The Aspen Democracy Initiative (ADI) which was formed last year seeks to empower younger citizens to effect positive change in the community through engagement in civic issues and the political process.
Click 4 pix: ADI PUB CRAWL
The first ever ADI Political Pub Crawl made four stops at local watering holes in Aspen to discuss 4 important topics. The ADI is attempting to give younger voters (age 20-40) a more meaningful powerful voice in the future of Aspen. If you saw more than 50 people following Vanilla Ice in a business suit and carrying a portable amplifier, strolling the streets... don't worry, that was simply the ADI Political Pub Crawl.
The pub crawl provided a low key and social setting to discuss issues that effect Aspen's younger professionals. First stop, The J-Bar where crawlers drank the famous Aspen Crud and heard about "Water in our Future" in a discussion led by Christopher Treese of the Colorado River District. Justice Snow's hosted stop 2 where the discussion was about "Sustainable & Responsible Development" led by Aspen Ski Co's VP of Marketing , Christian Knapp. At The Red Onion, Knapp moderated an open forum about "Economic Vitality in Aspen". By the fourth stop at The Sky Hotel many were actually crawling (just kidding) to hear Tom McCabe discuss Aspen's Affordable Housing Program.
Jill Teehan, Riley Tippet and Skippy Mesirow of the Aspen Democracy Initiative deserve kudos for creating a fun and relevant way to instigate an open discussion. Almost all the candidates for Aspen's May 7th election for Mayor and City Council were in attendance and listened to the concerns of the younger voters. ADI will provide an additional venue for the candidates during the ADI Election Forum on April 9 at 7.30 PM at the St. Regis.
Aspen is a funny place. Not ha ha funny...but unusual funny. There are layers upon subtle layers within the social, professional and political hierarchy here in Aspen. It takes considerable time to understand how things work around here. A person's length of time in town can often over shadow his or her actual credibility. Many residents want things to go back to the 70's, others want zero change no matter what the issue and some want to see progress...they just can't seem to agree how to get it done. There is a huge transitory population in Aspen and there is a natural clash between the full-time locals and the tourists (and 2nd homeowners). It's a funny place, and it's a resort town...first and foremost.
Aspen has about 6000 residents, only about 50% whom vote, but we do get to hear 100,000 opinions. Last night's ADI pub crawl was a great first step in giving a voice to the younger generation. All kinds of stuff got thrown out on the table...in front of the politicians to hear. It was great to listen to some of the fresh voices in town speaking up. I'm not sure who I'm voting for yet...but I think we are at an inflection point in Aspen politics. People in Aspen seem tired and frustrated by the same old political scene. It's time for some new voices...and ADI is doing their part to engage the community. It was a fun and meaningful night
Please don't forget to vote early and often on May 7.
Click 4 pix: ADI PUB CRAWL