Vail Chamber: Fall is code word for election season (column)
Some in this valley would consider fall to be the best time of year. Warm days, cool nights and fall foliage make Vail a much-sought-after destination for Front Range visitors and beyond. Fall is also the time when local business owners and employees are able to take some time off after a busy summer to vacation or regroup and get outdoors, knowing that winter planning will be ramping up very shortly.
Fall is also the time when community discussion becomes more vocal due to the upcoming election. The town of Vail will be conducting Town Council elections in November, and early voting begins this week. Commentary on positions and platforms dominate letters to the editor and social media streams, focusing on the myriad of issues that face Vail and the rest of Eagle County.
This year, there are 10 candidates, including three incumbents, vying for four open spots on Vail Town Council. It is always interesting in small-town elections to see how many local residents will be brave enough to step up and run for a public seat. Some personalities are more willing to serve, while others need more convincing, but what they all have in common is the willingness to put themselves in the public eye and under scrutiny to serve on their town municipal board. It is a commendable thing, and we all should be grateful.
But being brave and a good resident of one’s community is not all it takes to be an effective local leader. Candidates need to be well versed in not only local issues but to also possess knowledge of processes, town code and community nuances.
Many talk of “qualifications” as the number of boards you have served on or positions you have held. This is important and allows for credibility, but in Vail, being an active member of the community, paying attention and participating in community issues and initiatives, as well as gaining knowledge of who you will be serving and working with, also carries weight, albeit with maybe a slightly larger learning curve.
There are some large issues and challenges facing Vail and Eagle County. It seems now more than ever community sentiment has been echoing more rhetorical questions of growth, sustainability and what our community will look like in five, 10 or 15 years. Setting groundwork now to tackle those questions and allowing for strategic planning will be key in deciding the path Vail takes going forward.
The Vail Chamber & Business Association hosted a town of Vail Candidate Forum on Thursday, Oct. 19. Each of the 10 candidates navigated the difficult questions with answers that may or may not sway voters in their direction. But what was apparent is that all of them want to help steer Vail in a direction they think is correct. It will be up to voters to decide that direction, but don’t take my word for it, watch the Vail Candidate Forum on replay at http://www.highfivemedia.org. I am sure you will be impressed with the passion each of this year’s candidates possess for a town that they love, as well as the experience and vision many of them have.
Alison Wadey is the executive director of the Vail Chamber & Business Association, a business advocacy group in Vail and a communications outlet for businesses that want to have a voice in community affairs. For more information, call 970-477-0075 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.