Sunday, September 24, 2017
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A squirl, a tattoo artist and ten other characters walk into an election…

The number and variety of people who filed to run for Crested Butte Town Council and mayor is a good sign. Getting a dozen hats thrown in the ring means we have an election. There will be a real race and that is good. There will be ink energy, donut energy, radio energy, female energy, veteran energy, youthful energy. It could be a fun ride this fall for everyone.

In the marketplace of political ideas that will be explored between now and November, there should be interesting discussion. There will be discussion between relative newcomers to town and folks who were here before the streets were all paved. There will be discussion between current councilmembers and people who probably never thought they’d throw their hat in the ring. Discussion on how the place should or shouldn’t grow and how your tax dollars are spent will come up.

On a super-superficial look, there are no doubt some interesting candidates. I don’t know some of them at all and I know some of them really well. I’ve argued with several and to my knowledge never laid eyes on others.

I’m not sure how everyone lives here but without knowing much, it appears there is a tattoo artist, a bus driver, a ski coach, tree cutter dude, architect, lawyer, nurse/midwife, a furry squirl designer/draftsman type with one R and no E, a BBB (bed-breakfast-and-brewer) owner, a health food store biker-type, a donut maker and a restaurant owner/consultant running for seats. One is a Green Man and another is a Flauschink King. There may be some more royalty in the mix but we’re not sure yet. It appears there’s a cute couple running for the Crested Butte homecoming court so that could count in the royalty realm in a, shall we say, “unique” sort of way.

Some live in affordable housing, some rent and others own a free market house in Crested Butte. Some of the candidates have kids and I’m not sure who has a pet—but we’ll find out when we grill them this fall.

And there will be some grilling. That’s part of the deal of running for Town Council so these candidates shouldn’t take it personally. There is a spotlight that comes with running for public office. But we will have a month where everyone gets to answer questions and then we’ll try to put everyone on stage for the citizens to ask what they want during a Candidate’s Forum in October.

Character counts. How you treat people counts. How you react to weird, sometimes uncomfortable questions and questionable humor (usually by me) counts. Positions on the issues count. Those hoping to be a part of Crested Butte’s Magnificent Seven will get to field questions about each and lay out their vision for the future.

As a guy who has been there, being a member of the Town Council can be a super-rewarding experience. You can make a real difference. It can be fun. It takes a lot of time and energy. A lot. If you want to accomplish something, there is more work than an every-other-Monday meeting. But there is the chance to stand up and guide this community that I know all of you love, otherwise you wouldn’t throw your hat in the ring. But it is a serious position. You aren’t running for student council, even though people sometimes lay that moniker on the council. What you decide will matter to your kids and all of us living in the valley.

So here’s a shout-out to the dapper dozen who have taken a brave action to put themselves out there. It’s exciting to see some young people, the next wave of Crested Buttians, get involved and be willing to speak for their future. Stepping up in a small town takes some courage and passion and hopefully some creativity. We’ll try to find out over the next couple of months who can articulate that passionate vision for a good (whatever that means) Crested Butte future. Thanks for doing it—and while there are certainly serious ramifications that come with the job, remember to enjoy this ride. People want to vote for people who not only are serious about the job but also those who can make them smile.

—Mark Reaman

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