Guest commentary: Sheriff recommends Torre, Mesirow and Richards |

Guest commentary: Sheriff recommends Torre, Mesirow and Richards

Historically, I have been reluctant to publicly support candidates or issues. It’s not how I preferred to use my voice. However, I believe the current municipal election may be one of the most significant we’ve had in the 38 years that I’ve lived in Aspen. For the following reasons, I’m voting for Torre, Skippy Mesirow and Rachel Richards.

We need a change in leadership. The other mayoral candidates are good people and public servants. However, they helped get us where we are today. Torre represents a much-needed change. As Aspenites, we elect a mayor and council to make decisions on our behalf. Sending the electorate to the ballot box every time there is a tough decision is contrary to this process. As a past councilman, Torre always offered an alternative view, and believed tough decisions should be made at the dais, not always at the ballot box. Torre is a true community member and in touch. Around here it’s a compliment if someone says “you’re one of us” — that simply means you get it. If you’ve never heard that then you probably don’t get it. Torre is one of us. Among other things, he will fight for employee housing and higher wages.

I’ve known Rachel for over 30 years, and I worked closely with her when she was a county commissioner, mayor and councilwoman. Rachel’s vast experience locally, statewide and nationally will provide the steady hand Aspen needs during this time of change. There is no doubt Rachel is the most experienced candidate in the field; no one else comes close. Rachel is not a “shoot from the hip” decision-maker; she is thoughtful, intelligent and compassionate. She’s worked hard earning a modest living while living in employee housing. Rachel will prioritize issues like employee housing and has committed to the next phase of Burlingame and to finally develop the BMC Lumberyard site. I’ve worked closely with many elected officials in this community. It’s hard to find one as dedicated as Rachel.

I first met Skippy five years ago. I was perplexed by Skippy’s slick threads and slicker blond hairstyle, totally out of place for the “Old Mining Town.” It’s now five years later. Skippy’s record of community volunteerism speaks for itself. He’s served as a volunteer on the Planning and Zoning commission for five years, a thankless job requiring long hours. Skippy plays a role in major development decisions; planning and zoning is the perfect farm team for a councilperson. Whether you like the new municipal voting date or not doesn’t matter. What does matter is Skippy saw something he believed needed a change, activated a group and successfully changed the voting date. Employee housing is important to all of us (except possibly some developers). I strongly believe Skippy will take our employee housing issue head on; he’s made it his No. 1 priority. Torre will provide bold leadership, and Rachel and Skippy will offer yin and yang of experience and youthful boldness.

Vote on or before March 5.

Joe DiSalvo is on his third term as Pitkin County Sheriff.

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