April 7, 2023 | OPINION | By Sofia Joucovsky

Editor’s note: This piece was written before the April 4 election results were released.

Having 12 mayoral candidates to choose from, most of them being either Republican or Independent, makes it hard to decide on who to vote for. This is especially true in a typically leftist school that is somewhat removed from the greater Colorado Springs community. I attended two mayoral forums and interviewed nine candidates to gain some clarity on who to vote for.

The three people who I believe have the highest chance of winning the election are Wayne Williams, Yemi Mobolade, and Sallie Clark. All three candidates fall on the conservative side of the political spectrum, are well spoken and well connected, and would be capable of handling the growth of Colorado Springs, albeit in different ways.

The first interview I had was with Wayne Williams, who has received about $1 million from Norwood Developments for his campaign and has experience in a multitude of different offices. He spoke proudly about his history of interacting with Democrats, including Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser.

Williams said cost was his biggest concern when asked about what he believes the most pressing issues are to higher education. He also talked about building more condominiums and waiving costs that developers face from the government. Williams is staunchly against heavy government intervention.

When I asked Williams about food prices, he gave what I like to call the ‘Economics 101 answer’ on competition: if people have problems with the way grocery stores are, they will open alternatives. With most grocery stores about to be owned by Kroger, and most low-income people lacking the means to open new ones, his answer seemed trite.

The next candidate, Sallie Clark, is the only woman running and owns a small bed-and-breakfast. She is known for being an electable alternative to Williams as someone who is willing to listen to the queer community and communities of color. She was also interested in alternatives to create affordable housing besides more standard suburban developments.

My second interview was with Yemi Mobolade, an immigrant from Nigeria who moved here when he was seventeen to go to a liberal arts college, which he described as similar to Colorado College. Mobolade is an independent who believes strongly in progressive social policies, such as supporting non-English speaking populations, making Colorado Springs more diverse, and supporting and uplifting the queer community.

Mobolade is socially liberal but stands in the moderate to conservative zone of fiscal ideology. He said he would take after Theodore’s Roosevelt’s “bully pulpit” and lead by example, as opposed to making laws to deal with developers and other similar situations in the Springs. He said he would bring organizations run by the LGBTQ+ community, communities of color, and general diversity to the table so that his mayoral office represents everyone.

Rocking a mullet, comedian Kallan Reece is by far the most entertaining of the candidates. His campaign card says he aims to bring egg prices down and that he has a silhouette of a man with a mullet. He is a Republican but often disagrees with the party because he is pro-choice, believes in red flag laws and respecting the LGBTQ+ community. Although he is not very well informed on many of the city’s issues, he said he would delegate on them, which is impressive because it shows he is willing to compromise and work with a lot of different parties.

Tom Strand, head of the city council, identifies as socially Democrat and fiscally Republican. He seemed to genuinely care about making the city a better place and was candid about the unjustness of how campaigns are financed.

Christopher Mitchell’s card shows a shirtless picture of himself waving an American flag and is running on making Colorado Springs a “Champion City.” Mitchell does not believe that the city should help homeless people and that most homeless people want to be homeless.

Longinos Gonzalez and John “Tig” Tiegan were formerly in the military and are supporters of teachers having guns, but that is where their similarities end. Gonzalez is currently county commissioner and is very conservative. He does not support of making the city more accessible for undocumented immigrants.

Tiegan has seen a lot of horrible things at war, wants to make the city a better place for veterans, and does not really subscribe to any one political party. He had some surprisingly progressive beliefs about equality but said that as mayor he wouldn’t be able to do a lot to stop racism, sexism, or homophobia.

Darryl Glenn introduced himself as a pro-life, pro-second amendment Christian conservative who is the chief legal officer of The Empowerment Solidarity and Support Alliance and says he is anti-panhandling on his website. After the first mayoral forum, he spoke to me very rudely when I asked about his pro-life views.

Jim Miller introduces himself as “just a guy” and has a Facebook account but not any other means of campaign outreach. Lawrence Martinez, who also does not have a large online presence, said he proudly takes public transportation and is focused on helping kids and making public transit more accessible.

Voting is important, not just because it is one of the privileges afforded to us living in a democratic republic, but because voting is not just about the individual person. When every person votes, they should consider the people who don’t have the opportunity to vote: people under 18, non-citizens, people who don’t feel safe, or are registered in other places. Voting should be not only about what’s best for you, but how you think you can help improve your community.

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