A dozen candidates apply for Gypsum Town Council vacancy
Council will appoint new member during special Friday afternoon meeting
GYPSUM — A dozen candidates have stepped up, hoping to serve on the Gypsum Town Council.
That’s a bigger field for one opening than for the three seats that were open in the last town election.
When former Gypsum Town Councilwoman Karen Shaeffer submitted her resignation earlier this month, the town officially announced the vacancy and asked for applications to fill out Shaeffer’s term. Thirteen people originally submitted their names for consideration, but one candidate has since dropped out.
With 12 candidates in the running, the Gypsum Town Council opted to hear from the hopefuls during its regular Tuesday evening meeting and then reconvene at 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25 to make the selection.
“It’s wonderful you all showed up. It’s too bad you are all really great,” said Gypsum Town Council member Tom Edwards after the candidates spoke during the Tuesday session.
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“Twenty years ago, or even 10 years ago, we couldn’t have begged people to do this,” said Councilman Chris Estes.
During presentations that stretched to nearly an hour, the candidates uniformly cited their love for Gypsum and their desire to serve the community. Those words resonated with the council.
“We are one big, happy family here in Gypsum,” said Mayor Steve Carver. “Whoever gets on the council is going to be party of that family and we work for all the rest of the family.
The 10 candidates for the Gypsum Town Council vacancy are:
Paul Abling: A resident of Gypsum for two years who works for Walking Mountains Science Center. “I have really found a home downvalley,” Abling said. “My kids are growing up here and every day I am part of this mass exodus from Gypsum going upvalley to work. I would like to be part of the conversation about that.”
Bill Baxter: “Being born and raised here, I feel I share a lot of the values our town was created on,” Baxter said. The current president of the Gypsum Fire District Board of Directors, Baxter works as the controls and automation engineer for the American Gypsum wallboard plant.
Rose Braden: A wedding and event coordinator, Braden has lived in Gypsum for 11 years and in Eagle County for 23 years. “I choose to come to Gypsum because I wanted to raise my kids in a safe environment, a loving environment,” she said. “We have such a quiet spirit in Gypsum, but we are so strong. It’s time for the rest of the valley to see that.”
Randy Braucht: A police officer for the town of Vail, Braucht said five years ago he found the home he was looking for in Gypsum. “People like living in Gypsum, being part of the community of Gypsum,” he said. “I appreciate how Gypsum remains true to its roots.”
Inga Causey: An attorney with a practice based in Edwards, Causey has lived in Gypsum for 17 years and has served on the Eagle County Board of Education and the Bright Future Foundation board of directors. “I care about Gypsum. I care about this town greatly,” Causey said. “Obviously you have a lot of incredible candidates here and that makes me happy.”
Pamela Chapman: Chapman moved to Gypsum from California in 2010 and comes from a corporate business background. “I love it that when I hear gunshots from the gun range, there is no reason to stop, drop or believe we are in any danger here,” she said. Chapman’s grandson recently moved in with her, and he is another fan of the community. “Isiah says his parents better move here because he is not going to leave.”
Cicero Da Silva: The operator of a local tire business, Da Silva was born in Brazil but came to the United State 35 years ago. He has lived in Gypsum since 2006. Da Silva said his work gives him unique insight into what residents are saying about the town. “Every day at my tire shop I have direct contact with the people of Gypsum,” Da Silva said.
Hector Gonzalez: A veteran who moved to Gypsum in 2015, Gonzales is the pastor of Connect Church. His two children are students at Stone Creek Elementary where Gonzales serves as treasurer of the school board. “We love it here. This is our home. This is our community,” he said. He called the community the valley’s diamond in the rough. “Gypsum is where it’s at.”
Lori McCole: A 20-year resident of Gypsum, McCole has served on the Gypsum Planning and Zoning Commission for seven years. She is employed by Colorado Mountain News Media. “I am truly one of the lucky ones who gets to live and work in the town of Gypsum,” she said. McCole said her time with the planning and zoning commission has given her a strong foundation for town board duties.
Christy Pope: Pope has lived in Gypsum for 14 years and raised two children in the community. “I just really like the small-town values the town of Gypsum offers,” she said. She previously worked for Eagle County for 11 years, noting she has familiarity with government operations. “I miss being able to be of service to my community,” she said.
Aaron Veldheer: A resident of Eagle County for 18 years and of Gypsum since 2014, Veldheer is a local firefighter. He noted that during a recent fire in Gypsum, four of the seven town council members showed up to ask how they could help. “I love the town feel that Gypsum has,” he said. He said he would be a direct communicator with the people in town. “I want to ask the ‘why’ and then explain that ‘why’ to people.”
Darrell Messersmith: Messersmith was unable to attend Tuesday’s meeting. He is employed as the chief medical information officer for Vail Health. He has lived in Gypsum since 2015.
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