Meet the candidates
Council hopefuls sound off on everything from favorite jams to taxes
Ever think about what Durango city councilors do with their spare time? What music they’ll listen to on the way to a Council meeting, or how they feel about Question 1-A?
This week, the Telegraph posed these questions and more to the four candidates – Kim Baxter, Jaime McMillan, Barbara Noseworthy and Marcos Wisner – vying for the two open seats on the Council in this April’s election. Here are their responses:
Previous/current occupation: Financial adviser
What do you like to do on your day off? I try and dedicate days off as “me” days. Take a swim at the rec center, strolling antique shops downtown, or binge streaming movies. I also like books. They’re tangible, have a beginning and an end – contrary to never-ending social media. My next read is Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance.
What song would you want your music player to be stuck on? “Little Wing” by Jimi Hendrix. It’s about love being a vulnerable intention and the solo’s pretty sweet, too.
What is your spirit animal? The bull because it’s symbolic of stocks rising or in my business a “bull market.” Also, bulls get to keep their balls which is appealing.
Would you have voted to place Question 1-A on this April’s ballot? Why or why not? Raising taxes is a harder argument than not raising taxes. I understand the end, but don’t agree with the means. Sales taxes take a larger percent of lower paychecks than higher paychecks. There’s time for an ask on taxes and then there’s not. Today, four out of 10 Americans can’t come up with $400 if an emergency struck, so the economy needs time to grow. One tremendous growth area is developing around cannabis and hemp. Beyond dispensaries, there’s a limitless ecosystem of ancillary businesses coming like marijuana hospitality lounges, cannabinoid scientific research, care giving for patients, and even canna-tourism. If oil was black gold, then marijuana looks to be the new green gold.
If elected, what issue would you bring into the spotlight? The biggest issue is the local economy. I’m concerned about keeping Durango unique for locals and tourists. People come here not because of who they are but rather who they could be. An entrepreneur, proprietor of cannabis or spirits, restaurant founder, a teacher, a student or a veteran coming home. Our central downtown business district is where it starts for everyone. I would like to see a renaissance of innovation and creativity centered downtown where locals can have better social and business connectivity. Everyone’s working on a dream, and collaboration eliminates barriers to progress. In turn, a good idea goes from the realm of possibility into the realm of probability.
Previous/current occupation: I am a walnut farmer. Although not an occupation, I am currently on the City Planning Commission and a volunteer with Adaptive Sports Association, the Regional Science Fair and Destination Imagination. Previously, I owned a bookstore and before that I was the North American distributor for Porsche mountain bikes. I have a degree in finance from the University of Utah and held several senior financial positions.
What do you like to do on your day off? I spend quality time with my husband, John, and our doggies, Hugin and Bear. Skiing of all sorts in the winter – alpine, skate-skiing and backcountry. My summer passion is mountain biking on all the wonderful trails in the Durango area.
What song would you want your music player to be stuck on? “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves!
What is your spirit animal? The wolf speaks to my heart about loyalty and love for family and community.
Would you have voted to place Question 1-A on this April’s ballot? Why or why not? I feel that all the options for managing expenses and creating revenue were not fully explored or considered, and as such I believe that 1A was premature. Our City Council needs to focus on and evaluate ways to provide basic City services that do not include tax increases before putting a tax increase on the ballot.
If elected, what issue would you bring into the spotlight? I believe the character of Durango as a multi-generational community is one worthy of retaining and enhancing. Creating available housing for all income levels and supporting good-paying jobs through business development, both home-grown and new, is key to the ability of young families, returning young adults, seniors and all our residents to be able to call Durango home. Our quality of life is incredible and that did not occur by accident or without effort, and will take thoughtful decision-making to maintain and enhance in the future.
Previous/current occupation: Strategic planning consultant on sustainable development, resource mobilization and public/private partnerships. My clients have included the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Food Program, and U.S. and international organizations. Prior to that, I held executive leadership positions at several universities. Ialsoamonthe board of the Global Child Nutrition Foundation where we work with governments and the private sector to develop school meal programs. Here in Durango, I serve on the board of the Durango Independent Film Festival, Durango Playfest and the Public Arts Commission.
What do you like to do on your day off? Depending on the time of year, that would be hiking in the San Juans, kayaking the Animas, XC skiing with my husband and dog, or training for the Iron Horse – I may be the slowest rider ever to make it to Silverton. I also play Scrabble and love to read.
What song would you want your music player to be stuck on? These days, the music seems to be stuck on “Born to Run” and “I Will Survive.” But my choice would be Aretha Franklin’s “Natural Woman.”
What is your spirit animal? While living in Wyoming, I saw a moose by the side of the road. Got out of my little VW and walked toward it (stupid, me). We looked into each other’s eyes, and I was captivated by the grace and beauty of this large, gangly creature. Ever since, I have a special connection with moose.
Would you have voted to place Question 1-A on this April’s ballot? Why or why not? No. We need deeper engagement with our community on the budget. I wrote a Letter to the Editor that I also shared with the City Council and the city manager on five questions I felt the City needed to address regarding our budget: How it compares with other cities of our size? How we got to the place where our roads and other infrastructure are not being maintained? What has been already cut from the budget? How can we explore solutions to adjusting the General Fund to finance our roads? And, what big capital and maintenance projects are anticipated and how will they be financed? That’s the kind of deep community engagement I suggest before putting any tax increase on the ballot.
If elected, what issue would you bring into the spotlight? Fiscal responsibility, including creating a long-term financial advisory board reporting to the City Council; affordable housing; good paying jobs; working with numerous groups and the County to address homelessness; and mitigating and adapting to climate change, especially as it relates to fire mitigation, water resources, renewable energy and the air we breathe.
Previous/current occupation: Former chef. Current business owner/entrepreneur.
What do you like to do on your day off? You’ll find me in the backcountry skiing, on the river rafting, in the mountains backpacking, or on the lake wake surfing and relaxing. We live in a special place that not only encourages these pursuits, but also continues to invest in the unique surrounding resources that allow us to participate in them. It never ceases to amaze me how many great people there are in the community that I get to do these things with.
What song would you want your music player to be stuck on? “Juicy” by Notorious B.I.G.
What is your spirit animal? John Hickenlooper
Would you have voted to place Question 1-A on this April’s ballot? Why or why not? I’m unaware of the alternative options, if any, that were brought to City Council to remedy our infrastructure problems. At this time, I can’t say whether I would have voted to put it on the ballot or not, but I can say that it is clear we have an issue that deserves serious attention and consideration. The longer we take to find a solution, the more it will cost us in the long run.
If elected, what issue would you bring into the spotlight? I would like to put a spotlight on the areas that need to be addressed in order to resolve our budget constraints. To me, that means promoting small business growth and opportunity, and property development, infill and flexibility. We need to be able to set long-term goals, enforce hard deadlines and create capital safety nets when planning city spending. Amending our current (Land Use and Development Code), improving relationships between the community and our city staff, and taking back the leadership of our town from city staff by emboldening the voice of our citizens through a proactive council are important steps to achieving our goals.