COLORADO SPRINGS – Ballots are out for the Tuesday, April 2nd election to select a Mayor and three At-large City Council members to represent Colorado Springs for the next 4 years.
News5’s Jessica Barreto invited all four candidates for mayor to sit down and discuss why they are seeking office. Incumbent Mayor John Suthers and challenger Juliette Parker accepted the invitation.
Mayor John Suthers:
John Suthers grew up in Colorado Springs. As he left the Attorney General’s office in 2015 he decided to run for Mayor of Colorado Springs in order to bring order to what he saw as chaos between the mayor and city council at the time.
Suthers touts the efforts to repave 700 miles of roads (and another 200 yet to come), improved the stormwater system and created 28,000 jobs since he took office four years ago. “The issues that I said we would tackle, we’ve tackled. Yes, we have challenges. We have to deal with homelessness, affordable housing.. I want to bring home all the projects that are underway,” says Suthers.
Looking towards a possible second term, he wants to wrap up work on the Olympic museum, further addressing infrastructure issues and the development of new businesses around the airport. Suthers says having the right workforce, affordability in the cost of living and taxes is important to growing the jobs base in Colorado Springs, something he’s worked to address since taking office.
Mayor Suthers is not in favor of ballot issue #1 which asks the voters to approve or decline allowing collective bargaining by members of the Colorado Springs Fire Department. “It is a slippery slope. You can’t in fairness then deny it to police officers, utility linemen, city foresters,” says Suthers.
He’s concerned about the impact of the chronically homeless, specifically, people who suffer from mental illness or drug and alcohol addiction, have upon city facilities, parks, and services. Suthers says he and the city council owes it to the people to aggressively enforce existing ordinances to address the problem.
On the issue of affordable housing, Suthers wants to continue working with developers to ensure they are taking advantage of tax breaks in order to create more affordable housing, along with working alongside non-profits to find other solutions.
Suthers says he has confidence in city utilities to find new sources of energy to replace the loss of power distribution from the anticipated closure of the Martin Drake Power Plant in the coming decade.
As for allowing the sale of retail marijuana in the city, he still supports the decision not to allow these sales and believes the voters are also against the idea. “I think our citizens are fed up with the home grow problems, the black market, and I think they’ve turned against recreational marijuana.”
Mayoral candidate Juliette Parker:
Juliette Parker grew up in a military family that moved back and forth between Colorado Springs and other military towns as her father’s assignments changed, but she always knew she would return here as an adult. Parker says she’s started and operated multiple businesses in the city.
Her vision for the city is to make it a “happy and safe place” for everyone. She’s concerned about the level of affordability of real estate, goods and services in a city where she says many people must work 2 or 3 jobs to make ends meet.
As for attracting more companies and growing the economy of Colorado Springs, “We don’t have the infrastructure, we don’t have the internet and technology services that big companies are looking for. So one of the things I really want to do is put broadband across the city, I want to make us have fiber optics everywhere, I want to give us a smart-grid city,” says Parker.
Parker says she supports having the voters making the decision on ballot issue #1 which asks the voters to approve or decline allowing collective bargaining by members of the Colorado Springs Fire Department. She did not state her stance on the issue.
She would prefer the voters of Colorado Springs to have more of a say in what happens in the city. “This is not the mayor’s city,” she told News5’s Jessica Barreto. She’d also like to see more involvement with non-profits to provide stability and services to the homeless in order to improve their living situation and the city. Parker would like the city to work on reducing fees to home builders in exchange for more affordable housing options.
She’s a big supporter of seeking renewable energy options for utility customers, alongside responsibly shutting down the Martin Drake Power Plant at the earliest possibility, without hurting residents with high utility costs.
On the subject of retail recreational marijuana, Parker is in favor of having the voters of Colorado Springs vote on whether to allow these sales.
Candidate John Pitchford was scheduled to visit on March 13th, but had to cancel due to the blizzard. He canceled a follow-up interview time on March 20th. We’re awaiting further word on his next availability.
Candidate Lawrence Martinez has not responded to News5 with a time he’s available for an interview. We’ll keep you updated.
KOAA-TV, The Gazette and the El Pomar Foundation hosted a candidate forum in early March to hear from all 11 candidates for the three At-Large seats. Click here to watch the event and learn more about the candidates.
The following is a list of candidates as they appear on the ballot for the April 2nd election. Municipal elections are non-partisan.
- Lawrence Martinez – contact information – Campaign Finance
- John Suthers – contact information – Campaign Finance
- John Pitchford – contact information – Campaign Finance
- Juliette Parker – contact information – Campaign Finance
At-Large City Council (3 seats on council):
- Gordon Klingenschmitt – contact information – Campaign Finance
- Bill Murray – contact information – Campaign Finance
- Val Snider – contact information – Campaign Finance
- Wayne Williams – contact information – Campaign Finance
- Tony Gioia – contact information – Campaign Finance
- Terry Martinez – contact information – Campaign Finance
- Regina English – contact information – Campaign Finance
- Tom Strand – contact information – Campaign Finance
- Randy Tuck – contact information – Campaign Finance
- Athena Roe – contact information – Campaign Finance
- Dennis Spike – contact information – Campaign Finance
- John Pitchford – *withdrew from the race*
As with all elections in Colorado, ballots will be mailed to every eligible active voter within city limits. The latest estimate shows 300,000 such voters in Colorado Springs.
The first ballots will be mailed out to military and overseas voters by February 19th. The remainder of the ballots will begin to go out from the City Clerk’s Office on March 8th and no later than March 18th.
Ballot counting will begin on March 18th and continue to election day April 2nd, and to the deadline to receive military and overseas ballots on April 10th.
Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights notices about the collective bargaining issue will be mailed out by March 1st.
Ballot Drop-Off Locations and Hours of Operation:
|LOCATION||ADDRESS||HOURS OF OPERATIONS (Monday – Friday)||ELECTION DAY HOURS|
|(Main location) City Clerk’s Office||30 South Nevada Ave., Suite 101||8:00 AM – 5:00 PM & 24/7 Ballot Box||7:00 AM – 7:00 PM|
|Colorado Springs Senior Center||1514 North Hancock Ave.||8:00 AM – 5:00 PM||7:00 AM – 7:00 PM|
|YMCA Southeast Family Armed Services Center||2190 Jet Wing Dr.||8:00 AM – 5:00 PM||7:00 AM – 7:00 PM|
|PPLD-East Library||5550 North Union Blvd.||24/7 Ballot Box||7:00 AM – 7:00 PM|
|PPLD-Library 21c||1175 Chapel Hills Dr.||24/7 Ballot Box||7:00 AM – 7:00 PM|
|Black Forest Park-n-Ride||7503 Black Forest Rd.||24/7 Ballot Box||7:00 AM – 7:00 PM|
|El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Locations||Citizens Service Center, 1675 West Garden of the Gods Rd.||24/7 Ballot Box||7:00 AM – 7:00 PM|
|Downtown-Centennial Hall, 200 South Cascade Ave.||24/7 Ballot Box||7:00 AM – 7:00 PM|
|Southeast-Powers Branch, 5650 Industrial Pl., Suite 100||24/7 Ballot Box||7:00 AM – 7:00 PM|
|8830 North-Union Town Center Branch, 8830 North Union Blvd.||24/7 Ballot Box||7:00 AM – 7:00 PM|
|Fort Carson Branch, 6351 Wetzel Ave., Bldg. 1525||8:00 AM – 4:30 PM||7:00 AM – 7:00 PM|