Current council members Bill Madsen and Tom Goode compete for Snowmass mayor
NOVEMBER 2020 ELECTIONS IN PITKIN COUNTY
The 2020 general and local elections in Pitkin County will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 3. Aspen-Snowmass residents should look for their ballots by mail over the week of October 11, according to Janice Vos Caudill, chief election official for Pitkin County. Drop-off locations for ballots include outside of Snowmass Town Hall, in front of the Pitkin County Administration Building, and outside of Basalt Town Hall, Caudill said. There will also be early voting available at the Aspen Jewish Community Center from Oct. 19 through Nov. 2, 8:30 to 4:30. Caudill said during early voting at the center, Pitkin residents can vote in-person, drop off their mail ballots, pick up a mail ballot, update voter registration and register to vote.
County residents will also be able to vote in-person Nov. 3 at Snowmass Town Hall, the Aspen Jewish Community Center and the Basalt Library, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Caudill said.
For more information on this year’s elections, visit pitkinvotes.com.
Things in Snowmass government are set to shake up this fall as village voters look to elect a new mayor and fill two open Town Council seats.
Five residents are running for council — a higher than normal showing for the open seats, town staff said — and current council members Bill Madsen and Tom Goode are running for mayor, as current Mayor Markey Butler has reached her term limit.
Madsen and Goode sat down with the Snowmass Sun to discuss why they decided to run for mayor, what they feel they have to offer in the council leadership position and what local issues and topics matter most to them.
MADSEN STRIVES TO BE APPROACHABLE, PRAGMATIC
For Madsen, serving as an elected official in Snowmass Village is all about representing residents and seeing their goals for the town through in the most pragmatic way possible.
An Aspen native and 24-year Snowmass resident, Madsen said Snowmass Village reminds him of what Aspen used to be, and that he feels a sort of obligation to lead its Town Council because of his deep local roots.
“I live in Dick Wall’s former home, he used to be mayor here. And his son Bill was one of my good buddies growing up, so I spent a lot of time over here and this was my first real connection to Snowmass,” Madsen said.
“So living in Dick’s house I almost feel obligated to run for mayor because it’s like ‘oh, look at this great community and great employee housing I am a part of,’ so I almost owe it to the community and hope I represent it well.”
But it’s not just the connection to a childhood friend and former Snowmass mayor that’s led Madsen to add his name to the ballot this year. Madsen said he feels he has a lot to offer with his pragmatic- and consensus-driven approach to solving tough local issues, can connect easily with residents through his “ski bum”-like personality and family’s local history, and has a lot of leadership experience to pull from.
Madsen has spent the past 30 years as the director of the NASTAR program, the world’s largest and most accessible grassroots ski-racing program. He also was a ski racer at the University of Colorado, coached ski racing for Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club and Aspen High School and was an Aspen Junior Hockey coach, among other coaching and winter sports-related community contributions.
Madsen is currently in the middle of his second term on Snowmass Town Council, where he has worked to serve as a voice of reason and help guide consensus. He said being an elected official has been a very rewarding experience because of how well the current council has been able to function and find the right way forward.
As mayor, Madsen said he hopes to focus more on employee housing, trails and town connectivity, and reigniting efforts to create an Ice Age Discovery Center in Snowmass.
“I think the potential for Snowmass is so great because people come here for athletic endeavors, that’s what defines us, but I think Snowmass needs to have something that is intellectually stimulating, too,” Madsen said. “And I think the Ice Age Discovery is and should be a real tourist attraction and has a lot of potential.”
He also said that he feels sustainable development done right is an important driver of future village success, something he learned growing up in Aspen.
“I think growing up here, you accept change and you have to learn to accept change because it’s everywhere,” Madsen said. “Development is an important part of sustainability of our village and doing it in the right way is the most important thing because people are coming anyway, so rather than hold developers up as the evil enemy, we really need to embrace them and say all right, it’s your property, you’re going to develop it, what can you do to add to the community?”
While Madsen said he doesn’t plan to do any door-to-door campaigning this fall, he does have a “Vote for Madsen” Facebook page where he plans to push out more on his values and driving issues to address as mayor, and hopes to host some smaller campaign gatherings to connect with the village community.
GOODE GOES ALL IN TO SERVE COMMUNITY
Goode had a difficult decision to make this summer.
This is the last year of his first four-year Town Council term. The nearly 50-year Snowmass resident and former town Planning Commission chair could either run for his open council seat again, or he could run for the open position of mayor.
If he wins, Goode will continue to serve the town at least another four years as mayor. If he loses, he will no longer serve Snowmass as an elected official.
“I’m running without a safety net because if I lose, I’m done,” Goode said, emphasizing that if Madsen loses he will finish out the last two years of his current Town Council term. “So I think I’m taking more of a chance, I’m putting myself out there for the community to decide if they want me to go forward.”
Giving back to the local community has always been an important part of Goode’s life. A New Jersey native and former high school shop teacher and football coach, Goode came out to Snowmass for a year to ski and never went back, soon starting his own plumbing and heating company and following in his family’s footsteps.
“I grew up with the plumbing and heating business, my dad and brother and my dad’s brother and son were all union plumbers back East so I spent a lot of time doing that in the summers and stuff but I didn’t think I wanted to be a plumber,” Goode said. “But when I got here I realized a knew a lot more than a lot of people in the valley knew and said this isn’t a bad thing to get into and a good way to contribute.”
From serving on the county Board of Appeals and town Planning Commission to restarting the Aspen High School Football program and continuing to referee local high school football games, Goode said he’s worked hard to take care of locals and support the Snowmass area community.
“I’ve always done some sort of community service, I always feel I have to give back to the community regardless of what I have,” Goode said.
As mayor, Goode hopes to take all of the skills he’s learned as part of the various government boards he’s served on, including Town Council, forward to focus on creating more access to and diverse workforce housing options, strengthening child care services in Snowmass, making it easier for locals to “age in place,” and ensuring the village develops at a sustainable pace.
“We have a lot going on between the third phase of Base Village, the Snowmass Center, we possibly have this new transit center, and I’m the only one who voted against (the transit center). Why did I vote against it? Because I feel we have too much going on,” Goode said. “There are a lot of things that might happen with the different nodes but how much can the community take at once? I’m not pro-building and I’m not against it, I just want to control it a little bit because I just think sometimes it’s too much for our community to handle.”
When asked how he plans to campaign for Snowmass mayor, Goode said he has some “special things” ordered and planned that the local community should look out for, and that he’s committed to continue serving Snowmass as an elected official if the community wants him in that role.
“I just feel my job’s not done,” Goode said. “I just feel I have more to give to this community.”
To learn more about Madsen, Goode and the Town Council candidates, grab a copy of next week’s Snowmass Sun. For more information, turn to Page 2 of this week’s Sun edition.
Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story said that if Bill Madsen loses the upcoming election, he would have to be reappointed to Town Council, which is inaccurate. The story has been updated to reflect the fact that Madsen would not have to be reappointed and would finish out the last two years of his current council term if he loses.
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The five Snowmass locals competing for the two open Town Council seats discussed what they feel are the top two major issues facing Snowmass elected officials.