Jasmine Whelan takes a seat
By Mark Reaman
The Crested Butte town council on Monday appointed a relative newcomer to join the board. Jasmine Whelan was selected from among five candidates to replace councilwoman Laura Mitchell who stepped down from the council last month after moving out of town. Other applicants included Johnna Bernholtz, Ian Billick, Shaun Horne and Jerry Lund.
In her letter to the council, Whelan said she has lived in Crested Butte just under two years. While not previously active in local government, she said that “discovering and becoming a part of the community in Crested Butte has been one of the great joys and privileges of my life…I love the spirit of this town that we all work hard to foster. I also understand that, until all the stakeholders affected by a problem come together and take responsibility for their own role in the solution, it is not possible for a community to solve the problem.”
Whelan told the council that the past year has underscored the challenges of the community, such as affordable housing. She said she has a broad range of community contacts that she can help pull together to seek solutions. Whelan participated in the recent Butte Bagels affordable housing meeting and has since been working with community members to research the issue and come up with new solutions.
Several citizens spoke in favor of her appointment saying that as a renter in town, she could bring a needed perspective to council discussions.
Billick, Lund and Horne all spoke to their interest in the council position and offered their perspective on issues, particularly the housing issue. Bernholtz was out of town and did not attend the meeting. After using the “weighted voting” system where each councilmember ranks each candidate and gives them points, the tally score was tabulated by town clerk Lynelle Stanford who announced that Whelan had come out on top. She was sworn in and seated immediately. She will also step into the outside boards Mitchell was on including the Mountain Express, the West Elk Scenic Byway and the Grant Review committee. Mayor Jim Schmidt will fill Mitchell’s seat on the RTA.