Glenwood Springs needs dynamic, bold, progressive leadership. Glenwood Springs voters have a choice for city council between incumbent at-large City Councilor and Mayor pro tem Shelley Kaup and political newbie and local business owner Ricky Rodriguez. One has experience with government; one doesn't.
This political scenario is nothing new and goes all the way up the ladder to the big chiefs.
Kaup is standing on her experience and passion for a bunch of sticky issues like housing prices, workforce housing, energy and traffic solutions. Native Son restaurant proprietor Rodriguez is running because he doesn't like the mask mandate supported by the city government.
Kaup said that she followed the science to determine her position on public health issues and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Early on, we decided to follow the science,” Kaup said in a recent interview with the Aspen Daily News. “We wanted to make sure that our community was as safe as possible.”
Rodriguez thinks that his lack of experience is a plus.
In a recent article about the race in the Aspen Daily News, Rodriguez said, “If [people] go for me, they’re going for somebody that’s not a politician. I think those are the people that should be politicians.”
Spoken like a true politician. An outsider. Swamp drainage.
But when I go to a restaurant, I want to find experienced, professional staff serving great food in a pleasant environment. Pulling that off day in and day out is a huge project and takes a great team effort and inspired leadership. If I told you that inexperienced cooks plucked from the ranks of city council would do a better job preparing the meal than a professional chef, you might think I was a little off my rocker.
Rodriguez may be right. Maybe someone with a fresh face without a mask knows what's best for everyone. But I've just seen what comes from electing officials who have no experience but think they can come in and fix everything, especially when it comes to their one particular issue. This causes gridlock, misinformation and chaos. There is a spectrum between political luddites and career politicians. Serving on council takes patience, study and — yes — experience can help.
Hopefully, the pandemic will soon disappear like magic. I'm vaccinated and I wish everyone was, too. Mostly because I want to feel comfortable going out to restaurants and enjoying social proximity. This crappy bug is still killing lots of Americans and earthlings, and so I am going to follow the scientific recommendations until we are out of the woods. I hate wearing the masks — but when I go out in public, I wear them.
Aspen's recent council election had a few local citizens without prior experience running for office, some in response to a particular issue like the mask mandate. Most of the candidates had not experienced the grind of tedious council meetings, most of which may have nothing to do with their particular issue. Some admitted that they did not even vote in the last election.
Rodriguez has a right to run, and he may just garner a lot of support from people who don't like masks or science or government or experience. Our communities are starkly divided and nuance may be out the window for now. Certainly the motivation to get people back into restaurants is a real, righteous cause.
But people who claim to want less government and then run for office should be watched closely, especially if they are waving guns and bibles around.
Rush Limbaugh used to rage against the mainstream media while bragging that his show was No. 1 and that he did it with one half of his brain tied behind his back. He was the mainstream media. The biggest radio show host in the country was taking shots at his own business, and his droogs just lapped it up like milk.
That would be like Taco Bell saying the restaurant industry is the enemy while serving more tacos than anyone in the world. Or like Amazon trying to convince their employees that they shouldn't organize because doing so would make things worse. We often follow a passion that leads to voting against our own best interests. Happens all the time.
Steve Skinner will never run for office. Reach him at email@example.com.