Meet Mrs. Mayor

Apr 052011
Authors: Erin Udell

Karen Weitkunat supporters broke out the champagne Tuesday night while celebrating her victory over fellow mayoral candidates Ross Cunniff and Eric Sutherland.

After wrapping up three months of campaigning with 45 percent of the votes, Weitkunat described herself as “elated” while standing among almost 60 supporters at the Fort Collins Senior Center.

“We worked hard, we worked fairly and we worked honestly,” Weitkunat said of her campaign. “I am so proud and I will do a good job being our mayor.”

Cunniff, who began campaigning in December, received 42 percent of the votes, and Sutherland received 12 percent.

“I had amazing support from my wife, kids and volunteers,” Cunniff said.

“I could not have asked for more from them, and now we’ll just have to see if Karen can remain true to what she promised the people of Fort Collins.”

Weitkunat’s platform includes plans to retain, expand and attract businesses to Fort Collins to help grow the city’s economic base while also working to restructure North and South College Avenue.

Her other goals include improving the effectiveness of transportation, maintaining the quality of parks and trails and strengthening the emerging clean energy cluster.

As a 35-year Fort Collins resident, Weitkunat said her first goal as mayor will be to establish a good working relationship with the City Council.

City Council candidate Sue Pawlak, who lost to incumbent Lisa Poppaw, spoke of Weitkunat’s experience as a small business owner in Fort Collins.

“I think she truly loves Fort Collins and will do what is best for it,” Pawlak said. “The fact that she’s been working with the ‘Save the Poudre’ people and has a small business — it shows that she has that joint perspective.”

Weitkunat is a current member of the Colorado State Housing Board, serves on the Larimer County Planning Commission and has served eight years in the past as a city councilmember for district two.

Current Mayor Doug Hutchinson, one of the three former mayors who endorsed Weitkunat, spoke of her experience and qualifications.

“I’ve observed Karen very closely for 10 years,” Hutchinson said. “I’ve always been impressed with her perspective and her balance. There is no doubt in my mind that Karen is the best candidate.”

Weitkunat’s campaign manager said Fort Collins residents have been, and will always be, her biggest focus.

“Karen’s got a view for the citizens,” said campaign manager Robert Hau. “People really like her and that’s where her heart is. She’s got a big heart.”

Senior Reporter Erin Udell can be reached at

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