Letter to the Editor - Jill Teehan Edinger

Mersirow is a born leader

I write to express my enthusiastic support for Skippy Mesirow in his candidacy for Aspen City Council. I have worked closely and significantly with Skippy in civic engagement endeavors and on policy issues for our community. I hope my perspective might be of interest and value to your readers.

Skippy and I first teamed up when Skippy joined me in the Aspen Democracy Initiative (ADI) in 2012. ADI was a non-partisan effort to better engage Aspen’s younger citizens in our democratic process, in our community and beyond. With Skippy’s leadership, ADI flourished and eventually morphed into the city of Aspen’s Next Generation Commission. Next Gen would not have come to fruition without Skippy’s dedication, open-mindedness to different ideas and keen sense of leadership and teamwork. Next Gen is now an integral part of our city’s government, engaging our young citizens in the democratic process and providing a forum for their unique policy concerns to be voiced.

Skippy has also spearheaded other important efforts, such as launching a mentorship program for Aspen’s younger citizens, a crucial step in supporting young people in our community who want to pursue professional or technical skills with the advantage of a mentor. With Next Gen, he has taken seriously tackling the child care challenge our young parents face. These efforts are important steps to supporting the young adult constituency in our community, who face unique challenges professionally and financially in our mountain town. As Skippy recognizes, when our young adults are supported in the policy process and can thrive here, everyone — young and old, local and tourist — benefits.

Many people can effectively serve in public office, but few are true, born leaders. I don’t offer this compliment lightly, but unquestionably I place Skippy in this coveted category. One of his strongest qualities is that he listens. He is not partisan; his policies cross party lines. To me, that shows his understanding that people with different perspectives and political leanings have important points of view to be considered with an open mind by those who serve them in public office. He understands democracy — given the current political environment at the national level, the importance of this prerequisite to public service cannot be understated. At the same time, Skippy gets things done by bringing people together to reach common ground through the democratic process. He respects free market principles, but also the role of limited government in balancing the dynamics of a free market that, when left unchecked, sometimes leads to unintended outcomes; Skippy understands this as a practical and theoretical matter. He is a hard worker. He has attended countless city council meetings, always in the front row taking notes, to prepare himself for this run for office. He has educated himself about myriad issues facing our community and its various members. He is serious, but he is also his own person. His sincerity combined with his integrity will be great assets for him when he is elected.

It’s time for a young, fresh voice on our city council. But young and fresh are not enough. Skippy is a candidate I will robustly support in the next election because he is a true leader and he will make careful, thoughtful decisions for our community that balance often competing demands. I know our community, both young and old, would be better under his leadership. I hope your readers will join me in support of Skippy for council.

Jill Teehan Edinger


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