There are plenty of takeaways from Tuesday’s election, but here’s the most hopeful, encouraging and reassuring one — and no, it’s not entirely about Mayor John Suthers’ wise leadership. The Mayor can persuade, cajole, campaign and plead — but like the rest of us, he only has one vote.
As far as I know, not a single reasonably objective observer predicted that both the stormwater fee and the D-11 tax increase would pass by comfortable margins, despite the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent by supporters of the two measures. And no, Colorado Springs voters haven’t suddenly become dull-witted tax and spend liberals.
We’re still the city that voted overwhelmingly for Trump, a bright red spot in a mostly blue state. We’re used to noisy, money-driven campaigns, and we know how to ignore them. So what happened?
Consider who ran the campaigns. They weren’t controlled or staffed by shadowy political professionals, but by dynamic young leaders deeply rooted in the community. Rachel Beck ran the Stormwater effort, while D-11 proponents included Lauren Hug, Julie Ott, Mary Coleman and Shawn Gullixson. They, and dozens of their peers, marshaled hundreds of volunteers to walk neighborhoods, make calls and put faces and names on the campaigns. They created a sense of urgency, of community, of shared purpose.
At the Business Journal, we’ve been tracking and celebrating the young professional community for a decade, sponsoring events such as Rising Stars and today’s Women of Influence. As the city grows and the economy strengthens, the changing of the guard accelerates. Leaders in their 20s, 30s and early 40s aren’t just knocking on the door — they’ve burst through the gates and are busy fixing up our rickety old city.
Good on ‘em! We need that energy and optimism, that adventurous spirit that will drive Colorado Springs to be, as Mayor Suthers has put it, a city worthy of its scenery.