In advance of the April 7 Basalt Town Council election, the Roaring Fork Weekly Journal offered all nine of the candidates for mayor and council to express, in their own words, why they deserve your vote. This week, we offer the views of Bill Kane and David Knight. To read the opinions of Tiffany Haddad, Bill Infante and Rob Leavitt, please go to rfweeklyjournal.com and click on e-edition for March 12.

‘Basalt is essentially doomed to success’

By Bill Kane

Candidate for mayor

After many years of difficult local politics it is now Basalt’s time to shine. We have a bright future and can now focus on the progressive, enlightened and wonderful town that we want to be. We are a town of families, working parents, outdoors people, athletes, researchers, professionals, kids, skiers, fly fishers and ardent protectors of the environment. We can now work together to improve the quality of life for us and future generations. It is time to up the cool factor in Basalt.

I believe that my 46 years of life in the Roaring Fork Valley, work experience and professional training make me a perfect fit to lead the town in coming years. I have served as a planning director for Aspen and Pitkin County, principal of Design Workshop, vice-president of Aspen Skiing Co. and town manager for Basalt during the great recession.

My campaign is grounded in practical solutions for the many challenges and opportunities before us. I have walked our neighborhoods and listened carefully. With the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic and deterioration of economic conditions it is now more critical than ever to elect a candidate who has track proven experience in managing municipal affairs under stress. The next decade will be an exciting time for Basalt and the Mid-Valley. Projects on my list include:

  • Complete planning and construction of the River Park
  • Control growth and development with the adoption of a new Basalt Comprehensive plan
  • Create a permanent home for the Art Base and TACAW
  • Fix up and improve vibrancy for downtown and Willits center
  • Redevelop the vacant grocery store in Old Town
  • Set up a Basalt community forum to help resolve difficult community issues
  • Work with school district and board to enhance quality of education and after school activities
  • Embrace cultural diversity — set up a Latinx advisory council
  • Improve transit with rideshare program innovations to decrease traffic on Highway 82
  • Connect Old Town, Willits and South Side with a connector bus
  • Protect our fly fishing heritage by managing our local stream flows
  • Work with Eagle County to control growth and development on the Highway 82 corridor
  • Follow through on environmental priorities to include town climate action plan
  • Build on our mountain biking image and work with CPW to investigate options for Basalt Mountain
  • Create an attractive environment for knowledge based nonprofits and allow them to flourish
  • Revive River Days festival on the new River Park in downtown with major kids’ focus
  • Get a CMC campus building in Basalt
  • Let’s do the Basalt Free lunch days again on Midland Ave.

During my years as town manager from 2009-2012 we were able to get Willits out of foreclosure and attract Whole Foods with town-funded infrastructure. We also started the summer Sunday Market which has added to our town’s vibrancy – more where that came from.

Basalt is essentially doomed to success; it will be our responsibility to determine what success looks like. I think we can be a sweet town that watches out for our kids, cares for our elders, controls growth and development with smart choices, protects our special natural environment and builds pride in living here. If elected it will be my honor to work with everyone to make Basalt the best it can be.

Collaboration, humility, honesty are essential

By David Knight

Candidate for town council

My name is David Knight and I’m running for Basalt Town Council. I live in Elk Run with my wife, Melissa, and son, Luca, who is in kindergarten at Basalt Elementary.

I work remotely as a senior manager of a project management team for a technology firm and am fortunate to be able to live anywhere. After living in Denver and several Colorado mountain towns since 2002 we decided to settle in Basalt in 2017 and now live in the greatest place and community imaginable. We fell in love with and chose Basalt for the small mountain town feel and proximity to outdoor activities.

Since we are new in the community, I have found ways to get involved including Habitat for Humanity, Cub Scouts and previously serving on the ASE Vision Airport Experience Working Group. Basalt is an amazing place to live and work and I am running to ensure the town continues to be a vibrant mountain community.

When our national politics are so dysfunctional, local government has the power to affect us in simple yet profound ways. It’s important for town council to be made up of collaborative, humble and honest members who work together to serve the people.

If elected, I am confident that with my professional experiences and personal perspective I will be able to work together with the other council members. I am not affiliated with any of the other candidates, in large part because I am committed to working with everyone. I would be honored to serve the people of Basalt.

As a town councilor I would advocate for the arts, connectedness and smart, sustainable growth in our community. As a drummer and composer/arranger I appreciate how performance can bring people together; whether they are playing or listening. I also would advocate for our town to be more connected through trails, transportation, and additional high-speed internet. I believe in the importance of managing growth by preserving our community character while recognizing that some development meets crucial needs while actually reducing impact – workforce housing is an example.

Our community character is what makes Basalt a special place for our residents, businesses and visitors. Therefore, our approach to growth should be pragmatic and balance the need to sustain a vibrant economy with preserving our character. Finally, we must look at all of our initiatives and issues in Basalt through the lens of respecting the environment and mitigating the effects of climate change. Climate change is the great existential problem that we must deal with as a town and as a planet.

We must continue to work together to ensure Basalt remains the incredible place that it is. I believe that effectively managing growth, promoting the arts and fostering connectedness plays a big role. I hope that you will consider me for council when you receive your ballot in the mail. But most importantly I want to thank all of you for participating in our local election by using your voice and voting.