Petitions to run for Steamboat City Council are available starting Tuesday; Due Aug. 28
Four of the seven seats are on the ballot in November, three of which will have a race without an incumbent.
Petitions to run for one of the four Steamboat Springs City Council seats up for election this November will be available from the city clerk on Tuesday.
There are three four-year terms and one two-year at-large on the ballot this fall, with three of those seats lacking any incumbent running to retain their spot.
The petition serves as the process to get a candidate’s name on the ballot, but before that those weighing a run for council are likely considering if they are well-known enough to run, or have the background voters are looking for. At a June panel put on by the Steamboat Springs Chamber, former council member Scott Ford said for him, most people want to vote for someone they like and trust.
“What (voters) are looking for is just the opportunity to say, do I know this person,” Ford said. “People will elect people that they like and trust. … Can you treat them like they would want to be treated?”
Once someone has decided to run, the first step is completing that petition to get a candidates name on the ballot. This requires prospective candidates to get that petition signed by 25 registered electors in their respective council district (or anywhere in the city for the at-large seat) and return the petition to city hall before 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 28.
Current Council member Gail Garey recommended getting more than the 25 names needed (maybe 35 to 40), in case some are not actually registered to vote or are not registered in the correct district. While having some name recognition can be helpful when running, Routt County Commissioner Tim Corrigan noted that it isn’t always required.
“I was pretty well known in the community, I’d had a business for 30 years, I’d been on the school board, hockey association so I had some name recognition and kind of a traditional path of working your way up to an elected office, but that’s not the only way,” Corrigan said. “I would use former Commissioner Beth Melton as an individual that had, really a good resume working for BOCES and as a teacher, but certainly not the kind of elected background and committee background. She just ran a brilliant campaign.”
“You can come out of nowhere and get elected, that’s a fact,” Corrigan continued.
For those running for city council, Garey said the onboarding process really starts now. She encouraged interested folks to attend city council meetings to get a flavor of the issues and the processes used at Council.
As for running a campaign, the panelists said it can really differ depending on the situation. In Ford’s first council race, he ran unopposed, so he didn’t end up spending any money on his campaign. When Garey ran in 2021, she said she ended up printing yard signs and door hangers and knocked on about 1,000 doors. She also recommended forming a group of people to help guide the campaign.
“One of the first steps that I would really encourage people to do is to get a core group of people, to get what I would call your kitchen cabinet to act kind of as your advisors,” Garey said.
Once a candidate submits their petition and it is confirmed to have the appropriate number of signatures, their name will appear on the ballot. While candidates for three of the seats need to live in the respective district, the entire city electorate votes for each seat.
Election Day is Nov. 7 this year, and the new council members will be seated at the meeting the following Tuesday on Nov. 14. In that same meeting a new council president and president pro-tem will be elected as well.
Ford said one important principle for him when he was on council was that he was there for the people, and not necessarily there for the city itself.
“As a council person sitting up here, you are a part of what I would call team citizen,” Ford said. “You are not a part of team city necessarily. … Usually you are very much aligned, but you are part of team citizen and there are times that you have to remember you are team citizen and push back. … That’s hard.”
Petitions will be available on Tuesday. To be eligible to run for council, you need to have lived in the city for the previous 12 months, be 18 or older by election day and live in the district you intend to represent. (See the district map here.) If running for the at-large seat, you simply need to live in the city.
If you are planning to run for city council, reach out to The Yampa Valley Bugle at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would like to talk with each candidate and write a piece about why you are running, what issues you feel are important and what you would like to do if elected to council.
Top Photo Caption: Steamboat Springs City Council holds a special meeting to discuss Brown Ranch on Aug. 1. (Dylan Anderson/ The Yampa Valley Bugle)