Village Voices: Snowmass Mayor and Town Council candidates detail their values, priorities


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 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 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

For the next four weeks leading up to Election Day, the Snowmass Sun will feature the two candidates running for Snowmass Mayor and five candidates running for Snowmass Town Council on the Village Voices community page.

The Snowmass Sun asked all seven candidates to respond to five questions about his/her guiding values and stances on issues and topics relevant to the Snowmass Village community, and each candidate’s responses to one question will run on Page 2 starting this week and ending with the Oct. 28 issue.

This year’s local ballot asks Snowmass Village voters to choose a new mayor, as current Mayor Markey Butler has reached her term limit, and to vote on who will fill the two open council seats, as Tom Goode’s and Alyssa Shenk’s current terms are up. Goode is running for mayor and Shenk is running for re-election to Town Council. There are four new candidates who also are running for council, including Matthew Owens, Gray Warr, Tom Fridstein and Jeff Kremer.

As explained by Town Clerk Rhonda Coxon, local elections occur every even year. She said having five Town Council candidates running for two open seats is a higher-than-usual turnout for Snowmass, and that since Bill Madsen is a current Town Council member running for the open mayor position, if he wins his council seat would be open as well.

If this happens, Coxon explained that the newly elected Town Council would appoint a person to the open seat through an application and interview process. Tom Goode hypothetically could apply to be appointed to Madsen’s open council seat if Madsen is elected mayor, Coxon explained, but Goode would have to go through the appointment process and the decision would be up to the council. Coxon said any Snowmass resident who meets town qualifications also could apply for Madsen’s council seat if he were to win the mayor race.

If Madsen loses, he will finish out the remaining two years of his current council term, Coxon said. The local and general elections will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 3 and will be coordinated by Pitkin County.

For this first week of responses, Snowmass mayor and Town Council candidates provided some basic information about themselves and why they hope voters choose them to serve as Snowmass elected officials, and answered the question, “What are the top three values and priorities you feel should guide government decision-making in Snowmass Village?” Here are the candidates’ responses:

Mayor candidate: Bill Madsen

Age: 55

Profession: Director of NASTAR

How long have you lived in Snowmass?

I have lived in Snowmass for 26 years and was born and raised in Aspen.

What made you decide you wanted to run for mayor?

Serving on the Snowmass Village Town Council for the past six years has been a positive experience, and my neighbors and friends encouraged me to consider running for mayor. The support shown has been humbling and the time feels right to take on a new challenge. I believe we need to stay focused on building community character to make sure Snowmass Village is a vibrant place to live, raise a family, work and play.

What are the top three values and priorities you feel should guide government decision-making in Snowmass Village?

The three most important values and priorities for Snowmass Village should be to provide our locals and guests with (1) a Fun Community, (2) a Resilient Community, and (3) a Safe Community. Great skiing puts Snowmass on the map and providing recreational opportunities should continue to be a priority. Our beautiful valley attracts residents and visitors because it is a family-friendly community. Our community offers amazing amenities and unique experiences that result in fun, lifelong memories. Along with the success of maintaining a fun environment comes resilience. A resilient community requires conservative budgets that are prepared to sustain economic fluctuations. A resilient community means looking for ways to be as carbon neutral as possible, providing our village with an abundant water supply by expanding storage and ensuring we are well connected. A resilient community provides the workforce with local, affordable housing, resulting in a reduced number of commuters. Finally, it is of utmost importance to provide a safe community that offers locals and guests a sense of security. The well-connected village allows people to walk, bike, bus and drive safely and easily. The combination of Fun, Resilience, and Safety are the priorities that our community needs to flourish.

Mayor candidate: Tom Goode

Age: 71

Profession: Plumbing and heating contractor

How long have you lived in Snowmass?

I moved here in 1973 for several years and then into Aspen, then back here in 1989.

What made you decide you wanted to run for mayor?

After serving on the Board of Appeals (33 years) and then on the Snowmass Planning Commission, I decided to run for Town Council. I was elected to council to take over a 13-month term that was evacuated by a former member and then elected for another four-year term. Now I would like to continue my service and commitment to the community and take my skills to a higher level to make a positive difference in the future of Snowmass Village.

What are the top three values and priorities you feel should guide government decision-making in Snowmass Village?

I believe the values of decision-making in government should be of the highest level where honesty, commitment and open mindedness are at the core. By incorporating these core values in our decision-making, we will be on the right path to accomplish our goals and gain the trust and respect of our community.

The priorities to guide decision-making must be the priorities of all community residents. After having conversations with residents detailing their concerns, one of my priorities is workforce housing. We have more than 100 people on the waitlist for rental opportunities that would enable them to live where they work and save commuting time. Bringing the workforce here is a benefit and advantage.

Another priority brought to my attention is child care and housing for child care workers. I am talking about quality child care and not just babysitting.

Another priority is pedestrian safety. It is very important for this town to continue to secure the safety of hikers, walkers and bikers. We need more paths and need to continue to promote all of our trails with proper signage for safety for all.

Supporting local businesses is another priority. They are very valuable to this community and their needs shouldn’t be overlooked.

Town Council candidate: Matthew Owens

Age: 42

Profession: Property manager with Mr. Project Property Management LLC and transitioning out of role as housing operations manager with Aspen Skiing Co. (resigned; last day Oct. 15)

How long have you lived in Snowmass?

16 years

What made you decide you wanted to run for Town Council?

Snowmass Village has many unique challenges to face in the near future. In particular, I believe decisions around housing, local business and the health and safety of this community will be at the forefront. Diverse representation is a necessity for Town Council in order to make educated and appropriate decisions. How we choose to move forward and not only recover from a very tough year but also ultimately thrive is a challenge I’m up for.

What are the top three values and priorities you feel should guide government decision-making in Snowmass Village?

Fiscal Responsibility

I believe that fiscal responsibility should always be a top priority for local governments. It is crucial that budget decisions are being adhered to both effectively and efficiently.

Ethical and moral conduct

I strongly believe that local government officials are serving not only as representatives but also as role models to the community. Therefore, it is important that Town Council members are upstanding citizens with strong ethics and a good moral compass. These characteristics are crucial when making difficult decisions.

Local government is responsible for planning in a way that leads to long-term success for our citizens and our economy. Town Council members must be able to look at the big picture and take into account how decisions made now might affect the future of our community. All decisions must be practical to minimize the risk of a lasting negative impact.

Town Council candidate: Gray Warr

Age: 40

Profession: Employed as the Snowmass Ski School Adult Alpine Program Coordinator and with Guest Services for the town of Snowmass Village.

How long have you lived in Snowmass?

Eight years

What made you decide you wanted to run for Town Council?

Having recently become a father, I wish to take part in the shaping of the community around us. I believe in tastefully growing the economy of Snowmass Village while maintaining open space and being environmentally prudent. I believe in affordable housing to compliment our strong workforce.

What are the top three values and priorities you feel should guide government decision-making in Snowmass Village?

The values of Snowmass Village are fun, community-focused, family-friendly, thriving, charming, resilient, safe, emotionally connected and unique. While all the chosen values have merit, if I had to choose three of these values, I would choose community-focused, family-friendly, and emotionally connected. I choose community-focused because we should always act in accordance with the beliefs and values of our community. Snowmass is a wonderful, unique town because of its people. I choose family-friendly because Snowmass is and should always be a fun, safe environment to raise a family. Finally, I choose emotionally connected because anyone that has chosen to live in Snowmass Village knows exactly why; there is no greater place on earth.

Town Council candidate: Alyssa Shenk

Age: 44

Profession: Attorney and Development and Events Coordinator for Pathfinders

How long have you lived in Snowmass?

13 years; 16 years total in the Roaring Fork Valley

What made you decide you wanted to run for Town Council?

While serving the Snowmass Village community over the past six years — residents, acquaintances, employees, neighbors, guests, second homeowners and friends — I have developed valuable insight into the importance of ensuring families and women in particular have a distinct voice on Town Council. Working on behalf of the community has been meaningful and I’m eager to help keep ushering SMV toward realizing its carefully identified goals.

What are the top three values and priorities you feel should guide government decision-making in Snowmass Village?


To ensure our future as a sustainable and resilient community, we need to continue working to preserve open space and protect our precious and fragile environment. Supporting the local economy is essential, too, all while being mindful of our guiding principles as we evaluate and balance growth.

Town Character

The Town Comprehensive Plan affirms our community aspirations and is designed to protect our unique, small village character and local values. However, maintaining our character is not just about responsible growth. The commitment we make to each other and this community is paramount to remaining a well-balanced and connected community that is genuine, fun, active and healthy, and attracts year-round residents and visitors.

Quality of Life

Snowmass Village is exceptional for where it is and what it has to offer — and it’s all made possible by the people who live and work here. We have a duty to meet the needs of our workforce and full-time residents by continuing to explore affordable housing opportunities that allow for us to maintain our diverse and exceptional community.

Town Council candidate: Tom Fridstein

Age: 69

Profession: Architect

How long have you lived in Snowmass?

Full-time five years, part-time 45 years

What made you decide you wanted to run for Town Council?

I care deeply about Snowmass Village and I want to contribute my knowledge, experience and diligence to benefit all our residents and visitors. I have learned much about our community as chairman of the Planning Commission and member and past president of the Snowmass Rotary Club. Since first visiting Snowmass Village in 1968, I have watched our community develop into an extraordinary place which I want to help enhance and preserve.

What are the top three values and priorities you feel should guide government decision-making in Snowmass Village?

1. Fairness and Equity

It is the responsibility of the Town Council to represent all members of the community in a fair and equal manner. This involves listening to all sides of an issue, evaluating how the issue is considered within our town regulations and ordinances, and acting in an equitable way to best serve the community’s interests.

2. Intelligent, informed problem-solving

Many of the issues that the Town Council will face will be complex with multiple interests and ramifications. The council must be smart and patient to fully understand the issues to make the best decisions for the community.

3. Maintaining the Town’s unique character

Town Council must strive to find the necessary balance between physical improvements and maintaining the natural character and small-town feel that makes Snowmass Village a special place to live, play and work. Private and public projects will be proposed that must be carefully analyzed and adjusted to preserve the unique character of the village while improving the quality of life for residents and enhancing the experience for visitors.

Town Council candidate: Jeff Kremer

Age: 69

Profession: Retired after committing 40 years of my career to behavioral health (mental health/chemical dependency). During that time I worked as a clinician, clinical supervisor, program director and for the final 20 years as a Senior Management team member for two organizations.

How long have you lived in Snowmass?

I first lived in Snowmass Village for a six-month period in 1985. I was able to explore much of the surrounding terrain, and the grandeur and “spirit of place” that is Snowmass Village left a deep impression on me. I returned with my wife, Annette, in 1991, where we raised our two children. Thus, we have lived here for the past 29 years.

What made you decide you wanted to run for Town Council?

First and foremost, I want to represent the people who reside in town. I want to support amenities that will enhance the quality of life for our residents. A common refrain I have heard from people is that they feel some council members are “out of touch” with the community. I want to be part of a solution to that perceived problem. Finally, my POSTR Board experience motivated me to become a town decision-maker.

What are the top three values and priorities you feel should guide government decision-making in Snowmass Village?

While it is not monolithic, to represent the “will of the people” with as much fidelity as I can muster. To govern “in service” to our community.

Respect for and preservation of the unique environment that is Snowmass Village.

Demonstrate integrity, honesty and respect as a council member.

A redesigned entrance more welcoming and worthy of our town. This would include eliminating the dirt parking lot and refurbishing the pond and wetlands to create more recreational opportunities and a wetlands sanctuary.

Improving and completing Town Park in a phased manner. This would include a more efficient use of the rodeo space while preserving the rodeo as part of the heritage of Snowmass Village; and continued building of the trail system to accommodate the growth of mountain biking and to allow for greater disbursement of all types of trail users.

Continued creation of employee housing, both rental and deed-restricted. Residents living in this housing provide the human infrastructure that enables our businesses, agencies and institutions to function. Employee housing is important in sustaining financial diversity to create a well-rounded community.


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