Chapin named Vail mayor
VAIL — It didn’t take long Tuesday for the new Vail Town Council to pick a new mayor — Dave Chapin.
With former Mayor Andy Daly ineligible to run for a third consecutive term on council, Vail was going to have a new mayor. And speculation had been swirling through the town’s political types since the Nov. 3 election, and particularly after former council member and sitting Mayor Pro Tem Ludwig Kurz narrowly lost his bid for re-election. Dick Cleveland earned a two-year term on the council by four votes after an election-night tie between him and Kurz.
During the past few days, new council member Kevin Foley said his phone had been buzzing about just who the new mayor would be. Speculation ranged between sitting council member Greg Moffet, Cleveland (also a former mayor) and, perhaps, Chapin.
That speculation was solved quickly.
Just after new council members Foley, Cleveland, Kim Langmaid and Jen Mason were sworn in, Moffet almost immediately nominated Chapin, and then he asked for other nominations. There were none.
Jenn Bruno seconded the nomination, and the vote was 7-0 to name Chapin the town’s new mayor.
Bruno was then nominated to serve as mayor pro tem, to fill in for the mayor when needed. That vote was also settled quickly.
“It came together very quickly,” Foley said during a reception following the selection.
Cleveland, asked about his possible desire to be mayor, said simply, “It wasn’t to be.”
During the reception, Chapin took a few moments to talk about being selected to the mayor’s job.
Longtime council-watcher Jim Lamont, director of the Vail Homeowners Association, said during the reception that “a new generation has taken over leadership in Vail.”
“We’ve always talked about new leadership for Vail,” Chapin said. “The last couple of election cycles, we’ve seen that.”
While Chapin has been involved in town business and a couple of council-appointed committees, this is his first term as a council member. Bruno is also in her first term. Langmaid and Mason are also first-time council members. Those three council members are also in their 40s.
“The community has shown they wanted new blood,” Chapin said.
That said, though, Chapin said he’s glad to have the experience of Foley and Cleveland on the board, too.
“We have a really good mix right now,” Chapin said.
While voters Nov. 3 split their vote between new faces and experience, Langmaid and Mason finished atop the ballot this year.
“I think it shows if you care about the community and want to get involved, the community will welcome you,” Chapin said.
Bringing a business owner’s perspective
In his public comments, Chapin praised the Vail community, lauding the passion of its residents. He echoed those remarks a few moments later.
“This is an unbelievable community — the passion (residents) have. We really care about the community,” he said.
During the election season, most, if not all of the candidates interviewed for profiles in this newspaper talked about how fortunate they’ve been to be able to keep living in Vail. Chapin has the same feeling, saying “it’s been a blessing” to be able to live only in Vail since he moved to town in the 1980s. He added that he’s been fortunate in business, becoming a partner in Vendetta’s restaurant in Vail Village.
Those similar stories point to a common element, Chapin said.
“If you come to Vail, opportunity is there,” he said. “It’s not going to be easy, and it’ll take some sacrifices, but it’s there.”
Former Vail Mayor Bob Armour wasn’t at the reception, but word spreads fast in town. He said Tuesday afternoon he’s excited to see new leaders in town.
“We’re getting old, and we’ve wanted the young people to get involved,” Armour said. “Well, the young folks are involved.”
Armour said he’s excited to see Chapin take the mayor’s role.
“He brings a business owner’s perspective,” Armour said. “A lot of our mom-and-pop businesses in town really struggle to get by. Dave knows about that.”