Last week, the Vail Chamber and Business Association in conjunction with the Vail Board of Realtors hosted the Vail Town Council Candidate Forum. The seven candidates vying for the four open seats on Vail Town Council were all there to introduce themselves and answer a series of questions based on the issues facing Vail today and going forward. As always, there were some differing opinions (isn’t that what democracy is all about?), but overall each candidate who is running was able to show that they are civic-minded and have the time and passion to lead Vail through the next four years.
It is not easy running for a public office, especially in a small town. The majority of us have jobs, businesses, families, volunteer commitments, pretty much a life that doesn’t allow for many other endeavors. But the fabric of our community depends on our local government and the community members we elect to make decisions on our behalf. It was great to see a crowd, just short of 100 strong, show up last Thursday to listen, learn and ask pertinent questions of the candidates. One of the common themes that permeated the night was “is the public’s voice really being heard?” It seems that there is a feeling in the community at large that they are not being heard, or that they do not have adequate opportunity at town meetings to voice opinions on the issues that are being decided. It was apparent that each candidate took this sentiment seriously — I mean, who is going to elect you if they think you aren’t going to listen to them? But, it was great to see the system jump into action with some thoughtful suggestions of creating other forums for the community to interact with their council members, or to look at how meeting agendas can be slightly altered to be more convenient for public comment, all great ideas. But this doesn’t mean that the community is off the hook, either. We all have to do our part as well and show up for those meetings and forums when the feedback is most needed, during the earlier stages of planning, not when the final draft is ready to be signed.
And that got me to thinking, here at the Vail Chamber and Business Association, we serve as a voice in the community, the voice of the business community. Many of our members are small business owners who are busy with running their business and managing employees, let alone their own families and personal pursuits. They have a hard time finding time to attend town government meetings, and there are a lot of them to keep track of. That is where we are stepping in — we will stay on top of community issues and will communicate with our members when their input is needed and let them decide how involved they want to be. We are committed to ensuring that the business community is informed on the issues so that they can be heard on issues that directly affect their business and the town they love so much.
Getting involved on the local level might even inspire some Vail business owners to throw their hat in the ring the next time elections roll around. Who better to represent the Vail community than those who are there every day, who know their neighbors and have a vested interest in the town’s success. If you would like to learn more about leadership effectiveness and how to translate that to your business and life, we are hosting an open house Tuesday from 11 a.m. to noon at La Tour Restaurant in Vail. We will be introducing a new partnership with Think2Perform, a company that specializes in making business owners better, more effective and more successful. Chuck Wachendorfer, chief operating officer at Think2Perform, will be there to give attendees a taste of a larger workshop we are conducting in December. The topic will be “Breakthrough Leadership” — how optimal, sustainable performance is a function of self-management and how self-management begins with self-awareness. The focus is to help organizations and individuals achieve their potential. What better way to prepare for a run at public office! Good luck to the seven candidates, and don’t forget to vote!
Stay involved and stay informed. If you are not already receiving the Vail Chamber and Business Association’s weekly e-newsletter, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to start receiving it.
If you are interested in finding out more about the Vail Chamber and Business Association and what we have to offer to businesses in and that do business in Vail, call 970-477-0075 or email email@example.com. Based in Vail Village, our office is located on the top level of the Vail Transportation Center, so stop by and say hello.
Alison Wadey is the executive director at the Vail Chamber and Business Association.