Our View: Step up and serve
In November, Steamboat Springs voters will be electing four new members to the seven-person City Council — three four-year seats representing each of the city’s election districts and one two-year at-large seat. Who runs and who gets elected is pivotal this year because four new council members have the power to change the council’s dynamic in positive or negative ways.
We hope multiple candidates will emerge to run for each open seat. Contested races incentivize candidates to reveal their priorities and publicize their platforms to appeal to voters — a vitally important part of the election process.
To get on the ballot, applicants must fill out a candidate affidavit and submit a nomination petition signed by at least 25 registered electors within their district. The at-large petition may be signed by at least 25 registered electors from the entire city. Petitions can be obtained from the city clerk and must be returned by 5:30 p.m. Aug. 23.
Eligibility is simple. Potential candidates must be at least 18 years old on the day of the election, and they must have resided in the city for at least one year. For those seeking a district seat, they must reside in the area they want to represent.
While the bar is low when it comes to eligibility to run, the stakes couldn’t be higher. There are urgent issues to be addressed, and we need smart people to lead us through these challenges to find opportunities. This new council will be making decisions on a number of topics that are vitally important to the future of Steamboat Springs, including: attainable work force housing; short-term rentals; potential annexation of the Steamboat 700 property for future development on the west side of town; transportation, including a regional transit authority study and sustainability of the city’s free bus system; and the cost and scarcity of child care.
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
Other important discussions will revolve around how to increase accessibility of city government and improve external communication between council and constituents, as well as how to balance the interest of locals and tourists when it comes to city services and marketing decisions. It can also be expected that the city’s long-term fiscal sustainability will come back before the council with a property tax potentially back on the table.
At issue: Four Steamboat Springs City Council seats are up for election in November.
Our View: There are urgent issues to address, and we’d like to see a diverse slate of candidates running for office in the fall.
• Logan Molen, publisher
• Lisa Schlichtman, editor
• Marion Kahn, community representative
• Laraine Martin, community representative
Contact the Editorial Board at 970-871-4221 or lschlichtman@SteamboatPilot.com.
In June, Steamboat Pilot & Today and the Steamboat Springs Chamber’s Public Policy Committee hosted a “Step Up and Serve” panel with several former and soon to be term-limited council members participating. They were asked what makes a good council member, and their answers were revealing and relevant, and we couldn’t agree more with the qualities they listed.
We don’t need single-topic candidates or those with an anti-growth, “not in my backyard” mindset. The best candidates are those who are open minded, inclusive and willing to study and listen to all sides of an issue. It’s also important council members be creative problem solvers who practice outside-of-the-box thinking, balanced by reason and logic. Transparency, the ability to make hard decisions and a bit of a thick skin are other key qualities we’ll be looking for in a candidate. As a council member, it’s OK to the “bad guy” in the right moment, and voters will respect you if you do the right thing rather than trying to make everyone happy by doing nothing.
We’d also like to see a more diverse group of council candidates on the November ballot. Steamboat historically has done a good job of electing women to the council, but more diversity in terms of age, experience, socioeconomic background and race or ethnicity is needed. It’s important the council represent a rich cross section of our community so that all voices are heard.
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The date has been set for the 2021 Election Forum, which is hosted by Steamboat Pilot & Today, Routt County Democrats, Routt County Republicans and the Steamboat Springs Chamber’s Economic Development Council.