Vail Chamber endorses council candidates
Vail is a great place to live and be a part of. But we need to be careful who we select as leaders of our wonderful community.This years election will be very difficult for Vail residents as all candidates running have many assets. The question is, do they have what were looking for? The Vail Chamber & Business Association has a nine-member board of directors who, as volunteers and leaders in the community, have committed to serving the business community. We have come together as a board and put aside our individual differences. Weve done a lot of research, including interviews with the candidates. We wanted to make sure that we were able to accurately represent the members of the chamber. With many continuing challenges including insufficient employee housing, not enough parking, construction, and the loss of many of our full-time residents, we are specifically looking for leaders of the community who have the same goals as the Vail Chamber. Susie Tjossems business background has been diverse over the years, ranging from a publicly-held company to a small nonprofit. Susie also holds a special place as a member of the Vail Chamber Board of Directors. From this vantage point we have been able to see her operate and are convinced that her support of the business community will be unparalleled among the candidates. Susie is our choice as the top candidate. Now for the rest of the candidates, ladies first.Well start with Kim Newbury, the incumbent. Kims dedication to housing has been critical to helping resolve employee needs. She is fairly conservative in terms of town spending and her experience over the last four years is a valuable asset. But, like Margaret Rogers, her intent to create for-sale housingon the Timber Ridge site worries us.Which leads us to more on Margaret Rogers. As chairman of the Vail Design Review Board and a retired lawyer, there is no question Margaret will bring a valuable perspective to the town council. We feel that her background in negotiations and her ability to compromise will be an asset when dealing with all the development that is on the horizon for Vail.We cant help but support Dave Irwin. During our interview process he received the highest ratings from our board. Although he isnt very well known, he has served on the Design Review Board and we were struck by his common-sense approach to most issues. As an architect, builder and developer, he will bring a wealth of information to all of the public and private developments on the horizon. He has a passion for creating a sense of community in the town coupled with a pragmatic attitude as to how that should be accomplished.Bob McKown is clearly running as the peoples choice. A long-time bartender in both Vail Village and Lionshead, we view him as the perfect choice to represent the working guy. As vice chairman of the Vail Liquor Board and a resident of the Vail Commons, he brings a unique perspective on business and housing requirements.Clearly two of the most experienced candidates are Andy Daly and Dick Cleveland. There is no question that Andys business background is unmatchable. Starting as a ski patroller and moving to president of a major ski company is no small feat. Additionally his knowledge should prove an asset when dealing with the largest employer in Vail. What can you say about Dick Cleveland? He has served on more boards and commissions than anyone can count and his dedication to Vail is legendary. We see Dick not only as a successful councilman but as the next Mayor of Vail. We cant endorse Kevin Foley. He failed to show up for our interview and left our board waiting without any notice of his intent to cancel.Stephen Connollys interview with us made us aware that his current opinions on Vail business are not aligned with ours.Scott Proper, although a very intelligent individual, is better left in his current role as chairman the Vail Recreation District Board of Directors. We also feel he will be a great candidate in the near future after completing his tenure on the Vail Planning and Environmental Commission.So there it is. Yes to Tjossem, Newbury, Rogers, McKown, Irwin, Daly and Cleveland. You cant go wrong with any of those choices. The diversity of the Vail Chamber represents a wide range of business concerns. With this in mind, our board found it difficult to endorse a slate of just five candidates. Our board feels that the business communitys goals and objectives can be best represented by any combination of these candidates.At times, the town council is a thankless job, So we want to take this opportunity to recognize and say thanks to all of the candidates for all their time, commitment, dedication and passion for this town and we look forward to working with them in the future. As an organization we have tried to do our research and pass along as much information as possible but now it is your turn. Please remember to vote Nov. 6. Lourdes Ferzacca is President of the Vail Chamber & Business Association Board of Directors.