Feb 252009
 
Authors: Matt Minich

When Councilman Diggs Brown, who is currently serving military duty overseas, announced that he would not be running for re-election this April, two new candidates emerged in the competition to represent District 3 in Fort Collins City Council.

Aislinn Kottwitz and Dale Lockwood are both running in District 3, which is located in southeast Fort Collins, east of Lemay Avenue and south of Harmony Road.

Eric Kronwall, Kottwitz’s campaign treasurer, described her as an “action-oriented” candidate who would work hard to ensure that her campaign promises would be met.

Kottwitz, who works as a registered nurse at Poudre Valley Hospital, plans to make job creation, retention and attraction a priority for the city of Fort Collins, which has so far only hired two people to supervise economic development. Fort Collins needs to “roll out the welcome mat” to businesses, Kronwall said.

Kottwitz’s priorities will include maintaining Fort Collins’s low utility rates, which are a major attraction to businesses, Kronwall said.

Projects such as the refrigerator rebate, which allows Fort Collins residents to apply for a $35 rebate on their energy bill if they purchase a newer, more energy-efficient refrigerator or freezer, will ultimately raise utility rates and drive businesses away, as money from the rebates comes out of the utility company’s budget, Kronwall said.

Businesses are attracted to low utility rates, Kronwall said, and Kottwitz supports anything that keeps those rates stable.

He said that Kottwitz’s experience as a patient advocate would be useful in her work as an advocate for those living in her district.

“She touches every part of the community,” Cromwell said.

In an e-mail, Brown said he strongly supports Kottwitz to replace him in the seat.

“(Kottwitz) and I share the same vision for Fort Collins,” he said. Brown cited job creation, economic opportunity and fiscal responsibility as issues that he and Kottwitz agree on.

Lockwood, who is a postdoctoral fellow and mathematics instructor at CSU, is also running for the position.

He has been the chair of the Larimer County Environmental Advisory Board since 2005, and coaches for a boy’s youth soccer team, as well as the Lincoln Elementary Battle of the Books team.

“I want people to know that I’m going to work hard for the community,” Lockwood said.

Lockwood says he plans to focus on job attraction and retention by working with CSU students and the city of Fort Collins to create an environment that nurtures the spirit of innovation and sustainability, attracting “green” jobs to Fort Collins.

“The economy is on everyone’s mind right now,” he said. “We need to make sure that we are using our money wisely.”

Maintaining services such as street maintenance and the protection of trails and open spaces in a difficult economy are priorities of his campaign, Lockwood said.

Regional transportation is also a focus, said Lockwood, who wants to investigate alternative options for transit between communities in northern Colorado.

Lockwood said he agrees with a proposal by the Northern I-25 Environmental Statement to create improvements to I-25, which would implement new lanes and improvements on certain troublesome intersections to keep traffic moving on the interstate as efficiently as possible.

Lockwood said people are losing hours of their day, as well as polluting the air when trapped in congested traffic.

Lockwood said that he also supports a plan to begin work on a rail system that would go from Fort Collins, through Loveland to Longmont, where it could connect with the FasTrack — a proposed rail system that would serve Longmont and the greater Denver Metro area.

As the largest employer in Ft. Collins, CSU is a major player in local politics, Lockwood said, and the student population needs to take an active role in politics, he said.

John Straayer, a political science professor at CSU, said city council elections could affect students in a major way and said students should become informed and involved.

Councilmember decisions on issues such as the three unrelated housing ordinance, noise policies and the style and level of law enforcement — such as whether police prefer to issue warnings or citations for noise violations or speeding tickets — are areas that will affect students, Straayer said.

While he advised students to educate themselves about the candidates, he also said that it was a candidate’s responsibility to reach out to potential voters.

“Come to campus, be visible,” Straayer said in advice to the candidates.

City council elections beat writer Matt Minich can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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