Q&A

Why are you running?

I came to Ketchum to escape a hectic corporate life and soon connected with the community through my involvement in the birth of the Ketchum Community Development Corporation (KCDC). As President of the KCDC, it didn’t take long for me to realize that our community was full of talented, interesting and generous people. The connection I made with the community made it easy for me to feel at home here.  Working on various projects, I saw the benefit of partnerships in the community where everyone involved is heard. My connection with our community made me feel welcome here. I want everyone to feel that kind of welcome when they walk into City Hall.

I see City Hall’s role as being a partner with our community and not the gatekeeper. It is about putting a “Welcome Mat” outside City Hall, and not a mat that trips people up. It’s about City Hall listening to and involving citizens in the solutions to our challenges.

I’m running to bring this kind of community inspired leadership to City Hall—so we can take action on the important issues that affect us all: building new facilities for city staff, police, and fire services at a fraction of the previously proposed cost, creating more middle-income housing to help grow a vibrant community of local residents, keeping the community safe with high quality emergency services, and shortening our shoulder or “slack” seasons to sustain our small businesses throughout the year.

What qualifications would you bring to the Mayor’s office?

Entrepreneurship is part of who I am. I was part of a team that started the outdoor water bottle brand Avex. We started with grassroots outdoor events–our first event was the Boulder Mountain Tour in 2012! We built the product and brand until it was in 3,500 stores around the nation, including REI.

Ever since moving to Ketchum, I have been involved in many community projects. Since its inception in 2008, I have been the President of the Ketchum Community Development Corporation (KCDC), a volunteer-led non-profit dedicated to growing the vibrancy of our community. As President, I have overseen successful community projects such the creation of the Town Square, the development of the 4th Street Heritage Corridor, the building of Northwood Place Affordable Housing complex (32 units) and the formation of the Ketchum Innovation Center (KIC).

My professional background equips me with management, financial and planning skills. As an Advisor and Principal for Murphy Business and Financial of Southern Idaho, I help Main Street businesses (many in our local community) plan their exit strategies. I have more than 25 years of business experience from project finance, equity analysis, business development and brand marketing. Launching Avex in Ketchum helps me understand the challenges and opportunities local entrepreneurs face and I would like the city to actively support entrepreneurship.  I managed the business development and international sales for the company until its successful sale in 2016.

 

What does “Community Inspired Leadership” mean?

We need to open the doors of City Hall to all, and ask our citizens for their ideas and input on the solutions to our challenges. We have so many talented people with a great depth of expertise in our community.  Many of our local challenges can be overcome by engaging citizens and encouraging them to be involved in the solution.

City Hall can ask “what can we do to help?” rather than finding reasons why things can’t be done. If elected, I will empower staff to find the best solutions for their tasks by asking “what do you need to make you more effective?” or “what is your solution for this problem?” The process will be the same for the community. I will ask “what would you like to see in our community and what can you offer in a way of a solution?” before hiring an expensive consultant.

What is your position on building a new City Hall and new facilities for emergency services?

I know of a few really creative ideas as to how to give our city a state-of-art emergency services facility at a fraction of the cost of the current proposal. There are options where no bond issue will be necessary. City hall does not need to be a monument – it just needs to be a functioning office.

We know we need new facilities for our emergency services –and we can save millions over the $26 million plan set out by the current administration. We can get a state-of-the art emergency services facility and office space for city officials for approximately $6 million.

We can consider a plan to:

  • Build emergency services buildings on city land in the light industrial area.
  • Modest city administration buildings on city land in the downtown core
  • Sell the existing city hall to offset costs of above projects

Do you think housing for workers and middle income members of the community is important?

Lack of middle-income rental housing is one of the biggest issues for Ketchum. I have heard stories of young people moving here for a job and then leaving shortly thereafter because of lack of housing options. I have heard of long lines of hopeful renters waiting outside a new apartment that comes up for rent. Many are turned away and our community is worse off because of it.

Together, as a community we must  take action on this before it gets worse.  Under my leadership, the KCDC used tax-credit funding to build 32 units of rental housing at Northwood Place. In the end, the project netted the city almost $1 million and we have a great place for young people and families to live right in town. If elected, I will build on this experience and work to create a real plan for new housing opportunities.

When the volunteers ask for city support to repeat the process the current administration said “no…we’ll handle housing in future” but, for 3 ½ years the city has taken no action. The current proposal to mix a parking facility and worker housing in one project is too little, too late. We need more housing options, some like Northwood Place, and some market rate small homes, if we are to remain a vibrant community. We need a plan for housing! If we encourage a cross section of housing options we will encourage a cross section of people to live here and that will enhance the fabric of our society.

How are you different from the current Mayor?

Your feedback, your participation and your expertise are most important to me when tackling tough issues. We need to connect with the community to figure out solutions that work for all of us. If elected, I will work hard to involve citizens in determining our future together.

I believe our current Mayor closed approach fails to capture the expertise and talent of the people in our city. Good public policy starts with listening to the community – not by spending money on studies that gather dust. Northwood Place and the KIC are successful examples of this approach to problem-solving. I want to replicate this approach on additional housing for the community and improving our year-round economy.

How do you plan to help local businesses thrive in Ketchum?

As a city, we need to be actively involved in encouraging and supporting new events that will bring visitors of all ages here in every season of the year. We need to focus on more diversity in what the city can offer to ensure the city remains an attractive place for people of all ages and backgrounds to visit.

More events and visitors will help local businesses prosper throughout the year. Some of these new events may come from partnerships with event planners outside the community, but the city should especially  welcome community-led initiatives for new local events. If we do, the community will thrive!

Getting to work on housing will help us keep and attract new professionals, entrepreneurs and young people who want to explore our community for a while—or stay! We need a mix of housing stock and we must craft solutions with extensive community involvement; housing as an afterthought on top of a parking facility is far from adequate.

What is your position on the City of Ketchum’s contract for emergency dispatch services?

We need strong and open communication with our local partners, which creates the foundation for quality emergency services. If elected, I will work to restore good communications between the City of Ketchum and the Blaine County Emergency Communications Center, so that the partnership can continue working for our ambulance, fire and police services, and we all stay safe.