Durango voters chose Kim Baxter and Barbara Noseworthy to join City Council, filling seats being vacated by two term-limited councilors who have spent eight years on the board.
Baxter, a 62-year-old retired consultant and small-business owner, led the candidates with 2,987 votes, and Noseworthy, a 60-year-old strategic planning consultant, came in a close second with 2,724 votes. Marcos Wisner, a 31-year-old small-business owner, and Jaime McMillan, a 51-year-old financial adviser, received 1,585 and 725 votes, respectively.
Baxter and Noseworthy will join Melissa Youssef, Dean Brookie and Chris Bettin on City Council, changing the makeup of the board to three women and two men. Sweetie Marbury and Dick White were required to leave after serving eight years each on the council.
The City Clerk’s Office counted 4,432 ballots, or about 37 percent of the approximately 12,000 ballots that were sent to residents. Only residents living in city limits were eligible to vote.
Baxter ran a campaign focused on making Durango an affordable place to live. Throughout her campaign, she talked about how she appreciates Durango as a multi-generational community and how to keep it that way. Investing in new infrastructure around the city will encourage businesses to come to the city, which brings jobs to the community. More jobs equals more income, more income equals more spending and more spending means more sales-tax revenue for the city.
Baxter said after the results were posted Tuesday night that in all of her conversations with community members, two subjects came up: a desire to keep Durango a multi-generational community and a call for the City Council to set “good priorities.”
“I’m going to take a deep breath, and then I’m going to work on the things I talked about in my campaign platform,” Baxter said. “I want to say thank you to everyone who supported me and gave me the fortitude to carry on.”
Noseworthy suggested in her campaign that establishing public-private partnerships is the best way to make the city more sustainable. The city should not subsidize businesses with tax breaks; rather, it should work with them to make it easier to start a business, Noseworthy said. That could mean, for example, installing broadband or city sewer and water connections in places where it doesn’t already exist with the understanding that a business will use those amenities.
Noseworthy said after the results were announced she was thrilled to have been elected to City Council and is ready to get to work. She took nothing for granted and wanted to express appreciation and gratitude to her fellow candidates; running for City Council is no easy task, she said.
“I tried to run the best campaign I could, which I thought was a ground game of knocking on doors and meeting with people,” Noseworthy said. “I appreciate so very much the people I met with one-on-one, and the people I met with when I knocked on doors. They shared their concern, their vision for Durango, and I’ll do my best to be a transparent, accountable and forward-thinking councilor.”
McMillan’s campaign focused on increasing opportunities for marijuana enthusiasts and professionals through home rule exemptions that would allow businesses like cannabis lounges and THC/CBD extraction facilities. The marijuana industry is a booming industry worldwide, and Durango should capitalize on the economic explosion to generate more money for the city, McMillan said on the campaign trail.
McMillan said after the election results were posted that he’s disappointed he didn’t win, but “I’ve always felt that good candidates win elections.” He appreciates all the candidates and feels that Baxter and Noseworthy “deserve those seats,” he said.
“We did what we could with what our budget was and with our volunteers. They just had a stronger message and a bit more name recognition,” McMillan said. “I’m very proud of what we did, and I’m happy to be one of the people on the ballot.”
Wisner campaigned to encourage young people to participate in local politics and to make it easier for locals to start small businesses in the city. His age may have helped with the young vote, and his familiarity with land-use development codes in running his own business gave him perspective on what could be done better. Wisner suggested making major amendments, or even replacing the city’s land-use development code to make it cheaper and easier for businesses to start.
Wisner said he’s upset about not getting elected; he thought he had good ideas that would make the town prosper. But he is happy about one thing, he said: ballot measure 1A passed.
“I’m not totally burnt,” Wisner said.