Rachel Richards, still truckin’

When Rachel Richards won the log-splitting contest and a ribbon in pie-baking contest on the same afternoon at the Carbondale Fair, I was standing in the cheering crowd.

That was about 35 years ago.

I overheard admirers say that Rachel was a single mother, raising a little boy all by herself and living in a mobile home in Aspen Village. Someone else added that her trailer was packed with science, history and self-help books.

After the log and the pie bit, and moving into town, Rachel would go on to win a seat on the Aspen City Council. Remember, she was “just a novice.”

Then, she would blast through the next 25 years excelling — for the benefit of you and me — as an Aspen city councilwoman, mayor and Pitkin County commissioner.

Among dozens of achievements way too numerous to list, she would collaborate with others to bring us the Aspen Recreation Center, the Yellow and Red Brick schools for child care and nonprofit groups and housing for seniors.

Last summer she graduated from Harvard’s JFK School of Leadership, a program for senior executives in state and local government. (The Colorado Gates Family had given her a scholarship.)

Now she pledges to work with the Colorado Legislature to lower the cost of individual health insurance.

Hard to believe we could have her back again — for another four years — on the Aspen City Council.

If I were writing her ads for this March 5 election, I would repeat her very first slogan from the 1990s — “Rachel Richards Mother Trucker. Put her (back) to work downtown.”

Karen Day