March 23, 2009 (Aspen, CO) --
At the Zele coffee shop, across the street from City Hall, The Red Ant, a pesky 8-month-old solenopsis invicta, announced her candidacy for Mayor of Aspen, Colorado.
Known for her fiery style and demand for truth, accuracy, transparency and accountability in local government matters, The Red Ant anticipates an exciting campaign for a key leadership role in this unique mountain community.
Upon her announcement, The Red Ant paraphrased Steven Colbert in his recent bid for the Presidency, "I don't want to BE Mayor, I want to RUN FOR Mayor. There's a difference."
While there is little chance The Red Ant will be listed on the official ballot due to the insurmountable requirement that she be a "natural person," she responded, "If I have to prove it, so should Andrew and Mick," referring to her fellow candidates Andrew Kole and incumbent Mayor Mick Ireland.
The Ant will likely face the same qualification challenges Sal A Mander faced in the 1970's when he ran various political campaigns as the "Newtist" party candidate for Aspen's mayor, Pitkin County sheriff, and Colorado governor. Not easily discouraged, The Ant says that given our economic worries, returning to some traditional Aspen political wackiness and fun is good medicine, and in the best tradition of American political satire.
Asked why she is entering the race, given the difficulties of an insect qualifying for the post, The Red Ant stated, "The recent online Aspen Times poll, with 1361 responses, encouraged me. Seventy percent of the population indicated that they would vote for 'Anybody but Mick.'"
Noting the need for a more professional appearance of Aspen's chief ambassador, The Red Ant has been busy choosing wardrobe items for the campaign that were graciously donated by The Party, since she has no p-card. Her hairdresser, Jeff Novak at Lather Salon, has created a signature "up-do" look for her public appearances - a bouffANT.
The Red Ant described her platform as focused on bringing a more democratic and responsive government to Aspen. If elected, she would seek to work with Council to:
- Reduce excessive spending in City government, and avoid tax increases.
- Reduce City staff to match basic service needs, and develop a fiscally responsible budget.
- Help boost local economy through possible sales tax rebates, free parking for shoppers, and property tax credits for businesses.
- Develop a new, progressive strategic plan for Affordable Housing that is more worker-friendly, more financially sound, and more efficient than the present anachronistic and financially distressed system.
- Help develop and finance free market starter home opportunities for employees.
- Better utilize the current inventory of our 2800 affordable housing units through buy-down/trade-down incentive programs and increased compliance.
Development and Growth
- Address development by adopting a comprehensive Land Use Code, with broad citizen input, which will treat all applicants, neighbors, and investors in a predictable, equal, even-handed, and fair manner. (Stop the repetitive fights over every project.)
- Reduce the power of the Mayor's office to comply with Aspen's Charter which specifies a strong City Manager and limited mayoral authority.
- Decrease the dangerous concentration of power in City Council, and increase the democratic process by placing more importance on the work of volunteer boards.
- Elevate the work of Mayor and Council to focus on policy, strategy and fiscal responsibility. (Stop micromanaging!)
- Promote broader citizen engagement by respectful treatment of all members of the public. Honor and value diversity of opinion, and encourage robust civil discourse.
- Demand higher levels of accountability and fiscal responsibility from City executive staff.
- Adopt a code of conduct for City Council members requiring civil, fair, and even-handed treatment of all who come before them.
Aspen's municipal election (for Mayor and two open Council seats) is May 5, 2009.
For more information, please see www.TheRedAnt.com,The Red Ant's home.
Contributions for the promotion of this platform can be made to The Red Ant for Mayor, c/o EAM PO Box 4662, Aspen, Colorado, 81612. (Contributions are not tax-deductible, but will be used to further the causes of voter education, citizen engagement, good governance and civic discourse.)
Article From Aspen Times: (Ant for Mayor)
About.com picks up The Ant's Mayoral Race:
"Will a Red Ant Become a Dark Horse in Race for Mayor?"
NYTimes Website, About.com in it's Weird News section, reports on the Ant's Mayoral race.
"Little old Ant with High Hopes Runs for Mayor"