Gypsum Town Council appoints Lori McCole to vacant seat
Two other candidates will still seek council seats in municipal election, scheduled July 7
GYPSUM — A pre-COVID-19 calendar called for three newly elected Gypsum Town Council members to take oaths of office Tuesday night.
Instead, three incumbents will continue to serve until July when a mail-in ballot town election has been scheduled. But the council makeup did shift Tuesday night when Lori McCole, one of four challenger candidates for the three council seats up for election in 2020, was appointed to fill the vacancy resulting from the death of longtime Councilmember Pam Schultz.
Last week, the Town Council announced it would fill the vacancy by tapping one of the four residents who qualified as candidates for the municipal election.
During Tuesday night’s meeting, which was held via Zoom to comply with COVID-19 restrictions — McCole and her fellow candidates Jesse Meryhew and Cicero DaSilva presented their reasons for seeking the council appointment.
McCole noted she has lived in Gypsum for 20 years and is the finance director for Colorado Mountain News Media, the parent company for the Vail Daily and the Eagle Valley Enterprise. She has served on the Gypsum Planning and Zoning Commission for seven years.
“I think that’s given me a great foundation and a better understanding to represent Gypsum,” McCole said.
She noted that she is interested in serving on the council because she wants to give back to the community. “I am truly one of the lucky ones who gets to live, work and play in Gypsum,” she said.
McCole added that Pam Schultz was a mentor, urging her to serve on the town’s P&Z commission.
“I would be honored and humbled to fill the position left vacant by Pam,” McCole said.
Meryhew and DaSilva also praised the community and shared their desire to serve Gypsum residents
DaSilva noted that he was born and raised in Brazil but immigrated to the United States in 1984. He became a U.S. citizen in 1996 and has lived in Gypsum since 1998. “I love this town. This is my home,” he said. “I believe in being in service to the community where I live.”
As the owner of a local business, DaSilva said he talks to Gypsum residents daily and can bring that well-rounded perspective to the council.
Meryhew noted he has lived in Gypsum for close to 20 years. He works for Skyline Mechanical, and, for seven years he coached the Eagle Valley High School baseball team.
“I see a lot of great things happening in Gypsum,” Meryhew said. He noted his desire is to be part of a council with demonstrated strong leadership and a vision for the community.
“I think this is an excellent group of candidates. I would be happy to work with any of them,” said Councilmember Tom Edwards.
Councilmember Chris Estes also complimented all the candidates before nominating McCole to fill the vacancy. He cited her seven years on the P&Z as his primary reason.
Councilmember Bill Baxter concurred with Estes, noting that the upcoming election could result in a lot of change for the board and said it seemed prudent to bring on a new member who had P&Z experience.
Mayor Steve Carver also referenced the upcoming vote. “If you don’t get appointed, you will still be running for election,” he said to the candidates.
In the final tally, McCole received five votes. Councilmember Marisa Sato cast her vote for Meryhew.
McCole took her oath of office via Zoom and was immediately, but remotely, seated on the council. With her appointment, Gypsum will now advertise for a new planning and zoning commission member.