Phillips: Why I’m running for Vail Town Council
Growing up in Colorado, I started skiing Vail Mountain in the ’70s and made the adult decision to move to Vail full-time 29 years ago. I fell for the small ski town where everyone knew your name. I still value the old Vail small-town character that built our community. I want that spirit and intent to drive very important future decision-making, and that is why I’m seeking your vote for Vail Town Council.
Three years ago, after watching the accelerated growth of the Vail core, I decided to apply for a seat on Vail’s Planning and Environmental Commission. I felt this would be a great place to help manage Vail’s next development surge in a responsible way. I believed then and now that there needs to be an appropriate balance between public interest and private property owner rights. We need to manage the interaction between the town’s growth and our surrounding natural environment. As someone who grew up on a ranch, I have a first-hand appreciation for how humans and nature need to — and can — coexist.
Serving on PEC taught me valuable lessons in how municipal government works. Town staff does a great job providing the PEC with all the information needed to make well-deliberated decisions. I never felt pressured into a decision or recommendation to the council.
If elected to Town Council, I believe in the importance of helping to build consensus. Building relationships and understanding among the seven council members is enormously important in order to achieve the common goals of the entire community. There have been too many split votes on the council, and the division has compromised the trust and effectiveness of the council.
I see the need for and look forward to also enhancing our relationships with our greater stakeholders, from all Vail residents to small business owners, from Eagle County to Eagle County Schools, from Vail Health to East West Partners; from Eagle River Water and Sanitation District to Vail Valley Foundation and from Vail Recreation District to Vail Resorts. When all voices are heard, finding the right balance in our decision-making is accomplished.
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Vail was caught flat-footed when the global pandemic hit our community and the seasonal rental housing stock got bought up. We have since learned the importance of investing in housing like all infrastructure investment. I have spent the last three years looking to help correct this problem. I have researched every available piece of town-owned property to build workforce and affordable housing; we will not be able to accomplish our housing goals solely within Vail. By building those aforementioned relationships, we open the door to many creative and cooperative partnerships to get rental and for-sale attainable housing built where land is available.
I pledge to bring my skillset and passions to environmental, transportation and parking solutions, as well as housing, prioritizing our workforce and local business needs. We are not just a destination resort; we are still a small but mighty town of locals working tirelessly together for the common goal of keeping Vail amazing.
I hope your goals for Vail’s future are common to mine, and you will trust me with your vote to represent you on the Town Council.