Tuesday, November 6, 2001
Steamboat Springs City Council President Pro Tem Kathy Connell did not take her 180-vote victory as a mandate to keep the city on the same track Tuesday night.
Quite the contrary.
"The result of this campaign has shown to us that our community really is divided," she said.
"If we're going to define our future, if we want to save out future, we really need to come together.
"This race showed us that we need to do this"
Watching the community fracture along "chamber, non-chamber" lines this election season was an instructive exercise, Connell said. It was also disturbing.
Candidates have primarily focused on nuts and bolts issues this election season, but have often been drawn to the issue of the "chamber-based" division when explaining how they differ from their opponents.
Connell, who won reelection in District III, was adamant about her desire to change the way the city does business.
Her experience at coalition-building, she surmised, will have to be put to good use in her next four-year term.
Connell spent much of the night during her City Council meeting exhibiting her nervousness about the election, checking her cell phone to note early results and watching for friends who would surreptitiously signal results across council chambers.
Darcy Trask, her opponent in the race, embraced Connell afterwards, but promised to make sure the potential new City Council president sticks to her promises as the city moves ahead.
"There's a tremendously important message here and that is if a person can run against an incumbent and be this close it says that there are a lot of people who care about this community and don't like business as usual," Trask said.
Connell, who has served on the council for four years, feels she is in the midst of her public service career and has plans for the city she thinks will be groundbreaking.