District 3 race heats up with Williams’ entry

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With the now-official entry of incumbent at-large councilwoman Brandy Williams into the contest for Council District 3, the race now becomes much more interesting.

Williams joins former El Paso County Commissioner Jim Bensberg and former waterbed magnate/ State Representative/State Senator/D-12 school board member Keith King in the quest for a seat on the Council dais. Here’s a text of Williams’ announcement.

“Councilwoman Brandy Williams announces that she is a candidate for Colorado Springs City Council in District 3. Brandy is a 4th generation Colorado Springs native, a Rampart High School graduate and a licensed professional engineer.

Brandy is currently serving the city of Colorado Springs as an At-Large Representative on the Colorado Springs City Council. Ms. Williams is the youngest woman ever elected to the Colorado Springs City Council. As a member of the Memorial Health System Task Force, Brandy participated in the successful transition of Memorial Hospital to University of Colorado Health, a measure that was met with 80% voter approval. As a member of the Board of Directors for the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments she was instrumental in allocating funding for the widening of I-25 from the North Academy exit to the El Paso County/Douglas County border. Shortly after the citizens of Colorado Springs put Brandy in office, she worked with Colorado Springs Utilities to create one of the nation’s original public/private Solar Garden Programs. As a Councilmember and a Board member of the Fountain Creek Flood Control and Greenway District, Ms. Williams assisted with the procurement of a Great Outdoors Colorado Grant for America the Beautiful Park to construct an environmental playground.

Currently Ms. Williams sits on the Board of Directors for Colorado Springs Utilities, the Fountain Creek Flood Control and Greenway District, and was recently elected as the First Vice Chair of the Pike Peak Area Council of Governments.

I will soon conclude a very busy and very rewarding two years of service to the people of Colorado Springs. I am not a career politician moving between positions, attempting to remain relevant in political circles. I ran because I saw a need for common sense leadership in our City, and I am running again because this need remains. I look forward to continued service, and relish the opportunity to be your advocate. I will continue to focus on public safety, a robust economy, a vibrant downtown, maintaining our unique open space and community parks and being a voice for common sense.”

Running against two respected elder statesman of the local Republican party, Williams boldly fired off the first salvo of the campaign season. “I am not a career politician moving between positions, attempting to remain relevant…Ms. Williams is the youngest woman ever elected to the Colorado Springs City Council.”

Clearly, Williams is positioning herself as the young, female, energetic, and superbly qualified candidate – the future vs. the past. It’s a good theme, especially if Bensberg and King split the geezer traditionalist vote. But if either of them gains real traction, or if either withdraws from the race, she’ll have a much more difficult challenge. Her job: keep them both going full speed ahead, and she might win with a plurality.

Bensberg hasn’t been sitting still. He has a well-designed website (http://www.bensbergforcouncil.com/) up, and, alone among announced candidates, he’s already qualified for the ballot. I can’t imagine that he’ll drop out, given his deep roots in the district and his long experience in local government. As a notably athletic dirt bike rider (check out the pic on his website) it’ll be hard for Williams to pin the geezer tag on him.

Keith King’s candidacy may be more tenuous. He’s running on a platform of reducing Council’s workload by creating committees and subcommittees, and generally disempowering the city’s legislative body. The power thus surrendered would inevitably flow to the Mayor, which means that District 3 voters may see King as the Mayor’s man. Nothing wrong with supporting hizzoner, but no politician wants to be seen as the willing handmaiden of another. And if you’re an older guy running for Council, you might not want to base your campaign on reducing Council’s workload.

So let’s see how Bensberg & King respond to Williams’ sly digs. Gentlemen, what have you got to say? Game on!

 

3 Responses to District 3 race heats up with Williams’ entry

  1. With three technically challenging matters facing the city: stormwater, decommissioning Drake, and oil/gas regs – - having a quiet, calm, rational, level-headed engineer on council seems to offer a distinct benefit for the public.

    While being an accomplished dirt-bike rider is certainly a skill to be envied, having a serious education behind you seems as if would place the competitive edge with Ms. Williams. Being ineligible for The El Paso Club ; that’s also plus.

    Rick Wehner
    January 14, 2013 at 7:06 pm

  2. The cadre of professional politicians from the past, as represented by Mr. Bensberg and Mr. King have created a situation where the Governor would state that: “Colorado Springs is not getting it’s fair share of young people.” Can we afford to keep those in office who stifle progressive policy that would entice young talented people to the region and keep the ones we have? Or, would it be better to keep Ms. Williams in office as she is ‘in touch’ with the young professionals who will generate our future?

    Are ‘Young Professionals’ fleeing Colorado Springs? We would be interested in your thoughts in our on-line poll on this subject.

    http://obsurvey.com/S2.aspx?id=02EBB433-28A5-48F8-9AC1-1FDC90C518D8

    Staci Lynne Holdt
    January 15, 2013 at 5:50 am

  3. Staci:

    I can tell you that today’s announcement of Frontier leaving pretty much means we’re gone. I have to have an airport with some flights. There’s just no reason to live here that I can see.

    Why should any one career minded come to a small, military city with a bad reputation for tolerance? To be even more blunt; what possible career could you build in Colorado Springs? I can only think of two- a Pastor or a General.

    The climate for attracting young people is all but over here. You didn’t make the right choices and we live in an era when that really matters. Of course i could be wrong, but I’m not willing to suffer in a busted town for a decade to find out. There are too many nice, growing places to live. People with options leave as the south side of this town shows.

    Not Sure That We'll Stay
    January 15, 2013 at 3:54 pm