Castle Rock residents now know who the candidates are to become their next mayor. The town confirmed Aug. 27 that three men made the ballot to run for Castle Rock's first mayor elected by a townwide …
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Three men made the ballot to run for mayor of Castle Rock. Colorado Community Media spoke with each candidate. The following is some of their vision for the town:
Charles Fletcher III
Fletcher is a 17-year resident of Castle Rock working in data analytics. He's also a planning commission member, a school district volunteer and past water commission member.
As mayor, Fletcher said he'd focus on bolstering the town's communication with residents, and help its boards and commissions feel comfortable using the town's 2030 vision plan.
Growth, he said, is also an issue high on his list of priorities. He says development should be vetted for its ability to fit in with existing neighborhoods, but it also a vital part of the community's health.
“We need the additional houses, the additional citizens and those impact fees,” he said, “to help pay for those large capital projects.”
Gray moved to Castle Rock from Alaska in 1998 and opened his coffee shop, Crowfoot Valley Coffee, in 1999. At the time, he was looking for a growing town where he could get involved, he said, and he followed through on that plan.
Gray is board president of the Downtown Merchants Association and previously served on the Chamber of Commerce board.
Gray says he's leery of the town's reliance on sales tax and revenue generated by development to fund community needs. Eventually growth will taper off, he said, leaving Castle Rock with fewer tap and building fees to collect.
“We have to figure out how we're going to change that system,” he said.
Reed's past experience includes six years on town council and four as mayor. He recalled advocating in 2009 for an at-large mayor system and was one of the five petitioners who got the issue on the ballot in 2017.
“I believe the residents and voters of Castle Rock should have the right and ability to vote for their own mayor,” he said.
Reed says he's the best candidate to help the town transition into an at-large system, based on his historical knowledge of the town and his relationships with other county and state leaders.
He plans to focus on four main areas if he becomes mayor: water, economic growth, development and transportation. Reed calls growth good, so long as it's managed.
Castle Rock residents now know who the candidates are to become their next mayor.
The town confirmed Aug. 27 that three men made the ballot to run for Castle Rock's first mayor elected by a townwide vote of the people. Election Day is Nov. 6, but ballots will be mailed to voters in mid-October.
The candidates are Randy Reed, the town's former mayor; Jason Gray, owner of Crowfoot Valley Coffee; and IT professional Charles Fletcher III.
Making the ballot required candidates to collect 10 signatures from each of the town's newly formed six districts by Aug. 27.
A fourth individual vying for the seat, Kenny Lowenberg, did not collect enough signatures from each district and will not appear on the ballot, said Town Clerk Lisa Anderson.
The town transitions to an at-large mayor system this year after decades of appointing its mayor from among a seven-member council. The change in governance began with a citizen-led petition that sent the question — should the town's mayor be elected at-large — to voters in the November 2017 election. They said yes by a roughly 2-to-1 margin.
Under the new system, the mayor will be voted on by the town's registered voters but will not have more power than other members of council.
As candidates emerged in recent months, some residents noted not all had supported the at-large referendum, an issue that garnered criticism on social media and from the likes of Councilmember George Teal.
Teal has endorsed Reed — both were two of the five original petitioners who got the at-large issue on the 2017 ballot. Fletcher and Gray were not supporters of the at-large referendum, at least not initially. Lowenberg said he didn't vote in the at-large election.
Teal called candidates who didn't support the at-large referendum hypocritical.
“If a candidate did not support the amendment process in going to an at-large mayor, first of all, why run?” Teal said. “But more specifically, it was a 2-to-1 victory, so if somebody was on the other side arguing against it, they're already out of touch, they're already out of step with two-thirds of the voting public in Castle Rock.”
Reed said he sees it as a non-issue. Fletcher and Gray were ready to take questions about their stance on the at-large movement.
“When it was first coming up, I was against it, and not so much because it was a bad idea,” Gray said. “It was more the concept of how it was designed and how it was put forward that I was confused about more than I was against.”
The at-large petition received criticism ahead of the election, largely because it did not include a plan to help the town transition from one system to the next.
Gray also said he believes people are allowed to change their minds.
“I don't think it makes me a hypocrite,” he said.
Fletcher said that transition plan, or lack thereof, was his “biggest concern” with the referendum and that “it wasn't something that was desperately needed.”
But when election time came around, Fletcher voted in favor of the referendum, he said.
“Even though,” he said, “I had concerns with the referendum and the structure and how it was going to be implemented.”
Wayne Harlos, also one of the five petitioners, said the issue does raise questions about a candidate's intentions.
“For somebody to take a position against something and then take advantage of it right after it passes, I find that disingenuous,” Harlos said, clarifying he'd still want to learn why a candidate opposed the at-large referendum before deciding whether to support them.
“It's an initial red flag,” Harlos said. “It wouldn't be a deal breaker for me.”
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