Questionnaire: Town of Erie

What are your top three qualifications to run for public office?
Integrity, commitment, and courage.

In my time as Trustee for the Town, I have held true to my beliefs and the platform upon which I ran, advocating above all else for our residents’ health, safety, and welfare. I stood alone in my opposition to the Crestone operator agreement because none of the provisions of the agreement were sufficient to prevent the noise and odor nuisances from previous operations. I’ve testified at numerous hearings and legislative sessions, consistently calling for an end to residential drilling. I am proud of the integrity I bring to the office of Trustee, and will continue to do the same as Mayor.

I’m the only Board member that has attended every Board of Trustees regular meeting since I was elected. I am a committed public servant.

I am an ardent supporter of the Town Center project, which will bring a long-needed diversity of retail and residential development to the center of town, knowing all too well that we are neither economically nor environmentally sustainable as a bedroom community. I have the courage to do things differently.

What are three issues you would like to address as mayor?
Developers of all sizes still face significant challenges with bringing projects to Erie; between frustrations at the Planning department, an overly-prescriptive Unified Development Code, and excessive fees, it’s time to overhaul how we bring development to Erie. When we show success in our implementation of the Town Center master plan to start in on two of the five parcels this year, we will use this model to attract additional unique, place-making developments to the Town.

We must put an end to the practice of residential drilling; if we treated unconventional oil & gas exploration like any other industry, the practice would cease to exist. I believe in a just transition from fossil fuels to carbon-free renewables; I’ll vigorously support programs that ensure the workers that have given so much to heat our homes, fuel our cars, and ensure our energy independence can transfer their skills and jobs to other industries.

Traffic and the lack of regional transportation infrastructure is the third top issue in Erie. Given state and federal gas tax rates upon which CDOT relies haven’t changed since 1991, only $209MM is available for local projects for the entire state each year. We’re already significantly constrained by traffic on SH7 and Highway 52 with no near-term projects on the horizon to alleviate congestion through these crucial corridors. As Mayor, I will continue to explore public-private partnerships with developers and neighboring communities to build out our transportation infrastructure to the vision set forth in the various transportation master plans. A robust and reliable public transportation network between Erie, Denver, and Boulder is another key aspect to solving our transportation woes, but has similar funding issues. Between RTD Fastracks delays on the North Metro Rail Line, recent proposals to cut back RTD JUMP service between Erie and Boulder, and an analysis showing the SH7/I-25 interchange reaching a failure state in less than 10 years, our membership in the State Highway 7 Coalition is crucial to advocating for our residents’ needs. As Mayor, I’ll aggressively advocate for funding these projects with state and federal resources where possible.

What is your vision for Erie?
I envision a sustainable, thriving, and vibrant Erie; a place we can all be proud to work and live to raise our families. We’re uniquely positioned between Boulder, Longmont, and Denver to become a destination for primary employers, outdoor recreation & sports, and arts & entertainment, all while maintaining our reputation for being the best place to raise a family. The opportunity is ours for the taking!

How would you handle issues that create opposing views among your constituents?
As a Trustee, I’ve already dealt with a number of such issues, from oil & gas to open carry at Town facilities, and downtown parking. I look to the framework that we’ve already built with the Town Administrator for public engagement to proactively identify such issues and add extensive community involvement to issues that warrant it. However, we need to learn from our past missteps, such as with Crestone operator agreement and the engagement with the Republican Women of Weld. Clear communication, clear expectations, and open community involvement are all central to ensuring residents’ views are heard and incorporated into the Board’s decisions.

What distinguishes you from your opponent(s)?
I’ll go back to my qualifications of integrity, commitment, and courage; more than any other candidate, I’ve stayed true to my values and have stood up for the health, safety, and welfare of the residents of Erie. Using the Town Center as a fundamental shift in how we do development (and how we engage with the development community), I have greater aspirations for Erie’s unique place in the Front Range as a thriving, diverse community. Finally, because I believe elected officials should remain unbeholden to outside interests (and I have the privilege of doing so), my campaigns have always been self-financed. From the candidates that were elected in 2018, I spent the least amount of money. I am bringing that same fiscal responsibility to my campaign for Mayor.

How do you define the role of mayor?
I’m inspired by the words of Simon Sinek in his book, “Start With Why.” The role of mayor is to lead, to look forward, and to answer – with the rest of the Board – the question of “why”. By working closely with the Town Administrator, we can give them the direction as to “what,” leaving the details of the “how” to Town staff.

By engaging regularly with residents, the business community, and other elected officials, the Mayor is responsible for coalition building and problem solving at a high level to ensure the ship we know as Erie is righted, well stocked with provisions, and sailing in the right direction.