It took just two weeks for Kim Baxter to get involved. The year was 2009, and the now 62-year-old had retired from a career in the hotel industry, consulting and small-business ownership.
First, came the Natural Lands Preservation Board, which she joined in part because she mountain biked and wanted to ensure there were good places to ride. Then, the Multi-Modal Advisory Board, where she worked to help implement a city initiative to make it easier for anyone in any mode of transportation to get around. Next, was the Durango Planning Commission, where she serves as chairwoman.
“(The Planning Commission) let me learn more about why the city grows and how it grows and what are the parameters around development,” Baxter said.
Now, she has set her sights even higher as she has announced her candidacy for Durango City Council this spring, something she described as a “natural transition.”
“It was destined for me to run for City Council,” she said.
Baxter said she decided in June 2018 that she would run for City Council. She had been learning a lot about how the city operates and was frustrated with how things were being run. It is hard for residents to understand city finances, she said, and although progress is being made, it is not being measured.
“It is important to me to be involved in and informed about our city processes and policies,” Baxter said in a news release announcing her candidacy. “Since I decided to run for City Council, I have spent as much time as possible attending a variety of city meetings and studying city reports to be as proficient as I can where our local issues are concerned.”
Good working relationships with city councilors and clear and logical explanations of ideas are critical to the collaboration required by being part of a five-member board, Baxter said. She has got the former, and she has been working on the latter for the decade she has been on city boards, she said.
What’s most important to her about the community is the generational diversity Durango has. A mix of college students, young families, middle-aged people and retirees gives the community a diversity of interests, making Durango a vibrant place to live, she said.
“I’m not going to be satisfied with mediocre,” Baxter said. “I want us to do really good things.”