Over the past four months, Colorado Springs Forward (CSF), along with a diverse community team, has recruited and interviewed candidates for City Council.
Several good potential candidates decided not to run because of the time demands and minimal compensation, but four outstanding candidates emerged who also embrace Colorado Springs Forward’s values and vision.
As part of an effort to identify and support leaders in the Colorado Springs community, CSF has recently organized the Colorado Springs Forward Political Action Committee (PAC).
Due to term-limits, Jan Martin will not be able to run for re-election, and Val Snider will retire from Council at the conclusion of his term. The CSF Board and Executive Director John Cassiani commend Martin and Snider for their service to Colorado Springs, noting that their institutional knowledge and general City Council experience have been a benefit to the community.
The CSF Board of Directors is pleased to announce its endorsement of these four Colorado Springs City Council candidates.
Merv Bennett, Tom Strand, and Jariah Walker.
Merv Bennett. We are very encouraged by Merv’s willingness to stand for re-election to his incumbent seat on the Colorado Springs City Council. We know Merv from his successful career with the YMCA and with the exemplary way he has handled his leadership role as both President Pro Tem of our City Council as well as Chairman of the Colorado Springs Utilities Board of Directors. We know Merv would like to be spending more of his retirement with his wife and family, and we are deeply grateful for his decision to seek another term on the City Council. Those who have worked directly with Merv respect his open door policy, the ability to talk through city issues, and his ability to reason through many points of view and find common-sense solutions.
Tom Strand would be new to City Council, but not new to Colorado Springs or to managing complex issues. As a member and President of the School District 11 Board, Tom faced difficult decisions regarding budgets and administration, school closures, and student retention. Tom brings a distinguished legal background as an officer with the U.S. Air Force, and impressive management and leadership credentials. Tom’s commitment to invest more of his time into the City of Colorado Springs working to bring the community together and promoting a winning vision for the City were compelling to the Colorado Springs Forward interview team.
Jariah Walker is a younger professional with a well-known family history in Colorado Springs. Jariah is involved with his family real estate firm, Walker Asset Management Realty, Inc., and is willing to take time away from his business and family to run for Colorado Springs City Council. As Colorado Springs works to attract more young professionals to our City, Colorado Springs Forward made it a goal to encourage someone representing the younger leaders of our community to run for City Council. We are very impressed with the decision Jariah has made to take time away from his family and his business –during what are often the busiest years of building a career – making time for service on City Council. In addition to his leadership style and business experience, Jariah also brings a passion for Colorado Springs we hope his colleagues will find infectious.
Colorado Springs Forward is endorsing Larry Bagley for the District 2 Council Seat
With the recently filled vacancy in District #2, Colorado Springs Forward is honored to support Larry Bagley for election to this important district seat. In the past few months on Council, Larry has already proven himself to be accessible, thoughtful in his positions, and has a determination to bring Colorado Springs together to tackle our City issues. He has shown good instincts on some of the contentious issues he has participated in on City Council, including utilities governance and the city charter, as well as asking the right questions about City for Champions. His military credentials as a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, and as a U.S. Air Force officer are also benefits to representing this strongly military district, as well as our city with the military presence we wish to preserve and promote.
Colorado Springs Forward has outlined a mission and vision for Colorado Springs that includes a commitment to improving our city infrastructure, convening a community process to address inconsistencies with our City Charter, promoting jobs and economic development, encouraging dialog around best governance practices for our community owned municipal utility, and support for the vision of the City for Champions proposal.