Breckenridge Town Council race fields three more candidates
February 20, 2014
The Breckenridge Town Council has three of seven seats to fill in the election that will take place April 1.
Two candidates, Erin Gigliello and Eric Buck, have already announced their intention to run, and now three more have thrown their hats into the ring.
Burke, 53, is a current council member wrapping up his first four-year term. Owner of Burke and Riley's Irish Pub and the Clubhouse Restaurant, he is the only incumbent seeking a second term.
Burke grew up in Enfield, Conn., until attending Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I., where he graduated with a degree in business administration and management. He earned his graduate degree in human service administration from Springfield College in Massachusetts.
He worked at Johnson & Wales for 21 years before moving to Breckenridge in 2004 full time. He has been married to his wife, Tracy, for 31 years and has three children, Jeff, James and Ashley — all Summit High School graduates.
"I believe I've been a balanced voice on council," he said. "I'm pro-business, but not at all costs."
As a small-business owner, Burke said he understands what it takes to live and work in Breckenridge. Some of the accomplishments he is most proud of include supporting Breckenridge Heritage Alliance projects, reducing the master plan for the Arts District from 10 to three years, investing in town assets, including Main Street beautification and road resurfacing, and bringing the USA Pro Challenge to town. He also has helped add nearly 354 acres of open space and 13 miles of new trails.
"I'm committed to the town," he said. "I wanted to continue to give back to the community and participate in the direction of the town. I think we're headed in a great direction."
Burke's priorities for the future include Riverwalk Center and Backstage Theatre improvements, commitment to a parking and transit master plan and keeping community character by finding long-term solutions to housing and early-childhood education for working families.
"We have not added one bit of debt," he said. "We haven't used any (discretionary) or reserve funds. These investments are being made with surplus, and they are investments in the town which will pay us back."
Seventy-year-old Ebright, who hails from the Chicago area, moved to Breckenridge in 2006 with his wife. He worked in accounting for three large public utility companies in Illinois, but is now retired.
Ebright spends his time volunteering in the community. He is the vice chairman of the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center and a volunteer instructor with the group. He serves on the host committee for the Wounded Warriors Family Ski Week and is a board member of the Breckenridge Backstage Theatre. He served in the military from 1967-68.
"I love the community; it's just a neat place to be," he said. "I've always volunteered here, since arriving, and I want to give back to the community."
He said his business background, as well as strengths in finance, would be a valuable addition to the council. In his volunteer work, Ebright also helps lead historic tours around town. He strongly supports the Breckenridge vision plan, he said.
"The prior councils over the last several years have done a nice job of running the town," he said. "I would support what's been set in motion, I think there have been good decisions made."
He is a past president of the Summit Historical Society and the Highland Park Home Owners Association and was a school district board member in Illinois. Ebright said he wants to focus on stable, affordable housing and child care for working families and promote water awareness and energy conservation through the SustainableBreck plan.
"I have the time and background to look at that process and be helpful," he said. "I'm ready to take action on whatever the transportation reveals as well."
He strongly supports the arts, history, architectural integrity and cultural events that comprise the Breckenridge experience, he said.
"It's balanced growth, we don't want to be a resort; we are a town that happens to have a resort near it," he said.
Call John Ebright at (303) 518-8354 or visit http://www.EbrightforCouncil.com.
Lawrence is an 11-year resident of Breckenridge, originally from Arkansas, who wants to make sure residents can live and play in her community.
"All politics are local, I really believe that," she said. "It matters what happens where you live."
Lawrence, 35, studied political science at Arkansas State University and has been coming to the area most of her life to ski.
She has never run for public office and said she has been putting it off for years. She's felt like she's been running for things like class president since fifth grade, however, she said.
"I don't have a personal agenda for what I'm trying to accomplish," she said. "I'm not trying to turn everything upside down. I'm proud of what the town does. I'm proud to live in Breck. My motivation for running was really just to give back to the town that has given so much to me."
A former Main Street business owner, she now works at the Summit Foundation as the events and marketing coordinator. She has one daughter, 8-year-old Zoe. Lawrence was recently appointed by the town council to the Breckenridge Childcare Advisory Committee and helped run the campaign for last November's childcare tax initiative 2B, which did not pass.
"There's always big things happening in Breck," she said. "It's exciting to see where it goes next, to shape this town and its character more than just a ski town."
Lawrence said she is in favor of the town's child-care support, whether that is through tuition assistance, supporting the centers or employee development.
"I'm passionate about having a diverse community. I want people to retire here but also be able to raise their families here."
Arts and heritage tourism are important areas of the town for people who are not into skiing or biking but who would still like to visit Breckenridge, she said.
"We all love Breck, but I bleed Breck," she said. "I'm doing this out of my passion for the town. I love living here and I love the town and the community we have."