually, I do get a lot done as a local who has worked hard | AspenTimes.com

Kury: Actually, I do get a lot done as a local who has worked hard

Kelly McNicholas Kury
Kelly McNicholas Kury
File photo

I’m Kelly McNicholas Kury, running for re-election to Pitkin County commissioner. While my opponent is approachable and nice, I’d like to see Erin Smiddy focus on her own story and keep quiet about mine — of which she knows very little about. 

I don’t tend to focus on my own life’s hardships because I’m an eternally grateful person and because I want to remain humble in the face of others who have it much harder in life. Yet, because Erin has taken it upon herself to tell my narrative, I think it merits some correction.  

She claims that I’ve had it “too easy.” Did I have it easy when I helped my mother in end-stages of terminal cancer? Or, my father learn to become a widower? Or, received multiple job rejections before receiving an offer from the Pitkin County Elections Office — unexpected to me more than anyone? Or, how about when I had to move four times in the first two years of living here? Or, my husband and I had seven jobs between us in order to afford our APCHA condo? Or, when I waitressed and catered to save for that down payment nights and weekends every week in addition to working 60 to 80 hours running Pitkin County’s elections?

Or, how about trying to stay calm and focused during a pandemic, while getting criticized by a stressed community and the press on a daily basis, while also caring full time for my two kids under the age of 4? Or, even amidst fear, anger, and tears had to calmly respond to threats against me in my own neighborhood? 

Erin may have browbeat a bear, but I think she’ll find that trying to browbeat the other commissioners or members of the community into getting her way will be a rapidly ineffective approach. 

She claims I’ve been ineffective on the board. Was I ineffective when I successfully lobbied for $8 million in COVID-relief funding? Or, ineffective in my first six months of office by fundamentally changing how the county supports families? Or, how about in shepherding along short-term rental rules? Or, bringing together multiple governments and community stakeholders to protect the Crystal River? 

Erin claims that I don’t know the community or don’t work on behalf of locals. She implies that somehow I’m not a local even though my life is here, I’ve dedicated my heart to this community, and birthed two children here. Is my husband a local who has worked in the service industry here for 17 years?

Erin has said that when she votes on policy, she’ll be representing the longtime locals. What’s the threshold? Who gets to cross it? What of those who just moved here and vote? To me, it sounds like a very narrow definition of community.  

She and I agree that what’s good for the community is good for the resort economy. But, how is it helping locals when she says that short-term rental rules have been a distraction of the BOCC? Or, she does not believe rightsizing in APCHA housing will work because she sits on three empty bedrooms in her four-bedroom house instead of renting long term to local workers (or even short term!). This despite the dire need of our business community, despite the fact that there are families who are putting their kids in closets and bathrooms while they wait on the lottery. Under my time at APCHA, the rules have changed to make it fairer, and Erin would never be able to have bought such a large home from her mother without filling the empty bedrooms with workers. 

Erin has been an armchair analyst, in my estimation, having not once showed up at a BOCC or APCHA meeting in the last four years, having not once shown up at our planning and zoning, healthy rivers, and streams, open space and trails, public health board meetings, etc., and having not once emailed the BOCC with her opinion on any policy topic. She may claim to get her hands dirty, but I simply haven’t seen it. 

We have serious problems to solve, and I believe Pitkin County needs someone who has gotten things done and shows up every day with more than just a summary of the headlines or uninformed opinions.  

I invite the entire community to learn more about my accomplishments, the boards I represent you on, and my vision for the future at http://www.k2forc2.com. Thank you for your consideration and your vote!

Kelly McNicholas Kury is the incumbent Pitkin County commissioner and Democratic Party candidate for the position.