Vail candidate profile: Connolly wants more transparency |

Vail candidate profile: Connolly wants more transparency

Lauren Glendenning
Vail, CO Colorado
NWS Stephen Connolly DT 10-18-11

VAIL, Colorado – Stephen Connolly has some ideas for transparency and better marketing that he’d like to bring to the table if elected to the Vail Town Council.

Connolly, 53, works in sports marketing and feels he would bring a critical mind and common sense to the council. He ran for council in 2007 and lost.

He was motivated to run this year because he didn’t like the process the current council followed with relation to the conference center funds projects and subsequent drafting of a ballot question, he said.

While Connolly hopes voters pass the conference funds ballot question, he doesn’t think the ideas on the ballot are all that great. With Connolly on council, he said he would find ways to invite the public in that are more conducive to great thought than the meetings the current council tends to host, of which he is very critical.

He attended some of the council meetings during the conference center funds discussions, but felt the council didn’t listen to his concerns, which he says were echoed by other community members.

“I’m disappointed with the process,” he said.

Connolly wants to make sure the town never loses sight of the environment, too. He wants the town to consider ordinances such as a ban on plastic bags – something other Colorado ski resort towns have passed – and stricter regulations on idling vehicles. It’s possible to overcome financial difficulties, but environmental concerns are another story, he said.

“If we don’t do something soon, your children are going to have a tough time existing, much less surviving,” he said.

Connolly has lived in Vail full time since 2000, but has been in Vail off and on since 1987. Civic service is a part of Connolly’s family background, he said. It’s also his time to contribute more, he said.

Connolly compliments the current council for the job it has done with the town’s budget throughout the recession, but he feels he has ideas that can save even more, and potentially bring in more money. He thinks the town needs to eliminate its Commission on Special Events and Vail Local Marketing District boards and create a chief marketing officer position. He thinks one person focused on the task of marketing could do more than what the boards have done.

While he recognizes the results those boards have produced in recent years – which include record sales tax collections in July and near-record numbers in August – he thinks one marketing officer would eliminate conflicts of interest and politics.

“We need to streamline to be more effective,” Connolly said.

Issues like employee housing and parking will never go away, he said. It’s why he’s interested in knowing more about where the Timber Ridge project is today. He said he’s not sure about the details, but he knows the town can’t take its eye off of Timber Ridge.

“We need to be able to house our people in decent conditions, close to town,” he said.

Ever Vail is another proposed development that he said he doesn’t know all of the details about. Based on how far the application has come, he said he has to believe there’s no major public outcry over it.

The town of Vail is a very different place than it was in 1987, when Connolly first arrived, he said. He wants to be on council to be a part of the progress, he said.

“We need to shape it the way we want it shaped,” he said.

Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or

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