Steamboat Springs City Council members Cari Hermacinski and Loui Antonucci celebrate after learning Hermacinski beat her opponent Kevin Bennett in the Steamboat Springs City Council District 1 race.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Steamboat Springs City Council members Cari Hermacinski and Loui Antonucci celebrate after learning Hermacinski beat her opponent Kevin Bennett in the Steamboat Springs City Council District 1 race.

Hermacinski re-elected to City Council

Council president pro tem easily defeats Bennett


Election 2009

Visit for complete coverage of this year's races and issues.


Cari Hermacinski supporter Scott Berry watches as Hermacinski, middle, is congratulated by her friend Alie Alexander on Tuesday night after they found out Hermacinski beat her opponent Kevin Bennett in the Steamboat Springs City Council District 1 race. Supporters were celebrating at the Old Town Pub.


Kevin Bennett


Cari Hermacinski

— In what turned out to be the most lopsided race of the 2009 election, Cari Hermacinski defeated Kevin Bennett for a District 1 seat on the Steamboat Springs City Council. She won with 63.6 percent of the vote, 2,066 to 1,184.

"It's been such a pleasure for me to serve the community, and I am thrilled they want me to do it for four more years," Hermacinski said while celebrating Tuesday evening at Old Town Pub.

The most compelling race in this year's election pitted former City Council President Bennett against Hermacinski, who is well-positioned to be the next council president. Hermacinski has served as president pro tem for two years under City Council President Loui Antonucci, who is leaving the council.

Bennett and Hermacinski also are next-door neighbors in Old Town.

"Certainly, I want to thank the people who supported me and were concerned about the issues I raised," Bennett said. "I thought the conversation in Steamboat was carried forward in this election."

Bennett, 61, is a semi-retired businessman. He served on City Council from 1993 to 2001 and was president of the body from 1995 to 2001. In seeking a return to the council, Bennett described himself as the "loyal opposition" and was not shy about his dissatisfaction with City Council policies since the 2007 election about issues such as water capacity and infrastructure.

Bennett's council career was highlighted by various projects preserving open space, expanding parklands and building new city amenities such as Centennial Hall and Howelsen Ice Arena. Bennett said such accomplishments were the result of partnership and collaboration. Detractors have criticized the way projects were funded and described Bennett's political style as dictatorial.

Hermacinski, a 39-year-old attorney and business owner, was elected to the council's two-year, at-large seat in 2007. She left that seat to run against Bennett in the District 1 race. She campaigned on a platform stressing fiscal responsibility, open and transparent government, collaboration with Routt County government and the Yampa Valley Housing Authority and smart growth.

Hermacinski said the City Council has balanced its budget, embraced the Yampa Valley Housing Authority and the Routt County Regional Building Department and reduced the frequency with which it meets in executive, or secret, session since she was elected.

Critics view Hermacinski as a brash politician who too often sides with the development community in her decisions.

The biggest growth issue to face the city in decades, however, was mostly taken off the table in the District 1 race. Bennett campaigned heavily against the Steamboat 700 annexation, and Hermacinski's support waned in the face of cost estimates for the associated infrastructure projects. Even though she voted against it, the council approved the 487-acre, 2,000-home annexation in a 4-3 vote in October, but it is still subject to petitioners' efforts to bring the project to a citywide referendum vote.


diplodocus 7 years, 5 months ago

So the Pilot got to celebrate with Cari. So much for unbiased reporting. The newspaper's love affair with her borders on the unnatural. Kevin never had a chance.


ElevenFootPole 7 years, 5 months ago

Ahhh the tired old blame game. Kevin never had a chance because of Kevin, not because of the newspaper.


seeuski 7 years, 5 months ago

Don't worry diplo, the Obama czars are working on net neutrality laws which will eliminate free speech and free press, that is what you are talking about right, controlling the message and not reporting actual facts?


bigfatdog 7 years, 5 months ago

Hopefully the anti steamboat 700 folks got a very clear wake up! The residents of steamboat have voted, so please don't waste our tax dollars with a referendum election. Now with the annexation completed, the community needs to focus on a well designed master plan with sustainable growth that benefits the citizens of Routt county.


Barb Tuchlinsky 7 years, 5 months ago

Wait a minute, BFD. I didn't see anything on the ballot that said a vote for Cari is a vote for 700. There is more than one issue that the CC is involved with. Methinks you are jumping to conclusions.


Brian Smith 7 years, 5 months ago

I believe that the referendum election would be paid for by Steamboat 700, not our tax dollars if it does go to a vote.


baer 7 years, 5 months ago

i am not proud of how the steamboat pilot handled this election. as mentioned above, the love affair between cari and the pilot is unnatural and quite odd. i have never seen anything like it. i have lost respect for the paper and those who participated in their biased OPINIONS.


housepoor 7 years, 5 months ago

It does seem that pilot is making a much bigger deal of Care reelection than the others? Maybe we should see who spent the most of their campaign $$'s on advertising with the pilot.


housepoor 7 years, 5 months ago

So BFD what the was the message voters sent by electing Engelken?


Duke_bets 7 years, 5 months ago

Agreed diplo and baer. The most campaign dollars were well documented. The sticky notes on the front page of the paper for weeks were getting quite ridiculous.

As are most elections nowadays. Not surprised.


babette dickson 7 years, 5 months ago

Quand il me prend dans ses bras je ne sais pas pourquoi je vois la vie en rose, il me dit des mots d'amour, des mots de tous les jours....

Edith Piaf.


maggie 7 years, 5 months ago

Engelken barely won against a weak no-experience candidate, If I were him, I would take a real look at that. hopefully he will see that he needs to work with differing views- not attack. He needs to break himself free of Kevin's anger and attack mentality. We should wish him good luck as we need to wish good luck to all of council. Its ridiculous to think that the Pilot or any other news media made a difference in this election. Kevin's past and present actions caught up with him - only 36% of the vote ! that should tell you something!


boater1 7 years, 5 months ago

"So BFD what the was the message voters sent by electing Engelken?"

that not enough younger people voted to get the new guy in.


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