MESIROW’S CAMPAIGN LETTER
The following open letter is Skippy Mesirow’s declaration to run for Aspen City Council in the May municipal election.
I am writing to announce my candidacy for the office of Aspen City Council, and I thank you for the honor.
Over the past several years I have had the privilege to serve our community as a founder and two-term chair of the Aspen Next Generation Advisory commission, current chair of the Aspen Planning & Zoning commission, and helped launch critical community nonprofits like the Aspen Mentorship Program, Aspen City of Wellbeing, and Aspen Entrepreneurs. These relevant experiences have shown me what is possible and motivated me to seek the opportunity to serve our community as your Council member.
While my personal experience has been wonderful, I have also born witness to the creeping effects of cynicism, an erosion of trust in our government, and increasing divisions within our community.
I am running to reverse these trends, to apply a younger, fresh perspective to the critical decisions that sit before us. My two main reasons for running are 1. To rebuild trust in government, modernizing its structure and process to reflect the needs of the modern age, and 2. To create a more livable Aspen.
Local government is more important now than ever. Effective government is necessary to allow our community to flourish. Though it need not do everything, or even much, it is the common forum with mutually agreed upon rules that are the precursor to all our priorities.
Government should no longer expect people to come to it; it most reach out to the people. It must communicate clearly, intently, and authentically. My goal as an elected official will be to activate our citizenry with authentic leadership, hard work, and the courage of conviction. We must use technology to make our government more responsive, remove arcane roadblocks to collective impact, and focus on more voting, not less. A representative government can only work when it’s actually representative.
The Aspen Idea lives in all of us. We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to all those that came before us and made this town what it is. Now it is our turn to build on that tradition and step confidently into the future, thoroughly rooted in the values of our past.
Our challenge, the legacy we leave to those that come after us is creating a more livable Aspen. A more inclusive, approachable community that focuses on human interactions, the reduction of the automobile, modern housing solutions, and a diverse, vibrant core that leverages the sharing economy and tools of the modern age to reclaim character.
We can do these things, the last generation did, and now it’s our turn. Our turn to work together, to rise to the challenge — modernizing government, rebuilding trust in institutions and one another, and creating a more livable, unified, Aspen. Together we can achieve this and I believe, through my unique background, experience, and commitment to service and community building, can help lead us to a future just as good as our past, and even better, together.
Mesirow is the voice of a generation
Recently I ran into two people who — against all odds — didn't know Skippy. "You must know Skippy," I told them. "Young, energetic, articulate, dramatic sweep of blond hair — he's running for Aspen City Council. He's a passionate, progressive entrepreneur. Kind of a prodigy, but super social and charismatic. Skippy is the voice of our generation."
They seemed intrigued, so I told them why I'm voting for Skippy: He's our candidate for a modern, sustainable, happy future, I said. He aims to digitize housing inventory in Aspen so we can see the full picture — like, how has this not happened yet? Skippy wants to open up empty, under-used spaces for small businesses, start-ups, and collaborative workspace. His position on urban development reflects an understanding that community connection in this valley is crucial to individual wellbeing. He's traveled the world on personal and humanitarian missions — no wonder he's against dams that might jeopardize our precious water supply. Everyone's pro-environment, but Skippy will be around the longest to endure climate change … so you know he cares the most! And he has the vitality to get real work accomplished, not just talk about it.
Skippy is the voice of our generation, I repeated. Let's make sure that voice is heard loud and clear.
Skippy for mayor 20XX!
Aspen's golden boy
I have heard Skippy Mesirow described as outgoing, talented, intelligent, reliable, etc., and while I agree with all these descriptions, I am lucky enough to call him my big brother and best friend. In the past 20 years, there is no one I have ever looked up to like I do Skippy. I admire him so dearly not only because he is my brother but because there is no better role model anyone could have.
Skippy has always made sure to lead by the best example he could set for a little sister 10 years younger. One of the most important things that he taught me, however, was to put 110 percent into everything as he does, whether it is work, philanthropy, helping out other Aspen residents, or his relationships. I know that just as he has always put 110 percent into everything I have ever seen him do in 20 years, he would put 110 percent into being your councilman.
Mesirow is a model citizen
I write this letter to speak about one of my oldest and dearest friends and confidants, Skippy Upton Mesirow. He would be an amazing council member for the city of Aspen. Skippy is always around when you need a hand, sage advice or any type of assistance; to be frank, he is one of the kindest and most caring people I have ever met. If given the opportunity, he will make Aspen a better place for all its residents.
Skippy and I worked on the campaign of the secretary of state for Illinois, Jesse White. During this time, I saw first-hand the passion he held for civic duty. It is hard to explain the grind of a political campaign to someone never involved in one; it is like rubbing stones together to make sand. We phone banked, made donor calls, worked with other politicians, created mailers, and worked with local voters and individuals. For many, this would feel overwhelming, but with Skippy on my side, we always learned, helped others and had fun. He is what politics needs, a true outside thinker who acts for the betterment of society and not for personal gains.
The thinks you can think with Skippy on council
It's election season once again in the old mining town. I'm thinking it's time for Aspen to elevate their collective sights higher than ever when it comes to electing the next City Council members. Think hindsight into foresight. Think yesterday, today into tomorrow. Think left and think right and think low and think high. Think community. Think balance. Think fresh. Think a hop, Skippy and a jump for Aspen.
Skippy for Council is the thinking person's choice. Please think about it, Aspen. And then vote.
RJ Gallagher Jr.
ACRA forum entices lively exchange among candidates
Anna Stonehouse/Aspen Times
Incumbents Art Daily and Ann Mullins lauded their work aligning development rules with the community's desires.
Candidate Ward Hauenstein stayed on his message of protecting local businesses and having the voters decide on damming Castle and Maroon creeks, should it ever come to that. Thirty-year-old Skippy Mesirow continued to emphasize his youth and innovative problem-solving and community-building as an asset.
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