Roaring Fork School District elections Q&A

The Roaring Fork School District is scheduled to add two new members to the district’s school board, following election day results.

While District D incumbent Jasmin Ramirez runs unopposed, others are battling for a chance to help shape the future of RFSD.

Candidates Alan Kokish and Betsy After will be facing one another for the District B seat. Meanwhile, Phillip Bogart and Lindsay DeFrates hope to represent the community in the District C chair.

Each candidate answered a questionnaire sent out by the Post Independent this past week. The questions include:

1. What made you want to run for the school board?

Kokish: I initially decided to run because I was very upset about the gender studies curriculum the district adopted as their K-12 sex-ed curriculum. Throughout my candidacy, I have gained perspective and respect for all the responsibility that comes with the job. The current board has worked to address teacher housing and retention, closing the learning gap between Latino and English-speaking students, and overall academic improvement. If elected I hope to build on the work of the current board.

However, there was a lack of transparency and community engagement in the adoption of the gender studies sex ed curriculum. Sixty percent of parent survey responses were against it, and most people are still unaware of the controversial material about to be taught to our very young children. I want to work to bring increased transparency and communication to controversial issues like this one.

Finally, school boards are increasingly being politically targeted and influenced. As a registered independent and small-business owner, I will bring a working-class perspective to the Board and representation to those who feel underrepresented. This needs to be done with respect for our entire community.

After: My children have had a wonderful experience in the RFSD schools and because of that I want to help the District effectively move into its next chapter. I have experience in policy, governance, stakeholder engagement, and financial management. I believe I can put my qualifications to work in service of our public schools.
After said her priorities for the school district are:

  1. Responsible, transparent leadership & smart fiscal management: Set an expectation of excellence and accountability for the executive staff and ensure that the annual budget aligns with our community priorities.
  2. Support educators: Increasing teacher retention through creative measures that go beyond the 2021 Mill Levy Override.
  3. Success for all students: Tackle the persistent achievement gap between Latino and white students.
  4. Open communication & deep community engagement: Improve the Board’s relationship with the community so that we can work together toward solutions that help students thrive.

DeFrates: I love our public schools, our students, and the teachers and staff who put their heart and energy every day into teaching and building safe, welcoming, and academically rigorous classrooms.

After spending six years teaching middle school in Carbondale, I know first hand how important it is to have the right facilities, curriculum and support in the classroom. Our students deserve rigorous expectations and the equity in resources to achieve them. That means making sure that all students have what they need, when they need it. It also means having experienced education professionals who can afford to live and work in the same community. I also believe we need to strengthen the trust and relationship between the Roaring Fork Valley community and the School Board and District leadership.

I decided to run because I know that we have a lot of work to do to make sure that our schools continue to grow and thrive, and I believe I have the skills and experience to serve my community in this way.

Bogart: I have four kids in the Roaring Fork School district, and they are my primary motivation for running. I was also very disappointed with how the 3Rs sex-d curriculum was adopted by the current school board. It showed a lack of transparency, no concern for the majority opinion of our community, and a lack of honest research to understand if this is the best curriculum. I am also concerned at our district’s below-average standardized test results within the state.

Ramirez: I am seeking re-election because I believe that I have the necessary knowledge and skills to contribute towards building a better future for our students. I am committed to using my experience and expertise to ensure that every student in our district receives a high-quality education that will prepare them for a successful future. As a mother of a child on the Autism Spectrum, I’m also passionate about ensuring all students and families have the best possible experience in our schools.

2. Tell us about your background

Kokish: I was raised in the 1970s and 80s in a multi-racial family in Northern California in a semi-communal environment. We gardened, recycled, composted, and practiced conservation because it was the right thing to do. I moved to Aspen in 1992 with simple dreams. I have fulfilled them all and so much more. I went from breakfast cook to burger flipper, to bartender, to line cook, to executive chef, to business owner. I’ve married and raised two kids; my daughter is a sophomore at Roaring Fork High School and my son is a freshman in college. Along the way, I fell in love with the Roaring Fork Valley and Colorado. The School District sets the tone for the Valley, educating tomorrow’s citizens and leaders. We should embrace Colorado’s uniqueness. Our policies should not emulate Texas, Florida, or California.

After: I live in Carbondale with my husband, Brion, and two young children who attend Crystal River Elementary School. I am a nonprofit leader, policy-wonk, librarian-by-training, and a fundraiser at RMI (formerly Rocky Mountain Institute). I previously served as the President of the Mount Sopris Montessori Preschool Board and while there, I led the search and hiring of a new executive director. I was also previously on the Board at the Basalt Regional Library District. My family owns Independence Run & Hike and I have lived in the Valley since 2008. Originally from Cullowhee, North Carolina, I have my Masters Degree in Library Science and a Bachelor’s Degree in Comparative Literature from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

DeFrates: I have lived in and around the Roaring Fork Valley for 18 years, and my husband and I are currently raising three kids here, all of whom attend Sopris Elementary School. For six years, I taught seventh- and eighth-grade language arts at Carbondale Middle School. Currently, I work as the Deputy Director of Public Relations at the Colorado River District, but like so many of us, I have spent time working in a variety of industries just to make ends meet in our weird little corner of the world. This means that I have been a camp counselor, a whitewater raft guide, a server at a local restaurant, an Outward Bound instructor, Youth Coordinator with Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers, a freelance writer, and an adjunct instructor for Colorado Mountain College’s adult education classes and Link to Success program.

Bogart: I have had a career in the hotel, restaurant and rental management industry for about 20 years. My wife and I have also been foster parents for the past 7-8 years, in two different states. In my career, I have had the opportunity to lead diverse teams of people, write and manage budgets, and work with owners to approve and fund capital improvement projects.

Ramirez: I am the proud daughter and wife of immigrants. I graduated from GSHS in 2007 and have two children, three younger siblings, one niece, and three nephews, who have attended or are attending our public schools. In my professional role, I work for School Board Partners, a national organization that provides training and support to school board members to equip them with the skills, knowledge, and confidence to lead with courage, competence and impact.

3. What is something that you want the community to know about you?

Kokish: I object to the current sex education/gender studies curriculum because it introduces concepts that I think are best introduced at home and it introduces them far too early. Because of that, I’ve been accused of being illiberal. Nothing could be further from the truth. My family and my circle of friends are filled with gay people, trans people, and people of color. One of my cousins began hormone treatment as a teenager. It did not bring them the happiness they expected. A close friend of mine’s trans daughter Erin recently committed suicide. The pain in his eyes is something no parent should have to face. My friend sees this curriculum as a beacon to our LGBTQ+ community. Our conversation led me to examine my opposition to this curriculum. As a district, we need a beacon to shine brightly. We need a curriculum and mental health structure that can support people like Erin, this curriculum is not it. I’m aware of how difficult life in our country can be for minorities. Whether I’m elected or not I will do what I can to help mitigate these kinds of tragedies. I do have strong opinions and I can be emotional. However, I pride myself on seeking out opinions differing from my own. I work to improve myself by engaging and learning from people.

After: Over the last few months, I have spoken to parents, teachers, staff, and community members about their concerns about our schools. Interestingly, there is not one single issue that comes up more than others. There are dozens of issues that people care about when it comes to our schools. These include: teacher retention and recruitment, executive leadership, the achievement gap, the annual budget, the upcoming Collaborative Bargaining Process with the teacher’s union, housing, special education, a safe haven policy, dual language curricula, the health curriculum, the absence policy, career and college readiness, universal Pre-K, and the strategic planning process, among many others. I have the experience, curiosity, patience, and persistence to help the District work on all of these issues, and more. I hope that voters will ask themselves which candidates are adept and ready to work together toward making our schools tackle the many challenges and opportunities that RFSD faces every day. Without doing so, we will not be able to prepare students to thrive in a changing world. With so much at stake, this is an exciting time to be part of the RFSD and I hope that voters will give me an opportunity to help lead!

DeFrates: I grew up in the suburbs of Virginia and my grandmother worked on the planning and zoning commission there for over 20 years there. Sometimes, my parents forced me to go to the meetings as a child and at the time, I considered it cruel and unusual punishment. But her tenure there coincided with the difficult transition of much of that county from agricultural land to business and housing developments as the population in central Virginia boomed. I know that it was hard for her to watch her childhood home change so much. She could have stuck her head in the sand and pretended like the change wasn’t inevitable and refused to participate, but she didn’t.

She showed up for every difficult conversation and insisted that developers adhere to a rigorous, intensive process that retained as much greenspace and included thorough and sensible plans for things like drainage and traffic flow. And because she kept showing up for those meetings, and kept engaging with the process, the change that occurred was positive and sustainable. I never thought I’d sign myself for those kinds of meetings, but I know now that community service is persistent, patient, and keeps the door open for the voices and perspectives which they may not always agree with.

Bogart: One of my main goals at this point in life is to be a faithful father and community member. If I am elected to be on the school board, I am committed to doing whatever I can to help improve our district’s ability to provide quality education.

Ramirez: I believe in equity, equality, justice, inclusion, access, and building communities centered around students, whom I consider our most important stakeholders. I firmly believe that by holding ourselves accountable for our student’s success in our schools, we can make a long-term impact on the future citizens and economy of our communities.

4. If elected, what is something that you are most focused on to help improve the school district?

Kokish: Entrepreneurial and vocational training will be an area of focus for me. College is enormously expensive and offers increasingly limited career paths. Equity means that those students who want to continue their education after high school have opportunities to do so, and those who want to enter the job market have opportunities to do so. If elected I’ll work to expand those opportunities for all students, college-bound or not. With the recent resignation of Dr. Rodriguez, we must start the search for a superintendent who desires to become (or already is) part of our community; a non-partisan educator who can effectively address the difficult tasks at hand.

After: With last week’s resignation by Dr. Rodriguez, the Board’s top responsibility will be to recruit and hire an excellent leader for the District. The District, the Board, and the community learned a lot about what we want to see in a leader during the last superintendent search and tenure. The District now has the collective experience and wisdom to select a long-lasting leader who focuses on the needs of the students, educators, and the community.

DeFrates: We need to hire a Superintendent who represents and loves this community and whose leadership vision and experience aligns with the values of this District. There is a lot of ground to make up between the board and the community in this area, and I will prioritize transparent communication throughout the search and hiring process.
In 2021, voters in the Roaring Fork School District generously approved a measure to increase teacher pay. Unfortunately, within less than two years, soaring rates of inflation and skyrocketing home and rent prices undermined the value of those pay increases, leaving the professionals who teach our children still struggling to afford to live and work in the same community.

I am committed to doing whatever it takes to make sure our District’s resources are going to support teachers and staff so that we can hire and retain experienced professionals.

Along with qualified leadership and teacher retention, we need to take direct and immediate measures to close the achievement gap between Latino and White students.

Bogart: If elected, I will focus on quality education for our kids, repeal of the 3Rs sex ed curriculum with the intention of finding something better, and enhancing school board transparency.

Ramirez: I plan to continue advocating for a third party to conduct an equity assessment as well as for the board to pass an equity policy. I am committed to prioritizing student success and solidifying our new Superintendent Evaluation Process as policy.

5. The human sexuality curriculum has been a major topic throughout the district since its adoption by the school board. Where do you stand in favor or opposition of the curriculum?

Kokish: The recently adopted sex-ed curriculum is largely a politically motivated gender studies program. The concept of gender is evolving. As adults, we are still figuring out how this discussion should take place. To affirmatively suggest to a first-grade boy that he may be a girl born with the wrong body parts or vice versa is very confusing, and most particularly so when done in school without parental involvement. This curriculum is well-intended, and I’m aware of the problems the district is trying to address. But it is untested with no data to support its good intent. Does the Roaring Fork Valley want to be a testing ground for introducing gender studies to our five, six and seven-year-olds?  Kindergarteners should be deciding what mud puddle to play in or whether they want grape or strawberry jelly on their sandwich; not what gender they might be. If elected I will work to adopt an inclusive, diverse, age-sensitive, and accepting approach that our entire community will be more able to embrace.

After: I support the health curriculum that was approved unanimously by the current board. I support it because it provides health instruction in the early years using correct anatomical terminology. This knowledge will help children distinguish between safe and unsafe behavior. I also appreciate that the curriculum is available in Spanish, it supports LGBT and gender non-conforming students, and it was recommended by a committee of subject matter and education experts. 

DeFrates: The Comprehensive Human Sexuality Curriculum was chosen by a group of teachers, parents and community members after an extensive curriculum search and evaluation, and it was adopted by the school District last winter. The materials and content in this curriculum are scientifically accurate and align with state mandates requiring that no curriculum discriminate against any gender identity or sexual orientation. Research shows us that comprehensive sexual education is an essential part of reducing unwanted pregnancies and STIs. Inclusive language and honest conversation about gender identity and sexual orientation is also a part of supporting the mental health of our students.

Bogart: The 3 Rs’ Roaring Fork School District elections Q/Acurriculum covers inappropriate and confusing topics in early elementary grade levels, the content at many age levels is far too graphic and pornographic, and the curriculum tends to undermine parent input and family values. This curriculum is sexualizing kids and pushing a hyper-liberal political agenda that has no place in our public schools. 

Ramirez: I support the newly adopted curriculum. I believe the district should have a uniform district-wide sex-ed curriculum taught by trained professionals as well as a clear and updated opt-out regulation and process in place to ensure parents have the final say on this matter.

Q&A with Rifle City Council candidates

Three Rifle City Council seats will be up election on Nov. 7. All three councilor positions will serve four-year terms.

Among the candidates are incumbents Brian Condie and Chris Bornholdt, and challengers Tanya Perea Doose and Karen Roberts.

In October, the Colorado River Valley Chamber of Commerce hosted a Q&A session with the city council candidates, where topics such as affordable housing, Rifle’s efforts to preserve the vibrancy of the downtown area, crime management and a proposed sales tax increase were discussed. A detailed story on the candidate’s responses during the Q&A session can be found online at

The Post Independent emailed out a short questionnaire to all four Rifle City Council candidates last week. Here are their written responses:

Do you support Proposition HH? Why or why not?

Condie: After a review of Prop HH I determined I would not support it. I found it contained promises that upfront seamed beneficial to Coloradans at the expense of government accountability.

Brian Condie

Perea Doose: Proposition HH is a complex proposal to modify or reduce taxes and exemptions on multiple property types eliminating TABOR (Taxpayer Bill of Rights). Sounds great, however, this is a short-term relief specific to property owners. Disproportionately, this does not support Colorado renters as they will not get any benefits from TABOR as they had in years past. Passing it will eliminate thousands of dollars in state tax refunds which DOES NOT support renters that are a large part of our community in need. This impact is yet another systemic barrier for those in our community that rely on these tax refunds each year and equally to all of us who are taxpayers. It will allow the state to spend approximately $9 billion, without stipulations, instead of it going back to taxpayers. This is a money grab for the state to backfill budgetary shortfalls with programs and is not a viable long term solution. The ripple effect will lead to increased costs and taxes elsewhere, which will be passed on to our communities. It’s a cyclical cycle and this is a short-term solution that will lead to bigger problems with affordability in housing and other needs.

Roberts: I do not support Proposition HH due to the poor, unclear and confusing wording of the proposition itself. I read and reread this several times and although I am familiar with such documents I was still not totally comprehending what exactly I was voting for or against. I feel we, the public, deserve better-written documents in order to know where we actually stand on an issue or a proposition.

Which issue do you think impacts Rifle citizens the most, and how are you going to contribute to the solution?

Condie: The chaos in the world, nation and state seem to be the main topic of discussion I hear from our citizens today. While we have no direct control over these issues, we can focus on preserving our Western Colorado values of living peacefully with each other in our small part of the world. I will continue to promote unity and acceptance for everyone living in our city.

Perea Doose: As a citizen, I know that there are many issues that impact Rifle. I believe listening and understanding the issues we face as a community will drive collaboration for opportunities to create solutions. If elected councilwoman, my intention would be to first learn, listen, understand and follow the Rifle Strategic Plan that is outlined on the City’s website. Within this plan is the word “inclusivity,” which has become a popular buzzword in our world. As a Latina raised in a bilingual household, I understand deeply what it is to be excluded and being inclusive is inherent to the fabric of who I am. Inclusive is not exclusive, we are all equal. With our city being largely made up of Latinos and Hispanos, my voice will be a direct representation of our minority community and those facing barriers. My goal will be to engage our entire community as a bridge to fill any gaps by bringing cultures, languages, communities, education, entrepreneurship, small business, shared experiences and commonalities all together to strengthen the fabric of our community and be a voice of representation of all.

Tanya Perea Doose

Roberts: Right now Rifle and the surrounding area’s biggest problem is housing. The best way that I might impact this is to do research and network with other similarly sized municipalities and see how they are working on this issue. I believe working on areas such as fee reductions through our building process and other concessions would encourage builders to build in Rifle. And although the free market for builders is difficult pricing, we could also encourage attainable housing. Attainable (vs affordable) meaning 33% of a person’s income to be used for housing. Right now the median income in Garfield County is $77,000.00. Affordable always sounds good but actual affordable housing per codes etc. comes with so many limitations and rules that have to be adhered to in order to buy or even rent that it is not always a good answer.

If you were elected into office, what would be your first priority?

Condie: I will congratulate the newly elected officials and then, if elected, prepare with the entire city council and city staff for the February strategic planning meetings buy making sure we are up to date on the issues facing the city; employee wellbeing, infrastructure and housing needs.

Perea Doose: If elected, I will be considered a rookie — no experience. We have two incumbent councilmen and another candidate that is on Planning & Zoning for the city. I believe I will bring a fresh perspective as an 18-year citizen of Rifle on what the true needs are of our community. Priorities for me would include a lot of listening, learning, reading, and understanding of what the council is working on and then incorporating what the true voices of our community needs are. Council work focuses on transportation, sewage, water, roads, infrastructure, and the city employees — which are all priorities. However, it will be in contrast to what the needs are of our community. Part of my priority will be listening to the needs of our community.

Roberts: At this time my priority would be to work on the housing issue and also to better acquaint myself with the City of Rifle budget. If we can streamline the budget there may be a way to increase salaries for city employees which includes our police department so we can hire, retain and increase the number of our peace officers. I would love to work with our economic development folks to find new ways for businesses to start in Rifle. Businesses we all want and need; homegrown businesses by local people.

What would your unique experiences and skill sets contribute to the city of Rifle? Why should residents vote for you?

Condie: I appreciate the unity of our diverse community and have a desire to preserve it. I think this should be the main qualification of any person running for public office. I wish to preserve and improve our collective unity and reject the bipartisan divide that seems to be infecting our nation and state.

Perea Doose: I am a third generation Coloradan and have lived in the Roaring Fork and Colorado River Valley for over 25 years, I grew up here. I see the vast change of our city landscape over the past 10-15 years with the growth, and often decline, of jobs, tourism, housing, farming, ranching and agriculture. Our city has had significant growth and with growth comes many different wants and needs. I am a thoughtful leader who will use my authentic voice to advocate for what is needed to make our community stronger. My strength is in supporting and advocating for growth in entrepreneurship and small business that drives increases in tax revenue that supports Rifle as a whole. Part of my focus will be bringing together our cultural diversity to support our community as a whole, fortifying our community to be a place of prosperity and a home for ALL who live in Rifle.

Roberts: My background has been in finance, contracts and procurement. I am comfortable and familiar with working on multimillion-dollar budgets and their process. I feel I will be an asset with these skills to help form and execute a better city budget and analyze the bid process the city uses. I currently write grants for small nonprofits and serve on the city planning commission which helps to give me a different perspective of how things function within the city government. I also feel I am a people person who likes to listen and then respond with action.

Councilor Chris Bornholdt did not reply to the Post Independent’s request to participate in the questionnaire.

New Castle Town Council’s Caitlin Carey announces run for Garfield County Commission

New Castle Town Council Member Caitlin Carey is running for Garfield County commissioner, she announced during a Sunday Garfield County Democrats meeting.

Carey plans to run for the District 2 seat in the November 2024 election, which for the past 25 years has been held by current Commission Chair John Martin. Martin, a Republican, is in his sixth term as commissioner.

“There is exceptional knowledge in those years of service, but it’s important that I not agree with everything he says or the decisions he makes,” Carey, 45, said of Martin last week. She added, as a mother, she’s trying to bring a new demographic of leadership. “I just think that there’s an opportunity now for that leadership and that experience and opportunity for someone else.”

Martin has not indicated at this early stage whether he plans to seek another term. He was reelected in 2020 in a close race over Democrat Beatriz Soto.

Carey moved to Garfield County for the first time in 2002, which is also the first time she fell in love with it, she said. 

Garfield County Commission hopeful Caitlin Carey.
Michelle Smith/Courtesy

The Alabama native graduated Auburn University in 2000 with a Bachelor’s in human sciences. She also graduated from the Birmingham School of Law of Alabama while working in the Medicare department of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. She later worked for a plaintiff law firm in Birmingham, and has been a case analyst, researcher and director in Garfield since 2013.

Carey has also been serving as a New Castle Town Council member since April 2022. She said she loves serving New Castle and its people, and that she will do so “until the day I die.” 

“I love that part of my life and it brings me exceptional joy,” she said. “I do not want that to be missed. This is not me using New Castle as a stepping stone. This is me doing more because I think New Castle needs to be served at a higher level.”

Carey said some of her main focuses on Garfield County issues are the economy, water conservancy, wildfires and wildlife.

But the biggest?

“The most important issue that we are facing right now is our housing crisis. There are not enough places for the people that make this county work, to sleep,” she said. “That really is important because no matter where you work, your housing is a basic and vital need.”

Carey said the issue needs outside-the-box thinking and conversations Garfield County’s predecessors would not have had because things are different.

Part of the issue of Garfield County’s limited crop of housing options and rate of inflation is that everyone’s too busy looking in their rearviews for someone to blame, Carey said.

“We need to be able to say, OK, this is how it got started, this is how we can address it now,” she said. “It’s going to take people like Gail Schwartz (Habitat for Humanity Roaring Fork Valley president), it’s going to take people looking at other counties and see how they’ve done it.

“It is going to take humility. It is going to take open-mindedness. It is going to take a certain amount of risk to come up with a housing solution that not only takes care of the housing but maintains this exceptional place that we call home.”

Garfield County has historically voted red for commission races. But the sitting commissioners narrowly escaped defeat over the past two election cycles. Commissioner Tom Jankovsky narrowly defended his seat with  a 344-vote win over Democrat Ryan Gordon last fall, and Martin defeated Soto by 501 votes in 2020.

“Are you kidding? Red curly hair should do it for me,” Carey joked. She added that she grew up in the Bible Belt, in the very deep South, in a very conservative area.

“I’m fortunate that as I have grown and have worked on myself, that I have learned how to listen with intent to capture and bring forward a voice that may not even be my own,” she said.

Carey went on to say she is committed to listening while having open, honest, compassionate communication and decision-making with the aim of “moving forward thoughtfully in this county.”

Carey lives in new Castle with her husband, Jamin Heady-Smith, and their son, John Everett Miner. They like hiking, camping with their dog, Roxy, and running local 5K races.

Post Independent western Garfield County reporter and assistant editor Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or

Holy Cross Energy mails out ballots for upcoming board election; numerous ways to vote

Member households of Holy Cross Energy will find ballots in their mailboxes this week as the cooperative corporation gears up to elect two members to the Board of Directors. 

Consumer-members will choose from a pool of three candidates for the Western District and a pool of five candidates to represent the Northern District. Each consumer will cast one vote per district. The winners will serve four-year terms, and directors are not term-limited.

Historically, participation in Holy Cross board elections is quite low — averaging about 7% —  so the co-op is offering four ways to vote: by mail, online, through a consumer account, or in person. 

“We have 45,000 members,” said Member and Community Relations Vice President Jenna Weatherred. “I think that ends up around 3,000 folks that vote, but we would love to have more. We’re a cooperative, which means we’re democratically-led and we really encourage folks to vote.”

Holy Cross is unique among the landscape of energy providers. It is a private, not-for-profit co-op that reinvests any revenue into services, infrastructure, rate stability, or patronage capital to member-owners.

Local ranchers and farmers banded together to get a government grant to bring electricity to the region when private companies failed to do so. In 1939, Holy Cross Electric Association Inc. was born. 

“It’s a special thing to rural areas where there wasn’t money to be made from bringing electricity,” Weatherred said. “Because we are not-for-profit, we truly are doing our best to serve the members. And our mission is to bring a responsible transition to the clean energy future.”

The board of directors of Holy Cross is responsible for setting the strategic vision for the co-op. That vision currently has directed staff to meet a “100% clean energy by 2030” goal. 

According to their website, Holy Cross uses 48% renewable energy, 31% coal, less than 1% mine methane, and 5% natural gas. 

The first board meeting with the two new directors will be June 21. Courses for new directors are offered by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, which Holy Cross bylaws require. 

How to vote

Instructions to vote by mail will be included on the mail ballot. 

To vote online, members will need credentials found on the mailed ballot or in the email they received titled “Holy Cross Energy Director Election Login.”

Members can also vote through their SmartHub account on a web browser or through the mobile app. Log in, and click on the “Vote Now” button. 

In-person voting will be available from 5-6 p.m. at the annual meeting on Thursday, June 15, at TACAW in Basalt. 

Mailed and electronic ballots must be received by Tuesday, June 13, at 11:59 p.m. Members who do not meet this deadline may vote in person at the annual meeting. If more than one ballot is submitted per member-of-record, precedence will be given to the paper ballot, officials said.

Meet the candidates

Three candidates are running for one open seat to represent the Western District, which roughly comprises Marble to Parachute.  

Thomas Sherman
Holy Cross Energy/Courtesy photo

Thomas Sherman: “Transitioning to 100% renewable energy by 2030 will be a challenging goal to meet. Base load is still largely through fossil fuels because of economics and infrastructure. I don’t know if members are in favor of higher energy bills to have sustainable, renewable energy. The PURE program, put in place to encourage a transition to renewables, is a great opportunity to get a measure of public willingness to pay a premium for renewables.”

Peggy Meyer
Holy Cross Energy/Courtesy photo

Peggy Meyer: “While working across the energy industry over the past 30 years, I helped guide various organisations to lower their energy costs while also transitioning towards a more sustainable approach. From large corporations to municipalities, cost reduction was always a leading issue to be considered alongside sustainability. In my professional roles, I worked to unroot and eliminate hidden costs and determine hindrances to a cost efficient supply chain. This work evolved in recent years as the true concerns of energy uses has undergone a revolution: Green energy sources and lower carbon footprints are now real user needs, not just blurbs at the end of a corporate press statement.”

Alex DeGolia
Holy Cross Energy/Courtesy photo

Alex DeGolia, incumbent: “During my first term on the board, we have made several decisions that will have enormous implications for the membership and cooperative. These include the decision to commit to providing 100% clean electricity by 2030, acquisition of large-scale renewable energy resources, updating our rate structure to align with how we will operate into the future and ensure our long-term financial sustainability, grid resilience upgrades through programs like installation of smart devices throughout our system, and developing new programs, such as Power+ and Peak Time Payback, that enable members to benefit from partnering with the cooperative as we transition to a clean energy future.”

Five candidates are running for one open seat to represent the Northern District, which roughly comprises Vail to Dotsero. 

Kimberly Schlaepfer
Holy Cross Energy/Courtesy photo

Kimberly Schlaepfer: “I believe the biggest challenge facing HCE in the next 5 years will be achieving their goal of 100% renewable energy by 2030 while not disrupting the reliability of our electric grid and keeping our bills for its members as low as possible. Traditional fossil-fuel power sources are polluting but reliable because they can be turned on or off and ramped up on-demand. Renewables on the other hand must be approached differently. They generate power differently than traditional fossil-fuel-based sources but crucially are also much cheaper. As HCE reaches their goal of 100% renewable energy by 2030, the challenge of power reliability will need to be addressed head on.”

Craig Arthur Brown
Holy Cross Energy/Courtesy photo

Craig Arthur Brown: “My service on a metro board has shown the importance of community engagement and having the right mix of professional management driven by leadership. A board, in my view, needs to be willing to question the status quo and advise management. In an elective position, the board needs to seek out and listen to those who may have been underrepresented or part of the “silent majority.” This co-op services a broad demographic. The history of this co-op has focused on all. I will uphold that focus.”

Linn Brooks
Holy Cross Energy/Courtesy photo

Wood floors & mops

Linn Brooks: “Current rate structures were developed when the cost of source electricity was low and stable. Holy Cross is doing great work in shifting to renewables to manage increasing and unstable power costs, but members must also change. The billing rate structure along with targeted rebates, education, and positive messaging can incentivize members to make green investments in the power-using infrastructure in their homes and businesses. Together Holy Cross and its members can realign supply and demand to make progress towards a more stable electrical grid. The Holy Cross cooperative membership is diverse in many ways, and to meet its ambitious goals for the benefit of all members, Holy Cross must effectively connect with its many member sectors. Fully a third of members are Spanish speaking. Engaging effectively with this important constituency means providing information in Spanish and finding ways to improve accessibility to Holy Cross information and programs. Other important sectors include commercial and rural members whose energy needs may not fit rate structures designed for residential members.”

Brian Brandl
Holy Cross Energy/Courtesy photo

Brian Brandl: “I believe that as we forge into the future, cleaner, more efficient energy is the way, but it has to be done sustainably. It should not be handled with a preset completion date that may or may not be feasible or under poor planning that can have catastrophic results down the road. I think new cutting-edge technology in both the nuclear and hydrogen industries offer a lot of solutions to the problems every power grid is facing. I believe that a sound business plan, which will help keep the co-op financially healthy and protect its members, is of crucial importance.”

Roseann Casey
Holy Cross Energy/Courtesy photo

Roseann Casey: “The State of Colorado and Holy Cross Energy (HCE) have both set ambitious goals to cut emissions and increase renewable energy. Colorado is blessed with abundant natural resources, but the process of planning for investments, incentivizing smart infrastructure development, integrating renewable resources, and providing reliable and affordable power to consumers is a complex challenge. Aside from technical and financial aspects, HCE has the opportunity and challenge to educate and engage local communities and to help prepare our workforce to be at the leading edge of this transition. Consumers and communities are concerned about affordability, reliability, equity, and the impact that new and retiring power resources may have on local economies. Holy Cross excels in member outreach and collaboration with regional and state entities, but this coordination and collaboration will continue to be both a challenge and an opportunity. Last but not least, the HCE service area is vulnerable to fires and extreme weather events, which require exceptional planning and management. I expect that recent events in Colorado and elsewhere will continue to inform HCE planning, operations, and investment.”

Full candidate bios and Q+As are available at the Holy Cross website in English and Spanish.

Zalinski looks to be ‘accessible’ voice after winning at-large Glenwood City Council seat in a close race; Schachter wins in Ward 3

In a narrow race, Erin Zalinski won the at-large seat for Glenwood Springs City Council in Tuesday’s election by 43 votes.

She secured 939 votes, and Tony Hershey came close behind with 897 votes. 

“Congratulations to Erin, I wish her luck,” he said. “It was very close. I hope there will still be a variety of voices on council.”

The total number of ballots cast was 1,848.

“This is going to be a lot of learning and a lot of becoming comfortable and becoming familiar, more listening and observing and participating than executing any master plan,” Zalinski said when the PI asked her if she had any big plans.

She said that she wants to represent the day-to-day living side of Glenwood Springs. 

“I feel like that’s an important voice,” she said. “I want to be accessible. I want people to feel like they have somebody that can speak for them and bring things in front of Council.”

With such a low turnout of voters across the city, she hopes that it will encourage more participation. 

She said she is humbled by the amount of support she received in both votes and campaign contributions, which grew quite a bit since the last financial report.

Erin Zalinski poses at her campaign party at Native Son after winning the at-large seat for City Council.
Cassandra Ballard/Post Independent

Moving forward, she said she is also excited to work with the wealth of knowledge on Council and respects all of the work Hershey has put in.

“I am very grateful for the work that Tony has done,” she said. “He’s a formidable opponent because he’s well-regarded, and there’s shoes to fill there.”

She hopes he will be open to sharing his knowledge and input if comfortable. 

Schachter takes Ward 3 seat

Sumner Schachter took the seat for City Council Ward 3 with 236 votes to incumbent Charlie Willman’s 167, with only 403 votes cast in the ward.

Mayor Jonathan Godes commented on how the turnout was abnormally, if not historically low. The city of Glenwood Springs has 5,963 registered voters. The city sent out an estimated 2,584 at-large ballots to places that had uncontested races, 988 ballots sent to Ward 1, 1,251 sent to Ward 3 and 1,170 sent to Ward 4.

“I’m proud and honored to have served the city, and I do wish my opponent well,” Willman said. 

He added that he’s dedicated years to the city, and he is proud of the work he has done. He said he plans to continue serving the city where he can. 

“I am happy, of course,” Schachter said of the win, “but I think I’m happiest for Glenwood Springs. The voice was pretty clear, and so hopefully, we can continue making this city better and better, and we have a good team going forward.”

He added, “What happens depends on how the seven of us work together and come together for Glenwood.”

Both candidates were equally disappointed by the low turnout in voters for Ward 3, which takes in the east side of Grand Avenue in the downtown area.

Councilor Marco Dehm won 184 votes in the uncontested election in Ward 1, and Mitchell Weimer gathered 250 votes uncontested in Ward 4.

Election alert: Zalinski defeats Hershey for at-large Glenwood Council seat, Schachter wins Ward 3

Challenger Erin Zalinski has defeated incumbent Tony Hershey for the at-large Glenwood Springs City Council seat, according to unofficial final election results released by the city Tuesday night. 

In the Ward 3 race, challenger Sumner Schachter has defeated incumbent Charlie Willman.

A full report will follow.

The outcome of the election is not official until the completion of the canvass of votes and certification of results, a city news release states.

Here are the results:

City Councilor-At Large

Erin Zalinski – 939

Tony Hershey – 897

City Councilor-Ward 3

Sumner Schachter – 236 

Charlie Willman – 167

City Councilor-Ward 1

Marco Dehm – 184 (uncontested)

City Councilor-Ward 4

Mitchell Weimer – 250 (uncontested)

Total number of ballots cast in election: 1,848

Candidatos al consejo de Glenwood Springs discuten la vivienda y el crecimiento

El miembro del Concejo Municipal de Glenwood Springs y candidato general para la reelección Tony Hershey, a la izquierda, hace un comentario durante su debate con la retadora Erin Zalinski en el Foro de Candidatos de Problemas y Respuestas el lunes 20 de marzo de 2023 en el Ayuntamiento de Glenwood.
John Stroud/Post Independent

Ninguno de los oponentes se acaloró demasiado en el debate de candidatos al concejo municipal de Glenwood Springs del lunes, pero dos temas candentes fueron bien debatidos: la vivienda y el desarrollo excesivo.

Las dos contiendas disputadas para la elección del concejo municipal de este año son para un escaño general entre el titular Tony Hershey y el retador Erin Zalinski, y el escaño del Distrito 3 entre el titular Charlie Willman y el retador Sumner Schachter.

La Cámara de Glenwood Springs, el Post Independent y KMTS organizaron el Foro de Candidatos del Concejo Municipal de Problemas y Respuestas en el Ayuntamiento, que permitió a los candidatos impugnados tener un debate.

Cada candidato hizo una declaración sobre cómo la vivienda es un problema local, estatal y nacional y no solo se centra en Glenwood.

“La vivienda es un problema importante que no se limita a Glenwood, y no somos los únicos proveedores que podemos resolverlo,” dijo Schachter.

Willman hizo eco del sentimiento, afirmando que la ciudad y el Concejo tendrían que trabajar hacia la colaboración regional para proporcionar las viviendas necesarias para la fuerza laboral de Glenwood.

Hershey dijo que no está a favor de los proyectos de vivienda a gran escala. La gente puede mudarse aquí y comenzar a alquilar y luego “ascender en la cadena de vivienda,” dijo.

Zalinski adoptó un enfoque más de escuchar y aprender.

“Lo que voy a hacer es dedicar mucho tiempo a ver qué funciona y, lo que es más importante, qué no, porque debemos dejar que otras personas cometan errores,” dijo.

Glenwood no tiene espacio para crecer como otras ciudades. Aspen ha estado trabajando en ello durante décadas, gastando millones de dólares en más recursos e infraestructura, dijo Hershey.

“Simplemente no podemos hacer eso. O de lo contrario, no logras tener la misma comunidad,” dijo. “Has creado algo más y, de nuevo, creo que eso es un problema.”

Crecimiento y desarrollo

“Escuche a las personas, escuche a aquellos que saben dónde están los recursos, escuche lo que quieren otras personas y trabaje dentro de esas limitaciones,” dijo Zalinski, recordando a las personas que no todo el desarrollo tiene que ser vivienda.

El desarrollo de parques y terrenos abiertos podría generar más ingresos, manteniendo el carácter y el sentido de la naturaleza, dijo.

Hershey dijo que está claro que el Concejo no estaba escuchando a la comunidad cuando se aprobó 480 Donegan, aunque lo vio venir mucho antes de tiempo.

“Por supuesto, habrá una remodelación que tiene que ser inteligente,” dijo. “Tiene que estar en el lugar correcto, y no podemos destruir Glenwood para salvarlo, y esa es mi preocupación. Es por eso que he estado luchando y sentado aquí durante años tratando de hacerlo.”

En su declaración de refutación, Zalinski estuvo de acuerdo.

“La remodelación masiva no es algo que creo que nadie en cualquier lado de la mesa quiera,” dijo. “Creo que, si escuchas a los ciudadanos y a los electores de Glenwood Springs, no vas a seguir ese camino.”

Schachter contra Willman

El miembro del Concejo Municipal de Glenwood Springs y candidato para reelección del Distrito 3, Charlie Willman, a la derecha, hace un comentario durante su debate con el retador Sumner Schacther en el Foro de Candidatos de Problemas y Respuestas el lunes 20 de marzo de 2023 en el ayuntamiento de Glenwood.
John Stroud/Post Independent

“Tengo una proyección de algunos expertos de Hábitat que indica que durante los próximos 20 años, podríamos brindar vivienda a quizás 1.000 hogares que trabajen y vivan aquí en Glenwood,” dijo Schachter en su apertura sobre vivienda. “Ser parte del grupo de vivienda regional es un gran comienzo.”

Schachter se refirió a que Glenwood se unió a la recién formada Coalición de Vivienda Regional de West Mountain, que incluye a todos los municipios de Roaring Fork Valley.

Willman se centró en el transporte regional como una solución regional más amplia y ambos se refirieron a la Proposición 123.

“No podemos darnos el lujo de esperar soluciones regionales,” dijo Schachter. “Esperamos participar en ellos, pero sería un error esperar a la vivienda valle arriba o incluso regional.”

Asunto: Desarrollo

Para desarrollar más viviendas para la fuerza laboral, Willman sugirió parcelas de propiedad de la ciudad, mientras esperaba el estudio de gestión del crecimiento que la ciudad está realizando actualmente para decidir cómo usar mejor esa tierra y trabajar con entidades locales como Habitat for Humanity.

“Hay áreas en las que podemos crecer razonablemente de manera sostenible, debemos tener cuidado con ellas,” dijo Willman. “Necesitamos proporcionar viviendas efectivas. Necesitamos encontrar viviendas ocupadas por sus propietarios que tengan que estar a la vanguardia. Los apartamentos no son suficientes, la propiedad sí.”

Schachter luego enumeró opciones de crecimiento neutral como asistencia para el pago inicial, pagos de restricción de escritura, para que la vivienda se pueda convertir a un costo razonable para viviendas para empleados e incentivos de unidades de vivienda accesoria.

“Hay muchas cosas que podemos hacer que serían neutrales para el desarrollo y no expandirían el crecimiento,” dijo Schachter.

Schachter señaló que votó no a 480 Donegan como miembro de P&Z, pero ofreció soluciones más sostenibles que nunca se probaron.

“Era una minoría allí porque no creo que Glenwood necesite grandes apartamentos de libre mercado. En este punto, necesitamos viviendas más asequibles ocupadas por sus propietarios,” dijo Schachter.

En la respuesta de refutación de Willman, explicó por qué apoyaba a 480 Donegan.

“Cada vez que voté en los últimos cuatro años, lo hice para mantener la comunidad en la que vivimos,” dijo Willman. “El crecimiento es un problema, pero hay soluciones para él, y requiere que tomemos decisiones sostenibles relacionadas con el crecimiento que nos permitan mantener el carácter.”

Traducción por Edgar Barrantes. Puedes contactar a Cassandra Ballard, reportera del Post Independent, en cballard@postindependent.como al 970-384-9131.

Glenwood Springs council candidates address housing, growth

None of the opponents got too heated in Monday’s Glenwood Springs City Council candidates debate, but two hot-button topics were well debated — housing and over-development.

The two contested races for this year’s City Council election are for an at-large seat between incumbent Tony Hershey and challenger Erin Zalinski, and the Ward 3 seat between incumbent Charlie Willman and challenger Sumner Schachter. 

The Glenwood Springs Chamber, the Post Independent and KMTS hosted the Issues and Answers City Council Candidate Forum at City Hall, which allowed contested candidates to have a debate. 

Each candidate made a statement about how housing is a local, state and national issue and is not just Glenwood centric. 

“Housing is a major problem that is not limited to Glenwood, and we are not the sole providers who can solve it,” Schachter said. 

Tony Hershey speaks during the Monday, March 20, 2023 Glenwood Springs Issues and Answers City Council Candidates Forum.
John Stroud/Post Independent

Willman echoed the sentiment, stating that the city and Council would need to work toward regional collaboration to provide the needed workforce housing for Glenwood. 

Hershey said he is not in favor of large-scale housing projects. People can move here and start renting and then “move up the housing chain,” he said.

Zalinski took more of a listen-and-learn approach.

“What I am going to do is to spend a lot of time looking at what is working and, more importantly, what isn’t because we should let other people make mistakes,” she said. 

Glenwood has no room to grow like other cities. Aspen has been working on it for decades, spending millions of dollars with more resources and infrastructure, Hershey said.

“We just can’t do that. Or else, you fail to have the same community,” he said. “You’ve created something else, and again, I think that’s an issue.”

Growth and development

“Listen to people, listen to those who know where resources are, listen to what other people want, and work within those constraints,” Zalinski said, reminding people that not all development has to be housing. 

Erin Zalinski speaks during the Monday, March 20, 2023 Glenwood Springs Issues and Answers City Council Candidates Forum.
John Stroud/Post Independent

Developing parks and open lands could generate more revenue, while keeping character and a sense of nature, she said.

Hershey said that it’s clear that Council wasn’t listening to the community when 480 Donegan was approved, though he saw it coming far ahead of time. 

“Of course, there’s going to be some redevelopment that has to be smart,” he said. “It has to be in the right location, and we can’t destroy Glenwood to save it, and that is my concern. That’s why I’ve been fighting and sitting up here for years trying to do it.”

In her rebuttal statement, Zalinski agreed.

“Massive redevelopment is not something that I think anybody on either side of the table wants,” she said. “I think if you listen to the citizens and the constituents of Glenwood Springs, you’re not going to go down that road.”

Schachter vs. Willman

“I have a projection from some Habitat experts that indicates over the next 20 years, we could provide housing for perhaps 1,000 households that work and live here in Glenwood,” Schachter said in his opening about housing. “Being part of the regional housing group is a great start.”

Schachter referred to Glenwood joining the newly-formed West Mountain Regional Housing Coalition, which includes all Roaring Fork Valley municipalities.

Willman focused on regional transportation as a larger regional solution, and they both referred to Proposition 123. 

“We cannot afford to wait for regional solutions,” Schachter said. “We hope to participate in them, but to wait for upvalley or even regional housing would be a mistake.”

Glenwood Springs City Council member and Ward 3 candidate for re-election Charlie Willman, right, makes a point during his debate with challenger Sumner Schacther at the Issues and Answers Candidates Forum on Monday, March 20, 2023 at Glenwood City Hall.
John Stroud/Post Independent

Re: Development

To develop more workforce housing, Willman suggested city-owned parcels, while waiting for the growth management study currently being conducted by the city to decide how to best use that land, and working with local entities like Habitat for Humanity.

“There are areas that we can grow reasonably sustainably, we have to be careful with those,” Willman said. “We need to provide effective housing. We need to find owner-occupied housing that has to be at the forefront. Apartments don’t cut it, ownership does.”

Schachter then listed neutral growth options like down payment assistance, deed restriction payments, so housing can be converted to reasonable cost for employee-based housing and Accessory Dwelling Unit incentives. 

“There are many things we can do that would be development neutral that doesn’t expand growth,” Schachter said. 

Schachter noted that he voted no on 480 Donegan as a P&Z member but offered more sustainable solutions that were never tried. 

“I was in the minority there because I don’t believe Glenwood has a need for large free-market apartments. At this point, we need owner-occupied more affordable housing,” Schachter said. 

In Willman’s rebuttal response, he explained why he supported 480 Donegan.

“Every time I voted over the last four years is to vote to maintain the community that we live in,” Willman said. “Growth is a problem, but there are solutions for it, and they require us to make sustainable growth-related decisions that will allow us to maintain character.”

Post Independent reporter Cassandra Ballard can be reached at or 970-384-9131.

Here’s a snapshot of Monday night’s Glenwood Springs City Council candidate debates

There didn’t seem to be many hot button topics for the Glenwood Springs City Council candidates at the Monday night debates. 

The Glenwood Springs Chamber, the Post Independent and KMTS hosted the Issues and Answers City Council Candidate Forum, which allowed uncontested candidates to share some of their views, and contested candidates to have a debate. 

Uncontested candidates Marco Dehm in Ward 1 and Mitchell Weimer in Ward 4 both said they respect all that the city has accomplished in the past couple years. 

In the contested races, Charlie Willman, the incumbent for Ward 3, and opponent Sumner Schachter both seemed to have a lot of the same viewpoints, while at-large candidates Tony Hershey, the incumbent, and opponent Erin Zalinski also agreed about many topics, though less than the Ward 3 candidates.

View a video recording of the two contested races on the Post Independent’s Facebook page, or in its entirety on the KMTS Youtube channel.

The take aways

Hershey vs. Zalinski (at large)

Hershey and Zalinski had many places where they agreed, but the two places they showed a difference of opinion was in the ability of families obtaining workforce housing and a difference in the definition of decorum. 

Hershey opened with a list of votes where he opposed his fellow Council members, but was in favor of Glenwood Springs residents, like being opposed to the 480 Donegan development and closing the Glenwood Springs airport. He reminded people that he was originally voted in to help address a city-wide pothole problem. 

Tony Hershey
John Stroud/Post Independent

“Sometimes you win when you’re on the council, sometimes you lose, but I promise you that I will continue to be that voice for the minority,” Hershey said. 

Now that she has sold her TreadZ business, Zalinski is hoping to use her success in running a business to make effective change on Council. 

Zalinski said she has worked closely and has seen the reality of living paycheck to paycheck. She said she has no set agenda, but has consistent values. 

“I get priority and listen to the voices of the citizens of Glenwood Springs. I support the interests of business and the economic vibrancy that makes a community thrive,” Zalinski said. “I’d like to see priority in providing new resources to maintain our infrastructure and recreational assets. I would also like to see us look to successfully run communities for solutions to our workforce housing.”

Under the three most important issues facing Glenwood Springs, Zalinski listed sustainable growth, workforce housing and character in the way Glenwood is perceived, working with other leaders in the county, state and region. 

Hershey said the three most important issues facing Glenwood are, “streets, housing and streets.” 

“When I say streets, I mean infrastructure,” he said. “So just briefly about infrastructure, again, we can’t be a first-class community if we don’t have first-class streets.”

He said he isn’t blaming Council or even the prior Council, but streets have been ignored for 10-20 years. He said the recent Council has done a lot of work. 

Erin Zalinski
John Stroud/Post Independent

Hershey said he does not support the government giving people housing, and like Zalinski and Willman mentioned, the city is not going to build itself out of a housing crisis. 

“I support workforce housing, and that’s rental housing, but I don’t think the government should be or should enter the free market,” Hershey said. 

Zalinski agreed but wishes to create some sort of pathway to ownership for young families. 

On the question of decorum, Zalinski stuck with inferring she would prefer collaboration with opposed viewpoints, while Hershey said that opposition in opinion was not lacking in decorum, but instead choosing not to go with the status quo. 

Schachter vs. Willman

Glenwood Springs City Council member and Ward 3 candidate for reelection Charlie Willman, right, makes a point during his debate with challenger Sumner Schacther at the Issues and Answers Candidates Forum on Monday, March 20, 2023 at Glenwood City Hall.
John Stroud/Post Independent

Schachter and Willman’s differences were highlighted less on the outcomes of the change they want to see, and more on how they plan to get there.  

Both candidates have an extensive list of boards and commissions they have served on in Glenwood Springs throughout the years. 

Although Schachter has an extensive list of accomplishments he listed having completed in the last year, one unique one was working on the steering committee for the Comprehensive Plan, which he said helped to identify Glenwood’s character.

“I will use (that) to evaluate proposals and growth and issues that preserve and enhance Glenwood character,” Schachter said. 

While serving the city, Willman pointed to Council’s action to put limits on short-term rentals, a comprehensive street reconstruction program, and initiating citywide cost effective broadband service.

“The goals I’d like to do would be to take the comprehensive plan and take those priorities and make it part of the city council’s strategic plan,” Willman said. 

He also wishes to advocate for rural needs and prevent statewide enactment of zoning standards that aren’t necessarily good for the local community, he said.

In order, the three biggest concerns Willman wants to work on are creating owner-occupied workforce housing, managing modern traffic and ensuring that through his representation on the Colorado Municipal League board of directors that Glenwood is not mandated to do anything.

“This past year, they tried to get a requirement that the city be given the right of first refusal, which seriously infringes upon local level landowner rights,” Willman said. 

For Schachter, his biggest concerns in order were to take care of infrastructure, including things like utilities, safety issues involving fire and evacuation and growth and housing which he said he lumped together.

“I’ve heard, ‘take care of us’ as one of the major issues, and I would make that globally, that means, continue to take care of our infrastructure, our roads, our streets, and do what we can to manage the costs for our utilities, electric, garbage collection, which Council has done,” Schachter said. 

Dehm (Ward 1)

Marco Dehm, Ward 1
John Stroud/Post Independent

Dehm spent his two minutes of speaking time to list some successes while he’s been on City Council since February 2022. 

He said he is proud of the work Council and the city have done, including approving the Comprehensive Plan, initiating the Transportation Management Plan, his work with the passage of 2C creating a workforce housing board, and awarding a contract to Habitat for Humanity.

“I also want to focus strongly on economic development to attract a variety of businesses, large and small, to ensure vitality and strong sales tax revenue,” Dehm said. 

He also mentioned wanting to work on sustainable smart growth, fire and natural disaster safety and Glenwood’s resilience, along with the South Bridge project.

Weimer (Ward 4)

Mitchell Weimer, Ward 4
John Stroud/Post Independent

Weimer said he has appreciated the work outgoing Councilor Paula Stepp did before him, and that he feels well qualified to fill her shoes.

He grew up in small-town Wiggins, Colorado, and then served in the Army and got his MBA at the University of California at Davis. He spent the last 20-some years working as a retail leader or as a management consultant, mostly to retailers.

He and his partner, former state House candidate Cole Buerger, recently bought longtime residents Phil and Joan Anderson’s house. 

“I think that my background as a consultant to these big companies, it’s a lot of stakeholders, very difficult issues, and the answers aren’t always simple,” Weimer said. “It requires a lot more listening and understanding than it does coming in with what you think are answers.”

Post Independent reporter Cassandra Ballard can be reached at or 970-384-9131.

Uncontested Glenwood Springs City Council candidates respond to PI questions ahead of Monday night’s candidates’ forum

Two candidates running in the April 4 Glenwood Springs City Council election are uncontested in their neighborhood wards.

Mitchell Weimer is running for his first term in Ward 4 to replace current Councilor Paula Stepp, who is stepping down after one term. 

And, current Councilor Marco Dehm, who was appointed in February 2022 to the Ward 1 seat that was vacated by Steve Davis, is running for his first term in Ward 1.

The Post Independent last week featured Q&As with the candidates in the two contested races, incumbent Charlie Willman and challenger Sumner Schachter in Ward 3, and incumbent Tony Hershey and challenger Erin Zalinki for one of the two at-large seats.

Ballots have already been sent out for Election Day, which is April 4. The Second FCPA Report of Candidate Contributions and Expenditures is due to the City Clerk’s Office on March 31. 


Mitchell Weimer, Ward 4
John Stroud/Post Independent

Mitchell Weimer (Ward 4)

I grew up in Wiggins, Colorado, and attended CU Boulder with an ROTC scholarship. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in geology and was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Army, Field Artillery. I was stationed in South Korea and Washington State before separating as a Captain and pursuing my MBA from the University of California, Davis. I have spent most of the last 20 years as a management consultant, essentially helping large companies make big decisions. I met my partner, Cole Buerger, in Washington, D.C. in 2008 and we lived there and in Jersey City, N.J. before returning home to Colorado in 2021. We live in a wonderful neighborhood with great neighbors and friends and we’ve become incredibly comfortable in the valley. I joined the Planning and Zoning Commission in 2022 and also volunteer with Extended Table here in town. Glenwood Springs is an exceptional place to live and work and play, and I think our collective future here is really bright.

I’m running for Council, representing Ward 4, as Paula Stepp has decided to not run again. She’s been a very strong leader and advocate for our ward, and I appreciate what she’s done for us as Councilor. I will work hard to continue that leadership and advocacy; I believe strongly in public service and in helping to shape the future of our community. I am eager to bring my background and experience to this opportunity and am excited for what’s ahead.

Marco Dehm, Ward 1
John Stroud/Post Independent

Marco Dehm (Ward 1)

I moved to the Roaring Fork Valley from my home country of Switzerland in 1991, settling in Glenwood Springs in 1993. My wife and I are busy running our own companies and raising three daughters. I have been actively involved in the community since 2003 as a Planning and Zoning Commissioner with multiple terms as chairman. My focus laid heavily on finding solutions for the greater good of Glenwood Springs.

I earned a degree in woodworking and design in Switzerland and am also a seasoned traveler with many explored locations under my belt. Like many Swiss natives, I am fluent in German and French. In my spare time, when I’m not found working on my train layout, I am most likely watching a funny movie or cooking up a delicious meal.

What do you think about the plans Roaring Fork Transportation Authority has for mass rapid transit, and traffic issues in Glenwood Springs?

Weimer: RFTA is a great asset to the valley and has shown to be a committed partner with Glenwood Springs. Their updated and expanded maintenance facility here in town will bring needed improvements to the system and economic and employment benefits to GWS. The Grand Avenue traffic issue is a top priority for me. I think the South Bridge project will help a bit, but I’d also like to explore additional traffic calming measures and ways to improve neighborhood access to bus routes.

Dehm: I am a huge proponent of mass transit but the current options for the routes through town, from a future west Glenwood transit center to the 27th Street transit center, concern me. I think we need to look a little harder and explore other possibilities that present less impact on neighborhoods or our downtown. Traffic volume needs to be looked at on a regional basis, therefore the traffic movement study was very helpful to understand traffic patterns. It seems to me, creating workforce housing within city limits could be advantageous to reduce congestion on our streets.

What is your perspective on workforce or affordable housing? Do you have any initial plans or ideas that could benefit the need?

Dehm: The voter approved 2.5% accommodation tax is a huge step forward to finally being able to create a needed workforce/affordable housing program. We are currently in the process of creating a new housing board/commission that will be charged with identifying parcels and for workforce housing projects. To further assist the process I would like to see a housing manager to oversee progress and vet potential development partners. As we know time is of the essence, so the sooner we can get this implemented the better.

Weimer: Affordable housing, in general, is the top issue in Glenwood Springs but also up and down the valley. It’s a complex, regional problem that requires a coordinated, regional solution. People want to live here and we need to think of that as a good thing so that we don’t shy away from it as a problem but instead proactively manage it as an opportunity — while preserving the things that make this place special in the first place. Tactically, I will say I think Accessory Dwelling Units are underleveraged. More strategically, we must ensure that any housing solution is holistic to address impacts on infrastructure, walkability, multi-modal transportation and fire safety.

Do you like how the Glenwood Springs Airport is run? Do you have improvements to suggest?

Weimer: Paula Stepp was the Council Liaison with the Airport Commission, and I’d be interested in filling her seat because the airport is an important topic. I will freely admit that I don’t yet know enough to have a grounded opinion on how it’s being run or around its future, but I do know that it has become a contentious subject — which means its value proposition isn’t clear or widely understood. As first steps in getting involved, I want to understand how it’s being used, the financials, and what’s needed for it to become less of a debatable asset for the city.

Dehm: The Glenwood airport is, as we call it, an enterprise fund, meaning it should run like a small business, with revenue and expenses. As far as I know they are currently breaking even. Increasing landing and takeoff fees as well as tie down fees and hangar rents could help to actually move them into the black. As far as improvements are concerned, I’m not sure a huge investment makes sense due to the limit the runway presents. Maybe more hangar spaces and/or some light industrial businesses spaces, but again this would be something the enterprise fund would have to be able to build and repay.

How do you feel about parking downtown? Do you have any suggestions or solutions for parking?

Dehm: One way to help out the parking situation downtown is to create a paid parking plan that would ultimately pay for additional parking structures. The north side of town and possibly in the confluence area come to mind as possible locations. As we know, parking structures are very costly and would have to be paid for with parking fees. Structures would allow us to rent monthly spaces as well as hourly. I was just made aware that the parking structure on Ninth was closed overnight. We should make most spaces available for daytime usage for patrons and visitors and rent out monthly overnight spaces for residences. I also think shared parking should be mandatory and I am very opposed to additional surface parking lots. 

Weimer: Parking is one of the holistic elements I was referring to when talking about growth and housing. First, we must enforce the system that’s in place. There is a parking enforcement program in development and I’ll be interested in its specifics to ensure it benefits residents. Enforcement is of course only one element. The current residential parking permits approach is another element, and I would want to ensure that the process is effective for everyone and that the program evolves as it needs to.