New Vail candidates emerge
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado –The Vail Town Council race is looking more like a race – as of Wednesday, there are twice as many candidates as there are open seats.
Kerry Donovan, the daughter of former council members John and Diana Donovan, announced Wednesday she is entering the race. Ludwig Kurz, former Vail councilman and mayor, also announced his candidacy.
Town Clerk Lorelei Donaldson said she planned to certify Donovan, Kurz and Michael Charles, owner of Maximum Comfort Pool and Spa in Eagle-Vail, as candidates with the county Thursday.
Incumbent Kevin Foley has picked up his nomination petition, but not yet returned it. He said he thought long and hard about running again, but ultimately decided he wasn’t finished with his public service, he said.
“I just really feel this renaissance (the town has had) in the last few years – I don’t know it’s going to work out the way (the town) wanted it to,” Foley said.
Incumbents Kim Newbury and Mark Gordon are official candidates, along with Indy 500 winner and Vail native Buddy Lazier and Millennium Bank Vice President Scott Proper.
Donovan, 30, hasn’t served on council, but said she’s grown up around Vail politics.
“I was raised with (public service) as kind of a value in my household,” she said.
Donovan said she’s been on the sidelines for years and is confident she’s ready for the next step.
“I’m ready to be more intimately involved,” Donovan said. “I feel confident I can do a good job of being attentive and informed.”
Former council member Ludwig Kurz is also no stranger to Vail politics. Kurz was a councilman for two years, mayor pro tem for two years and mayor for four years. He tried to run for council in 2005, but wasn’t yet eligible because he hadn’t been out of office long enough.
“I’m running because I think I still have a lot to contribute to our community,” Kurz said.
Kurz has lived in Vail for 42 years and said the town has a bright future even though it’s going through a rough patch.
“I think we need some people with good business sense to get us through that, which could last another two to three years I think.”
Charles, the third new candidate as of Wednesday, said he has faith in Vail’s so-called “long-timers.”
Charles has lived in Vail for 33 years and said in times like the town is facing, it needs people who have been around and know the cycles of the town and “where it’s been.”
“I think i can bring some of that longtime local experience,” Charles said.
Of the eight candidates running for the town’s four open seats, three are incumbents, one is a former councilman and mayor and one is the daughter of two former council members.
Kent Logan, a member of Vail Citizens for Action, a group that recently outlined a list of goals it thinks the new Town Council should consider, said he thinks a new generation should be on the council. He said that’s part of the reason nobody in his group is running for council.
“We’re sort of past our prime,” Logan said last week. “We’re here, we can provide perspective, but it’s time for the active reigns of government to be taken over by the 30 and 40-year-olds, not the 60-year-olds.”
Some candidates say the town needs council members with experience now more than ever since the town is facing budget constraints after coming out of previous years that saw record revenues.
The budgets at the time Kurz was in office, from about 1995 to 2003, were “reasonable and astute,” Kurz said.
“We need to do the same – tighten the belt a little more than we have so far,” Kurz said.
Foley said the town needs to look at salaries and benefits a little harder.
“For the town to continue to insist that salaries and benefits should be growing at the rate they do and not make cuts in that area strikes me as being not fiscally responsible,” Foley said. “We can’t just keep saying they’re going to exponentially increase and put burden on the budget at the expense of capital projects.”
Charles said whether candidates have already served or not, what the town needs are locals who have the town’s best interests at heart – something candidates with a long history in Vail likely have, he said.
The election is Nov. 3 and candidates have until the end of the day Friday to return nomination petitions to Donaldson.
Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or firstname.lastname@example.org