Carol Saade: Supporting workforce, managing capacity and connecting community top my list |

Carol Saade: Supporting workforce, managing capacity and connecting community top my list

Carol Saade
Breckenridge Town Council candidate
Carol Saade

Occupation: Public affairs consultant

Years in Summit County: 12 in Breckenridge

Family: Jarad Christianson and dogs, Deek and Minny

Civic involvement: Breckenridge Town Council member, Colorado Mountain College Mountain Scholars mentor, Mountain Dreamers co-founder and board president, High Country Conservation Center board member, Breckenridge Events Committee member, Breckenridge Social Equity Advisory Commission founding member, Breckenridge Open Space Advisory Commission member

I love my home of 12 years, Breckenridge, and I’m proud to currently serve on Breckenridge Town Council, lending my voice to the challenging ongoing conversations emerging from COVID and reassessing our balance. As the youngest council member, I bring the perspective of someone who has just hit their stride professionally and personally. I’m experiencing many of the same challenges other long-term residents face as we build a permanent and fulfilling life. At the same time, I’ve worked for a small, local public affairs firm over the past five years. This has given me a deep understanding of how to be an impactful leader in local government and how to leverage relationships with partner organizations and industry voices to shape policy and create positive change for our community.

I believe anything Town Council legislates should receive broad community input, be data-based, and be fairly and scrupulously enforceable and implementable. As a council member, my ability to listen and proactively seek guidance from those impacted by any policy serves me well in decision making. The diversity of voices in our community makes us stronger — from the business owner to the long-time local, to the part-time resident, to the immigrant worker, to the recent transplant.

The decisions of Town Council have a tremendous impact on the day-to-day lives of our residents. My guiding principles are our community-created Destination Management Plan goals and the larger vision: harmony of quality of life for residents and quality of place for visitors. This balance will always be my top priority. Here are some of my additional priorities:

Priority No. 1: Supporting our workforce residents and creating pathways for success

Here I draw from personal experience. I moved to this community in my mid-20s, patching together jobs from working at Clint’s to catering to the night shift at a hotel. I found a path forward to contribute to my community when I was able to purchase a home almost 10 years later in Gibson Heights, one of the town’s original workforce housing neighborhoods.

I believe in the town’s housing programs — Buy Downs, Housing Helps, building, public-private partnerships, land banking — and continuing our efforts by strategically planning ahead based on our housing needs.

By supporting our workforce with child care assistance and supporting the many partner organizations that provide community resources, we are helping to sustain our businesses and local economy. Supporting our immigrant population is encompassed in these efforts; they are the quiet workforce, essential to our economic prosperity.

Human capital is our most needed and valued resource as nearly every entity (municipalities, nonprofits, small and big businesses) is lacking staff, leading to my next priority.

Priority No. 2: Managing our capacity for the future

In addition to putting strains on our resident population, the increasing number of visitors has outpaced our ability to support a strong workforce and is becoming an economic detriment. Our financial future resides in maintaining the high quality of the Breckenridge brand. With shortened business hours, understaffed businesses and a stressed workforce, our brand suffers. We need to put more emphasis on managing crowds and expectations, and reevaluating our direction.

Capacity issues encompass more than just visitor management. They’re reflected in our traffic congestion, our empty grocery store shelves and our crowded sidewalks. Capacity is clearly lacking with child care. There are close to 400 children on waitlists in the southern half of Summit County.

Priority No. 3: Building and reinforcing our community connections

Our sense of community has been built by the people who live here and they’re our greatest asset. COVID has made community connections difficult. By continuing to hold community gatherings and supporting partner organizations, I believe the town can play a conducive role for individuals forging community. There has been a shift in the composition of the community since the pandemic, and the town should work on welcoming and educating new community members while focusing on building opportunities for current residents.

Another goal of mine is to focus on the town’s communications and increasing participation. While government requires transparency, the systems can appear confusing. I believe we need to be more proactive with our communications and solicit greater community input.

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