Letter: Elect Mick
I’ve lived in the Pitkin County and the Aspen area for more than 36 years and I cannot think of anyone more committed to protecting our natural environment or promoting a balanced, healthy community than Mick Ireland. For those Aspen voters who have arrived a little more recently than I, please know that Mick Ireland has been a pivotal leader in the efforts to create a successful affordable-housing program, often in the face of harsh criticism. He has been a consistent and sure voice for a program that would serve more than just resort workforce needs but also maintain a real living-and-breathing, multi-generational community.
His willingness to support big concepts has paid off handsomely for our community, with efforts to support mass transit even before there was a Roaring Fork Transportation Authority and later working to create our valley’s Regional Transportation Authority, leading to today’s bus rapid-transit system.
Mick has been a constant supporter of the Aspen School District and other programs for our kids. He has been a stalwart supporter of our community’s health and human-service needs — originating the concept of Pitkin County’s Healthy Community Fund and working to renew this program that helps fund Pitkin County Senior Services, the Community Health Office and a slew of other critically important valley nonprofits.
Mick Ireland understands the fine balance that exists between Aspen the community and Aspen the resort, voting against the oversized Lift 1A project (destined for a resident referendum vote, had it been approved) while working to bring in new, world-class events such as the Pro Cycling Challenge and successfully campaigning to increase Aspen’s bed tax for resort marketing purposes.
I write this letter to express my personal thanks to Mick Ireland for his willingness to serve, for working tirelessly to elect state leaders who would keep faith with the values of our town, such as Sen. Gail Schwartz and Rep. Millie Hamner, for being a leader who brought the city of Aspen into partnership with the county to help fund the purchase of Sky Mountain Park, for taking stands and taking the hits that come with living in the public spotlight, for the long nights spent worrying, contemplating and brainstorming possible solutions and compromises to the complex challenges our community faces.
I am voting for Mick Ireland in the June 2 Aspen City Council runoff, and I hope you will join me.
Rachel E. Richards