Vail council race: Connolly not afraid to disagree
Ryan Summerlin October 15, 2007
VAIL In the 1990s, Stephen Connolly had a high-powered career as a sports agent, representing Olympic skiers like Tommy Moe and Donna Weinbrecht. But he wasnt finding fulfillment.Doing another $5,000 glove deal with Tommy wasnt blowing my skirt up at the time, Connolly said. It was time for a change.So, in 2001, he came back to Vail.Quality of life led me back to Vail, Colorado, he said.Quality of life had brought him here before, in 1987. He spent three years here then. He liked the small-town nature of this place, and how any resident could make a difference, he said.Ive always been impressed by the fact that on any other Tuesday night I can go out there and talk to the seven council members and almost always be listened to, he said.Hes running for Town Council because he cares about the town, and has skills that would make him a good councilman, including critically analyzing situations and building consensus, he said.
The town should do more to try to create affordable housing in Vail, he said.Its apparent to me that the market will not take care of the housing situation, he said.Vail needs more than second-home owners and front-line workers, Connolly said.Thats just part of the flavor, he said. A community is not black and white. There are some half tones in there. Its not all red and green. There are some oranges and yellows. We need to have a variety of people.At the same time, Vail needs to look to regional solutions to solve its housing crunch, he said.He also said hell make sure theres debate on the council so issues will be better analyzed.If I get into a situation where I see that all seven of us are agreeing, Im going to take the other side just so we have a debate, he said, adding that he is adamantly opposed to group thought.
Connolly was born and raised in Baltimore, and later moved to Lynchburg, Va. He went to college at Western State in Gunnison, in part attracted by the skiing there.After college, he moved to Denver, where he worked in publishing. As he was going through a divorce, he moved to Vail.He worked for Ski Club Vail doing public relations and marketing, helping organize the town race series.He spent four years here, and then left for San Francisco and worked for sports marketing company IMG.After almost a decade, as he was going through his second divorce, he was a bit burned out and decided to return to Vail.I couldnt think of anything better to do than go skiing, he said.When he returned, a lot of people didnt even realize hed been gone for 10 years, he said.After his return, he worked as director of the Vail Chamber and Business Association for a year. He now owns a marketing consulting company called Ristow & Cone LLC.
Connolly lives on Bald Mountain Road in East Vail he says hes probably one of the last middle class people who has been able to buy a home in Vail.He enjoys music a huge shelf at his home is full of music and likes to scuba dive. And he loves to ski.You get a sensation of flying, he said. He has served on the towns Commission on Special Events since 2003. Hes also been a frequent attendee of recent Town Council meetings.As a councilman, hes going to be responsive to residents, he said.This isnt going to be what Stephen Connolly thinks Vail should do, he said. This is going to be what Stephen Connolly hears from the citizens, the business community, and, taking the world outside of here that I have experience with, and trying to be a good leader.Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or email@example.com.