Mar 262007
 
Authors: Jen Cintora

LISA POPPAW

As an active volunteer in the Fort Collins community, Lisa Poppaw says she looks to give back to the community and keep the city’s reputation as the best place to live in America.

Poppaw, candidate for District 2, currently serves on the Human Relations Commission for the city of Fort Collins. She also volunteers her time as the book talk coordinator and chair of Lesher Elementary School’s Parent-Teacher Organization.

After graduating from Woodland Park High School and the University of Northern Colorado, Poppaw and her husband returned to Fort Collins to raise a family. She has lived here for 14 years.

The university’s success is vital to the area’s economy, as is the city’s relationship with CSU, Poppaw said.

“CSU provides a lot of benefits, especially when considering cultural and diversity issues,” she said. “I don’t think it’s okay CSU students are considered an extraneous part of the community. They add value.”

She said one of the biggest issues facing students is poor job retention in the summer.

“We need to retain that work force. We need to make sure that we have those jobs available,” she said.

In response to the shift of consumers shopping outside of Fort Collins, Poppaw said the city needs to be revitalized through redevelopment.

“There are opportunities like the Mason South Corridor.that can pull shoppers back into the area,” she said at a recent forum held by the League of Women Voters. “Residents need to have choices that retains shoppers and benefits small businesses by keeping tax dollars here.”

Throughout her campaign, Poppaw has familiarized herself with residents by going door-to-door to answer questions and concerns.

“I’m learning so much. I’m getting the opportunity to hear what people have to say and to share my message,” she said.

At the forum, Poppaw highlighted her position as the only woman running in this year’s election. She also noted that, if not elected, it would be the first time in 35 years that a woman had not served on the council.

Poppaw lives in Fort Collins with her husband Jim and their two children, Halle and Alex.

For more information on Poppaw’s campaign, visit www.lisa2007.com.

MATT FRIES

Growing up in Fort Collins and being an active community member inspired Matt Fries to run in the upcoming City Council election. He is a candidate for District 2 and has lived in the area for 39 years.

Fries has served on the city’s Planning and Zoning Board and is on the Children’s Clinic Capital Committee, which aids underprivileged children in receiving healthcare. Fries and his wife maintain a family business in Fort Collins. He hopes to retain the voice of a small-business owner on the council, which he said is “absolutely critical.”

“I don’t think we need seven seats, but I do think that small businesses need one seat,” he said at a recent League of Women Voters forum.

While the City Council has no direct control over CSU, Fries said, the university is a significant player in the economy of Fort Collins and its surrounding areas. According to his campaign Web site, Fries looks to partner with the university to “foster appropriate economic growth” by developing jobs within industries such as clean energy and biotech.

In light of future plans by the university to increase enrollment without providing additional housing, Fries said that lack of availability is not an issue.

“I’ve seen a lot of ‘for sale,’ ‘for rent’ signs. It’s not necessarily a capacity problem, but more of a communications problem,” he said at the forum. “We need to foster a relationship and let the city government play role as navigator, not as pilot.”

Fries said he knows CSU students are often thought of as temporary residents, which leads some community members to disagree with a student’s ability to vote in City Council elections. He does not agree, saying that students’ voices are also important, especially when looking at the large number of students who choose to remain in Fort Collins after graduating.

“It’s extremely important that they be mindful of their participation in the community,” he said. “It may impact them as a community member in the future.”

Fries graduated from Fort Collins High School in 1985. He and wife Suzanne have three children, Rachael, Marshall and Ethan.

For more information on Fries’ campaign, visit www.mattfries.org.

Staff writer Jen Cintora can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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