Valerie Connelly: Child care, traffic and locals are important issues to me |

Valerie Connelly: Child care, traffic and locals are important issues to me

Valerie Connelly
Silverthorne Town Council candidate
Valerie Connelly

Occupation: Business owner, technology support specialist

Years in Summit County: 42

Family: Husband of 16 years, Shawn, and two boys: Marshall, 13, and Holton, 9

Community involvement: Summit County Preschool board of directors board member, secretary and co-president; Sky-Hi News affiliate; Grand Lake Chamber of Commerce board member and secretary; Summit’s Mountain Community Fair and Rodeo board member at large and vice president.

My name is Valerie Connelly, and I am running for the Silverthorne Town Council. My husband, Shawn, and I have owned our home in Silverthorne since 2003. We have two boys, Marshall, 13, and Holton, 9. Shawn and I both grew up in Silverthorne, we both attended K-12 in the Summit School District, and our boys are students here today. They are the sixth generation of my family to call this end of the county home.

My professional capacity is mostly marketing, sales and business management with a techie edge. Currently, I own Southern Exposure Salon in Dillon, and I am also the tech support specialist for Summit High School. I have worked for the local paper, TV station, Summit Express and been on a preschool board and numerous local charitable committees. My unique perspective, history in this town and broad set of skills will serve the Town Council position well, and I believe that staying open-minded, informed and listening to the community are important keys to serving Silverthorne residents well as a council member.

Fond memories of growing up in this town make Silverthorne the only place I want to live and raise my children. I advocate for others who want that for themselves and their families.

Priority No. 1: Child care

My top priority is not only to work diligently for a child care facility in Silverthorne, but also to look hard at our current rec center offerings and see how they can support families in new ways. Summer presents a challenge for parents and school-age children, and there is a very special gap in the 12-14 age group specifically. An early learning child care facility, while vital, will not help in this age range. All parents are critical to our workforce, and we need ongoing, safe, engaging programs to be offered to all ages of children in Silverthorne.

Priority No. 2: Traffic

Traffic is another top concern. The Interstate 70 interchange is crippled, what used to be a winter weekend problem has increased to daily driving issues and delays. Immediate attention is required, and we need to be creative with solutions and prepared to use some Band-Aids until the proper care can be taken.

A huge issue I see during times of congestion is confused and disoriented motorists who don’t move because they don’t know where to go and fear they will lose their place in line. We need to help specific directions of traffic move more easily and more often, and we need to communicate areas available in town that can provide temporary refuge in the event of daytime closures so that we can move vehicles away from Colorado Highway 9.

One idea might be to consider “local traffic only” on our back streets during specific times of congestion so that our first responders are able to get where they are needed and residents are able to make it home safely.

Priority No. 3: Prioritize locals

I strongly believe that it’s paramount that when ideas, new or old, come up in discussion, we ask ourselves important questions like: If we do this, does it make sense for the people who live here? What does it look like in five, 10, 20 years? Who else might benefit and how? Who stands to gain the most, and does anyone stand to lose? Our decisions need to be locals-forward. Whether we are making decisions on local zoning, lodging tax, child care or workforce housing, I will always be locals focused, ensuring our laws and regulations benefit our residents who live here.

Silverthorne is a place for families, industry, recreation and renewal. It is vibrant and has an amazing story. I am part of Silverthornes’ past, present and future, and I look forward to the opportunity to serve our community as a member of the Silverthorne Town Council.

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