It’s now about the 10th week of the Boulder city council campaign season. I could have never predicted how these 10 weeks have been. It’s typically a challenge to know how you are perceived by others, but put yourself up for office, and lots of people will let you know!
I’ve been surprised to be characterized as a business candidate. I’m surprised that people incorrectly repeat that I’m married to a real estate developer (I’m not). For someone who had only worked for non-profits and the government before a few years ago, it’s odd. I’m surprised, but I’m not offended or discouraged.
I decided to run for city council because I don’t think city council accurately reflects the larger demographic of Boulder. I don’t think they pay enough attention to the fact that fewer and fewer working and growing families live in Boulder, and what that means for our community: neighborhood schools close, US-36 becomes a parking lot, and our economy suffers. I also don’t like the approach that the current city council has taken on many issues. The saying, “if your only tool is a hammer, you tend to see everything as a nail”, comes to mind. I also think that we have got to recognize that the solution to many of our environmental problems will come from working with business.
I have a law degree from Lewis and Clark Law School (Portland, Oregon) and practiced as an environmental lawyer for about 7 years. I volunteered extensively with the Sierra Club. After many years of working on public land issues, I became really intrigued with the built environment, and have a strong interest in making sure new developments are built in a green way: from where they are located to how they are designed and what materials they use. I noticed that so many of environmental problems (and solutions) are tied to how we build cities so I went back to school to learn about real estate in 2004. I worked for a few green, in-fill developers. One was SolarVillage and the other was Forest City Stapleton. I stopped working in early 2008 after having my son.
I strongly believe that as we search for answers to our environmental problems, we will be looking to businesses to either change their behavior or innovate and create new solutions. Whether it is willingness to upgrade old buildings to be more energy-efficient or to design the next best fuel cell, we will be relying on business for answers. I think it’s important that we have city council members who recognize this and don’t alienate our business community. That’s where we are now, and we’ve got to change that.
I think my values and priorities are more in line with a young, entrepreneurial, environmental conscious Boulder than most. I hope that on November 3rd I can celebrate with some of you who want a more inclusive and more collaborative voice on City Council.