Attorney Art Daily said he is “not much of a political animal,” but is making his first run for elected public office, announcing Thursday that he is seeking one of two open seats on Aspen City Council in the May 7 election.
“I believe in balance and a balanced approach to things,” said Daily, whose law clients have spanned 40 years of Aspen history from Pussy Paepcke to the Residences at Little Nell. “I think I have a certain amount of experience trying to find solutions. ... I rarely find myself in an extreme position.”
Daily, 72, is known to many as the survivor of a horrific accident in February 1995, when a boulder came down the side of Glenwood Canyon and crushed his car, claiming the lives of his wife and two boys. It’s an experience that changes a person forever, Daily said, adding that it taught him what kindness and compassion mean.
Through that tragedy, and the good times that have followed that have seen him re-marry and raise two boys who are now in high school, Daily said Aspen has been a force for good in his life.
“I’ve had an awful lot of fun, an awful lot of joyful experiences in this town, and an awful lot of sorrow,” said Daily, who arrived here in 1968. “This community has embraced me in all these moments and continues to. It’s an extraordinary place to live.”
A desire to give back drove him to throw his hat in the ring, he said. He is the first person to officially declare candidacy for the upcoming city election.
“I think I have the skill sets and experience and level of caring that perhaps can make a difference in the community, and I’m ready to make a run at it,” he said.
Daily said it’s “a little early in the game” to have policy positions lined up for the various issues that likely would confront him as a council member, but he mentioned affordable housing and the future of the Castle Creek hydro plant proposal as topics that interest him.
Overall, he gave the city and council members past and present high marks for their performance.
For a stint starting in 1971, Daily served as Aspen city attorney, which back then was a half-time position. There are now two full-time city attorneys working for the municipal government.
“The city has become big business,” Daily said. When asked what he thinks of that, Daily said it’s a “natural evolution of an effective, significant resort community” that “from time to time [faces] fairly significant pressures to develop and grow.”
“I think overall ... the city and the council have done a very good job of preserving the kind of environment we all want to live in, while at the same time, providing a resort town that continues to be very attractive.”
Daily is likely to face off in the election against Dwayne Romero, a former city councilman and the president of Related Colorado, which is developing Snowmass Base Village. Romero said last week that he is “seriously considering” running for his old post. Aspen Mayor Mick Ireland, who must give up the mayor’s seat due to term limits, also has said he may run for City Council.
Current council members Derek Johnson and Torre’s seats will be up in the election, and both have said that, if they run, it will be for mayor.
The first day to file paperwork to run for office is March 18. Prospective office holders must have lived in the city of Aspen for at least one year, and be able to find 25 Aspen voters willing to a sign a petition vouching for their candidacy. The final day to submit the petition is April 8.