Three will vie to become Castle Rock's mayor

Race is for the town's first mayor elected by voters

Posted 8/29/18

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 will vie to become Castle Rock's mayor

Race is for the town's first mayor elected by voters

Posted

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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