The race is on. Telluride Town Clerk Tiffany Kavanaugh received and certified six petitions — three for mayor and three for two Town Council seats — by Monday’s 5 p.m. deadline, putting the pieces in place for the Nov. 5 election.
Mayor Sean Murphy will face a challenge from two other candidates for the seat he is running to keep. Current council member DeLanie Young has thrown her hat in the ring, as has former council member David Oyster.
Incumbent council member Lars Carlson will be joined in the race for two open seats by residents Adrienne Christy and Luigi Chiarani.
Young gave the decision to challenge Murphy much thought before gathering the 25 signatures required to become a candidate.
“Adding my name to the ballot was not an altogether easy decision for me,” Young said. “Since the day I moved to Telluride, I have continually worked in service to our community. After raising three sons — the youngest of whom is about to go off to college — and meeting and marrying the most wonderful man, I have been considering what else is out there for me. I know myself well enough to know that I love a challenge.”
Young, like so many that turn to elected office, cited her desire to serve the Telluride community.
“Telluride has given me and my family so much, and I believe this is currently the most meaningful way for me to pay it forward,” she said.
Young is nearing the end of her term in office. She told the Daily Planet she is concerned with government fairness and transparency.
“A government ‘of the people, by the people, for the people’ is a model that, if practiced more thoughtfully, could prevent a lot of hardship,” she said. “The scene that is being set on the national level has unfortunately been infiltrating smaller communities such as ours.
“As an elected official, it is vitally important for me to get as much information as I can in order to make the most informed decisions possible, and I am always concerned with an ethical and fair process, which is how we provide and maintain transparency to the community.”
Oyster is no stranger to local governance, having previously served on Town Council for a single term from 2007-11. It is also not the first time he has challenged a sitting mayor for the post. He ran against former mayor Stu Fraser in 2011. Oyster, like Young, is focused on service to the community.
“I have no agenda beyond serving the town,” Oyster said. “I want to be the best I can be.”
Transparency in government is also one of Oyster’s concerns and motivators to run for mayor.
“I want more responsive, transparent government with less autocracy and better communication,” Oyster said. “Town deserves a government that listens.”
He pondered the decision to run for some time, ultimately deciding to “give the citizens another choice.”
While on council, he reflected on that board’s actions to keep the town financially strong in the midst of the recession, as he is sure another is on the horizon. That council, he said, worked with bond counsel to restructure the town’s debt at that time. “It got us through the recession.”
The council he served on also shepherded the Valley Floor’s conservation agreement through to completion, ensuring the vast parcel of land on the valley’s south side remain open space in perpetuity.
Oyster, who became a full-time resident in 2004 after purchasing land and building his home in 1990, said that recent use of a helicopter as part of a construction project that took place without prior notice “tipped me over the edge,” and motivated him to ply Telluride’s streets in search of candidate petition signatures.
Murphy did not respond to a request for comment by press time Tuesday afternoon.
Lars Carlson, like Young, is nearing the end of his first term in office and would like to retain his seat. Locals Adrienne Christy and Luigi Chiarani also turned in completed petitions.
According to Kavanaugh, there is still time to get on ballot as a write-in candidate.
“There are no outstanding petitions that need to be cured,” she wrote in an email to the Daily Planet. “Therefore, the (candidate list) is final unless an individual withdraws from nomination or someone submits an affidavit of intent to be a write-in candidate. The deadline for a write-in candidate is this Friday (Aug. 30). The deadline to withdraw from nomination is prior to ballot language certification, Sept. 6.”
Editor’s note: Follow the Daily Planet for complete election coverage and candidate interviews until Election Day, Nov. 5.