The 2021 Crested Butte News Candidates Forum was held Sunday, October, 17th and the Crested Butte Center for the Arts.

Two candidates, Ian Billick and Kent Cowherd are running for Mayor. Six candidates, Jasmine Whelan, Chris Haver, Shaun Horne, Beth Goldstone, Jason Macmillan, and Anna Claire Fenerty are running for four open seats on the Town Council.

The event was moderated by Dennis Hall and Chad Reich. Ballots are due by November 2nd.

Photo: From L to R: Mayoral Candidates Ian Billick and Kent Cowherd; Town Council Candidates Jasmine Whelan, Chris Haver, Shaun Horne, Beth Goldstone, Jason Macmillan, and Anna Claire Fenerty. Christopher Biddle/KBUT.

Listen to the full Candidates Forum.

You can also download the entire file through Soundcloud.

Or listen to these selections.

We cut up the Forum into these eight sections, all about 10-15 minutes long, presented chronologically below.

The Crested Butte Fire Protection District and Crested Butte Search and Rescue want to borrow up to 25 million dollars for a new combined station in the North End of the Gunnison Valley. They rallied for support of ballot measure 6a, which would impose a tax of about $1.5 million a year for the new facility. Some members of the audience felt like the 30,000 square foot project is too big.

We meet the candidates for Mayor and four open seats on the Town Council. Many of them had a strong focus on planning as it pertains to housing, tourism, the worker shortage, climate change, and overcrowding.

As the debate opens up, audience members jumped at the opportunity to hear about the candidates’ views on how to solve the housing crisis. Each candidate gave their opinion on ballot initiative 2C, which would impose a tax on homes left off the local long-term housing market.

Former County Commissioner Jim Starr asked the candidates to talk about growth, and the best way to preserve Crested Butte’s unique culture and setting. The candidates’ focus ranged from transit, sustainable building, housing, county-wide collaboration, and more.

Maintaining the focus on community planning, the candidates bear down on parking, and how to encourage more pedestrian traffic. One thing became quite clear – no one likes a one-way avenue in Crested Butte.

Diversity is the focus of this clip. Hear about each candidate’s platform on encouraging diversity, and how it fits into their overall agenda.

Short-term rentals are frequently blamed for housing shortages, and Crested Butte was a pioneer in taxing the industry to fund affordable housing. Ballot question 2D asks whether to increase that tax, and we get each candidate’s opinion. Plus, we talk about climate change, and how each candidate plans to help address it.

In this final segment, current Crested Butte Mayor Jim Schmidt poses a question to the two candidates to succeed him. Plus, we hear closing arguments from all the candidates.
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