Erin Walker: Time for independent, fresh perspective
I am running for city council because it is time for a fresh and independent perspective.
As a part of the Young Professionals Network, I would be a liaison for young professionals to our city government. Young or old, residents face challenges every day. We are invested in this community, because we plan to stay here and want to have a part in shaping the future. I hope to be a piece in the puzzle as the next generation engages in civic duties.
I started coming to Steamboat when I was 12 years old and hiked my first backpacking trip at Three Island Lake. Since then, I’ve seen how Steamboat has changed through the years while maintaining its unique charm. When I got a job offer from Strings Music Festival, I felt as if things had come full circle. I am finally where I belong.
Working in the nonprofit sector for 15 years has given me the experience needed to effectively communicate and collaborate with diverse groups of people. At each organization I’ve worked for, I’ve improved transparency, something very important in the nonprofit industry.
I’ve raised and allocated funds under tight budget constraints. Convening and collaborating with various stakeholders has been an integral part of my role in every position I’ve held.
I have worked for two chambers of commerce (Cincinnati, Ohio, and Denver), which has given me insight about community development and helping businesses succeed. While the challenges in those communities are not identical, the larger picture is the same: transit, attainable housing and infrastructure are shared concerns in all places, affecting not only quality of life, but also prospects for responsible growth. I have dealt with each of these challenging topics and have worked with stakeholders to set goals, create plans and find and implement solutions.
Though each stakeholder might not be directly affected by a particular issue, most understand that each issue is part of the bigger picture. In Steamboat, we need to look at the big picture and recognize that all of these challenges are interconnected. Solving one does not solve all.
Throughout my life, I have learned the value of teamwork, communication and knowledge. Without stakeholders coming together as a team, success is minimalized.
While the city cannot solve all problems on its own, council can lead the charge in getting everyone on the team and moving forward together. Communication is the key to most solutions. When done in a respectful and transparent manner, communication solves many challenges and breeds trust among collaborators. I have made communication a priority throughout my career and will continue to do so on council.
Information is another answer to many challenges. Looking to other cities for best practices as well as our own studies that we have completed throughout the years will provide the roadmap needed to create our own unique solutions.
I’m open-minded and will put in the effort to educate myself on all sides of the issue. I have no agenda.
We have many challenges to address including hiring a new city manager, a police chief and a city attorney; attainable and affordable housing; early childhood education; and maintaining our quality of life.
I think the answers lie in the process. Convene the stakeholders, identify the challenge to be addressed, establish a long-term plan and then determine — via effective, transparent and open communication — how we will implement the plan.
I think I have all of the qualities necessary to make the process effective. It would be honor to apply my experience and skill sets to our challenges and go to work on your behalf, as Councilwoman Walker.
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