Lisel Petis appointed to Steamboat Springs City Council |

Lisel Petis appointed to Steamboat Springs City Council

Scott Franz

— Young professionals in Steamboat Springs have a new voice on the City Council.

After three and a half hours of interviews late Tuesday, the council needed only one round of voting to appoint Lisel Petis to the open council seat.

Petis, a financial manager and general counsel at Gerber Berend Design Build, is also a member of the Young Professionals Network.

"Very excited, very honored," Petis said late Tuesday after she was appointed. "There was some very good competition."

The current council Tuesday, interviewed nine applicants for the seat Tony Connell resigned from. Connell cited work demands and a desire to spend more time with his family as his reasons for resigning.

Petis was born and raised in Steamboat.

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“My main reason to be on City Council is to have an impact on my hometown and the hometown of my future children,” she said.

In a wide-ranging interview, she told the council she thinks she can provide insight to the young professionals, which she labeled as an underrepresented, but impactful, segment of the community.

“I know the issues they are facing that City Council might not know right now,” Petis said.

Petis also touted her financial and legal background along with her understanding of Steamboat history.

“I would love to see (Howelsen Hill) still functioning and having Winter Carnival every year,” Petis said when asked what she hoped Steamboat would look like 25 years from now.

Petis also discussed what she thought of the council’s role in the city, saying a quote from City Manager Gary Suiter stuck with her.

“He said City Council is the what and staff is the how,” she said. “I think that’s important.”

Petis previously served as senior deputy district attorney in the 14th Judicial District. She has also served on multiple boards and commissions in Northwest Colorado, including Grand Futures, Integrated Community and the Domestic Violence Task Force in Craig.

Petis earned four votes from the six-member council during the first round of voting.

A group of young professionals and others in the audience reacted with applause and cheers after the appointment was announced.

Petis’ appointment is history making in a few ways.

She is the first millennial to serve on the council, and her appointment also gives the council its second female-majority in the city’s history.

The last time the council had four women on the dais was in 1987, when Paula Cooper Black, Rita Farley Tolson (Valentine), Mary Brown and Julie Schwall served together.

The Steamboat City Council of 1987 was the only one in state at the time with a majority of women, and they were sworn in at a time that the number of women in government was on the rise nationally.

The Steamboat Pilot noted that nationally, the number of women council members rose from 3.6 percent in 1971 to 12.8 percent in the 1980s.

Then city-manager Harvey Rose didn’t think the historic milestone in Steamboat would bring about much change.

“I look at City Council people based on political philosophies and voting records,” he told the Pilot. “The new City Council will be very progressive, as was the old.”

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10