McBride: Why I’m running for Vail Town Council
We have an opportunity this year to elect new, compassionate leaders who aren’t afraid to be confrontational: leaders with experience, skill and integrity who know that elected office is less about individual personalities and more about effective service to the community.
Throughout my 25-year career as an attorney, I’ve seen that there are two main approaches to conflict. You can fight a win-lose war, or you can find opportunities for communication, mutual understanding, and negotiation. No attorneys currently sit on the council. I’ve spent decades helping organizations communicate in a collaborative manner and I’m confident that my experience would help our council to better navigate current issues and embrace opportunities in the future.
For Town Council to do its job — to represent and protect the interests of Vail residents — we must have leaders who listen; leaders who look at the big picture while paying attention to small details. To strengthen trust in our council, we need pragmatic representatives who can bring community members together to solve problems.
My brother and I grew up in Minnesota with two parents who worked outside the home, and they instilled in me the importance of hard work and service. I began working as a caddy when I was 10. After my formal education, I began work as an attorney in Chicago. My entire working career has been about human service.
I have extensive experience dealing with Vail Resorts, both cooperatively and adversarially. I served on a Beaver Creek HOA for 12 years (600 owners; $10M budget), and our HOA’s primary amenities came via a contract with Vail Resorts. Separately, Vail Resorts sued our HOA in a dispute over a deed restriction. Our HOA settled with Vail Resorts long before the trial on very favorable terms.
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The next Town Council needs to hold Vail Resorts accountable. Vail Resorts has built fewer deed-restricted beds (124, First Chair) in Vail than the town now averages annually via public-private partnerships (The Residences at Main Vail currently has 130, Timber Ridge will add 373 new beds by 2025, and West Middle Creek will have around 240 by 2027). The Booth Heights debacle was extremely costly to the town of Vail. Judge Dunkelman found a “failure (of leadership by both) the Town (of Vail) and Vail Resorts.” We absolutely can do better. We need leaders with experience navigating the nuances and complexities of conflicts, rather than those who vilify one party over another.
In 2012, I took a pro bono case to write a “friend of the court” brief to the Supreme Court in Bowman v. Monsanto. My client was neither the “big guy” (Monsanto) nor the “little guy” (Bowman): my clients included dozens of universities with strong agricultural research programs and the Association of American Universities. Their interest was to implore the court to protect federally-funded agricultural research. This case was an excellent example of how many of our problems in society are not black-and-white: often there are multiple interests that simultaneously converge and diverge.
To effectively address the relationship between the town and Vail Resorts, it is critical that we have transparent representatives on Town Council who listen to all sides of an issue, recognize their own limitations, and consult subject matter experts when appropriate. We have a real chance to “restart” our town’s relationship with Vail Resorts, and incredible opportunities to invest more in our community and build infrastructure that reflects the caliber of our world-class town.
The people who love Vail deserve nothing less. I would be honored to serve as your representative. You can reach out to me at email@example.com.