Frisco council candidates gather to discuss town’s future |

Frisco council candidates gather to discuss town’s future

Candidates for Frisco Town Council will meet from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 9 at Frisco Town Hall to discuss the city’s future.

The forum will include opening statements by each candidate, as well as a question-and-answer period. For community members who are unable to make the forum, a video recording of this event will be available through SCTV 10’s website:

Ballots for the April 5 election will be mailed to all town of Frisco active registered voters the week of Monday, March 14. If your registration is current, a ballot packet will be automatically sent to the mailing address listed with your voter registration. Any voter who will be absent from his/her residence during the mailing period for ballots may contact the Town Clerk to request an application for an absentee ballot. Applications must be submitted no later than 5 p.m., Friday, April 1.

Mayoral candidates

Kathleen Kennedy Bartz

Lived in Frisco: 20 years

Career: Lawyer, Advocate, Inn Keeper

Previous participation in town board or committees: Frisco Town Council, 2006 – 2008 and 2012 – present

Educational background: JD, University of North Carolina. BA, Government and History, Campbell University

Comments: I believe with my experience as a Frisco small-business owner for fifteen years and my participation in numerous organizations in the county, I bring a strong business perspective to our government. I was previously elected to both the Summit and Frisco Chamber boards and was also the Frisco Chamber of Commerce executive director. This experience gave me insight into concerns and opportunities that affect many businesses in Frisco. I was also the legal advocate for the Advocates for Victims of Assault and Trauma. I assisted domestic-violence victims through the court system and helped them get assistance that would allow future plans and growth. I was previously elected to the Frisco Town Council and served six years.

Daniel C. Kibbie, Jr

Lived in Frisco: 26 years

Career: Copper Mountain Resort

Previous participation on town boards: Frisco Town Council, 2014 – present. Ran for mayor, 1992

Educational background: Forestry, University of Maine

Comments: I bought my first house in Frisco in 1989 and built my first house in 1997, where I reside now. I met my wife Mirian while traveling in Peru and am now looking at starting a family. I want the same as everyone else: to be able to live and work in such a great town as Frisco. There have been a lot of changes over the last 26 years. It has taken 20 years to get the balance between work, play and living here. We need to help the people of Frisco reach their dreams, so they, too, can work, play and live here happily. If all we do is build places for second homeowners, who is going to run our tourism business and bring in our tax dollars? Not all decisions are easy and need to be looked at carefully from different angles. My 22 years at Copper Mountain Resort gave me plenty of time preparing and being responsible for budgets. This will help me make the right decisions on future tax revenues and how we spend and save money for future generations.

Gary Wilkinson

Lived in Frisco: 50 years

Career information: Senior Supervisor at the Climax Mine. Summit County Surveyor

Previous participation in town boards or committees: Frisco Town Council 2008 – 2012. Mayor 2012 – present. Former Ten Mile Planning Commission Chairman. Former Countywide Planning Commissioner. Former Frisco Master Plan Citizen Advisory Committee member

Educational background: BS, Mining Engineering, Colorado School of Mines

Comments: During my time on the Frisco Town Council, we have seen a sustainable development on the Interstate Parcel which includes Whole Foods, Rio Mexican Restaurant and the new Kaiser medical center, as well as major improvements to our Main Street infrastructure. Our amenities at the peninsula and marina have grown and are quality attractions that serve our residents and guests. While we celebrate our successes, we also need to be aware of the challenges ahead. Frisco continues to need to address workforce housing in our community, both for owners and renters. We need to protect the character of our town as it becomes more and more attractive as a place to visit and live. Frisco is the gem of Summit County, and it’s a delicate balance to be a popular destination and livable community. We need to continue to protect our natural environment and provide support for a vibrant business community. I love Frisco and am proud of how it has evolved since I moved here in 1966.

Town council candidates

Martin Allen

Lived in Frisco: 7 years

Career: Owner, Table 31 Imports

Previous participation on town boards: Former Board Member, Summit County Rescue Group

Educational background: Anthropology and Economics, Texas A&B

Comments: As Frisco moves forward into the future, I feel the town is at a crossroads. Do we move into the normal and seemingly all too predictable evolution of many small Colorado mountain towns finding themselves filled with streets of empty homes and overdevelopment? Or do we remain the tight, vibrant and mixed community that has risen here under Mt. Royal on the shoulders of the great and well-known locals (who) helped build it? As the owner of a small wine importing company, Table 31 Imports, I know well the importance of bottom lines, as well as growth and expansion. However, I also know and have seen the outcome when these become the main focus of any entity. I feel Frisco has been overseen by an excellent succession of mayors and town councils over the years, helping build a vibrant and thriving commercial base. I do feel, however, that the time to pull back on further large commercial development has come. I would strive to make sure that the town of Frisco puts the interests of its full time residents, workers, small businesses and town staff above all other concerns.

Jessica Burley

Lived in Frisco: 5 years

Career: Community programs manager, High Country Conservation Center; adjunct of sustainability studies, Colorado Mountain College

Previous participation on town boards: Peak One Neighborhood HOA

Educational background: MA, international development, University of Denver. BA, international studies and anthropology, Emory University

Comments: It didn’t take long to realize that Frisco was the community I wanted to settle down in and be a part of. After moving into the Peak One Neighborhood, I set out to become more involved in the community. I’m running for town council to help guide the future of our small mountain town, so it remains friendly and accommodating to the locals who give it so much character. As the town looks toward future development, a focus should be on maintaining the organic nature of the community and its amenities. In addition, I believe we should seek to balance future development with meeting the needs of the local workforce and our natural environment. Frisco is special because of our amazing environment, and we should strive to have a mutually beneficial relationship with it. As our community continues to rank among the top mountain adventure towns in the west, we need to ensure we live up to our reputation. We can set an example by balancing tourism with local’s needs; ensuring a friendly atmosphere for visitors but still maintain our historic character; and integrating future development with the needs of our natural environment. I look forward to the opportunity serve my community by bringing the knowledge and experience I have of sustainable development to the table.

Rick Ihnken

Lived in Frisco: 5 years

Career: Lieutenant, Safety and Medical Division – West Metro Fire Rescue. Part-time ski patroller, Arapahoe Basin. Former Flight For Life flight paramedic

Previous participation on town boards: Peak One Neighborhood HOA. Former Board Member for other HOA boards

Educational background: Paramedic training, Rutgers University. AD, general studies, Colorado Mountain College

Comments: As a Frisco Town Council member, I aspire to serve as a representative of our local working families. My wife and I have lived and worked in the community since 1995. While living in the Peak One Neighborhood, I have come to know many of our community’s families. I look forward to representing these residents, as well as the multitudinous of diverse working families in Frisco. As a Lieutenant for the Safety and Medical Division at West Metro Fire Rescue, where I have worked for 15 years, I supervise, educate and train 80 personnel. I feel confident that my background in leadership, my enthusiasm for the continuing betterment of our community and my commitment to the prosperity of the local economy will fittingly serve our town. Frisco’s staff, council and manager have provided us with guidance and organization over the past decades. I trust that their leadership will guide my decision-making processes. I am interested in learning the intricacies of continuing to grow a town that makes ours a spectacular place to live and to raise my family. Three issues in our near future that are exciting: the Frisco Transportation Center, the Lake Hill development and the Highway 9 Iron Springs road re-route. Each of these projects provides opportunities for smart growth for Frisco.

Richard Nell

Lived in Frisco: 11 years

Career: Communications technician

Previous participation on town boards: N/A

Educational background: Computer science, The College of New Jersey

Comments: I love living in Frisco. It is a special place that we are lucky enough to call home. I am running for town council because I want to keep this place special, preserve its heritage and ensure a successful future while most importantly retaining its charm. Frisco is a great place to raise a family; it has amazing recreational opportunities and strong small businesses. Let’s work to keep it this way.

We must focus on maintaining our sense of community, making it a place that people can afford to and want to live in. I love being a tourist in my own town, and I welcome the opportunity to shape people’s experiences in Frisco. I will work diligently to maintain our town, improve our town and prepare it for future generations to enjoy as we do today.

My past work experience as a department manager for Breckenridge Hospitality has given me valuable lessons in guest service, interdepartmental cooperation and working with a diverse group of government agencies, as well as the importance of working with and maintaining a balanced budget.

My training in a law-enforcement academy, although never professionally utilized, has given me skills and experience in understanding statutes, interpreting them and applying them appropriately.

My current position with a telecommunications company, although technical, also requires that I often fill the role of problem solver, diffuse emotionally charged situations and work toward a mutually beneficial outcome. It has made me an active listener and an effective communicator — both essential skills for serving on town council. I look forward to working with people from various walks of life, being able to work together and have positive impacts that benefit the town.

Larry Sawyer

Lived in Frisco: 15 years

Career: Retired, General Mills Inc.

Previous participation on town boards: Frisco Town Council, 2008 – present. Currently Mayor Pro Tem. Former Frisco Planning and Zoning Commissioner

Educational background: BA, BS, History and Political Science, University of Minnesota. Numerous business courses.

Comments: I moved to Frisco, so I could teach skiing, and I have been involved with the Copper Ski School for 15 years. Along the way, I became involved with Frisco’s town government, serving on the planning commission and eight years on the Frisco Town Council, currently serving as Mayor Pro Tem. During my term in office, the town has made many improvements: 70 workforce homes built at the Peak One Neighborhood; the tubing hill and day lodge additions to the Peninsula Recreation Area; completion of three of four phases of the Step Up Main Street project; development at the intersection of Summit Blvd. and I-70 featuring Whole Foods. The town budget has been balanced. The First and Main Building has been purchased to expand the Thursday Concerts in the Park and add guest bathrooms. Finally, three years ago, a much need revision and modernization of the Town Code was initiated and hopefully will be finished in the next 2 years.

If I am re-elected, I want to be part of finishing Main Street, finishing the expansion of the Town Park and finishing the revision of the town code. Most importantly, I want us to understand that Frisco is in the cross hairs of growth. It is the perfect small mountain town with real people in it. Consequently, people who can afford to buy, scrape and build want to move here without understanding that the homes they scrape contain the ‘real people’ they want to live next to. If we want to keep Frisco, the key is in the revision of the town code. In the revision, I will be promoting changes to the code which will make it possible for people to continue to move to Frisco without displacing the “locals” who call Frisco home. These revisions will require serious and intense conversation among the citizenry. Give and take will be required. If we want Frisco to continue to be a mixture of incomes, ages and interests, we will have to make it possible for these people to live in Frisco. Good will will see us through.

Deborah Shaner

Lived in Frisco: 10 years

Career: Owner, Shaner Life Safety. Jazzercise teacher. Former owner, Studio D

Previous participation on Town boards: Frisco Planning Commission 2012 – present. Summit County Tenmile Planning Commissioner. Frisco Business Advisory Committee Member

Educational background: Colorado School of Mines

Comments: I am a Fire Protection Engineer, making a living designing life safety, fire alarm and fire protection systems for various buildings. Through my experiences living in Frisco and as a Planning Commissioner, I have seen the town evolve and want to ensure that as we grow, and that we maintain our sense of community and diversity. I started on the Frisco Business Advisory Committee, then took on the role of Frisco Planning Commissioner and have continued to want to give back to the community that I hold so dear. As a council member, my experience with the town government, understanding of codes and standards and sense of fiscal responsibility will serve me well to make decisions that will benefit all who live and work in the great town of Frisco.

Donna Skupien

Lived in Frisco: 10 years

Career: Owner/Creative Director, Bridgewater Design

Previous participation on Town boards: Frisco Planning Commission Chairman 2007 – present. Frisco First and Main Committee member. Former Frisco Marketing Committee member. Summit County Tenmile Planning Commissioner. Volunteers at countless events

Educational background: BFA, Northern Illinois University. Masters Studies, NIU and Oxford

Comments: This is a very exciting time to be running for Frisco Town Council. Frisco is 98-percent built out, over 400 beds short to sustain our workforce, code update and 60-percent second-home owners. I believe we need a more balanced demographic. I have been a homeowner in the county since 1995 and a permanent resident in Frisco since 2006. I am interested in applying my 30 years’ experience in marketing, branding and design to town issues — to make Frisco a more visually pleasing and vibrant place to live. Being part of Town Council, I believe my experience would be an asset and would add new perspective to the matters that come before Council. I well understand budgets, problem solving and deadlines. To date, my involvement with the town includes being a Planning Commissioner and a volunteer for town events.

One of the greatest challenges Frisco continually faces is affordable housing, especially the lack of rental apartments. I wish the town could encourage homeowners to build in-fill cabin housing and developers to create rental housing to help our workforce live where they work. I hope that I could champion this issue along with: Frisco becoming a more bike friendly community, continue to preserve our history and expand being a family destination with new activities and businesses — without becoming a tourist trap. As a community, we need to embrace change, within reason, to remain competitive with our neighboring towns and to help insure prosperity for the continued stability of Frisco.

I value independent businesses coming to Frisco and am interested in attracting and retaining an eclectic mix of businesses/restaurants/activities with town incentives and/or other tools to help all of our business become and remain successful. Supporting our local businesses needs to be a continued community effort. I also support all efforts to keep our community a safe, healthy, place to live and work. When the town abandoned a project to fix the flooding on the bike path toward Walter Byron Park, my husband and I designed, paid for and implemented a drainage plan to correct this last fall. I applaud our community gardens, recycling programs and fire threat mitigation education. Our lake and forests are huge assets. We need to continue to respect them for future generations. This is our town.

Chris Sorensen

Lived in Frisco: 1 year

Career: Senior manager, Breckenridge Resort

Previous participation on town boards: N/A

Educational background: BA, international business and human resource Management, APU

 Comments: I am running for Frisco Town Council because I want to help make our amazing community even better than it already is. I have been a Summit County resident for 11 years and now a home owner in Frisco, where my wife and I are raising our family of teenage boys and a dog. We already have a great town with amazing events, but I would like to help create additional, strategic events to help set us up as a leading tourist destination both summer and winter. My career with Vail Resorts has allowed me to lead multiple committees that drove change within the ski industry, like safety, around non-skiing activities, like tubing. I previously managed Adventure Point at Keystone, so I feel I have something to add to our already profitable Adventure Park. I have also been in charge of multiple budgets over the past eight years while creating new revenue streams. I feel my experience will suit me in my run for Frisco Town Council and hopefully as a new Council member.

 I think some of our current issues are around housing, specifically the need for more affordable housing for community employees who love the are,a but sometimes can’t stay for a lifetime because of rising housing costs. Another thing I’d like to see in the town’s future is a dog park, in hopes that it will also clean up our trails and kikes of dog waste from irresponsible owners.


Matthew (Matti) Wade

Lived in Frisco: 14 years

Career: Owner, Ten Mile Creek Kayaks. Freestyle Ski Technical Delegate and Judge, FIS & USSA. Ski & Snowboard Coach, Woodward Copper.

Previous participation on town boards: Volunteers at countless events

Educational background: Retired U.S. Ski Team Member, A license Freestyle Technical Delegate, B license Freestyle Ski Judge. USSA Officials/Judges Freestyle Committee Board Member 2010/2014, Rocky Mountain Freestyle Rules/Tech Committee Chair Board Representative 2005/2012, Various Coaching Cert’s from level 2 to 3, Big Mountain Free skiing Competitor 1997-2010, lifelong continuing learner

Comments: I moved to the mountains of Colorado in 1991 from Upper Michigan with $200, a backpack and dreams of becoming a professional skier. I have since retired from a sport that has shown me the world, launched a successful business and started a family with my wife here in Frisco. I have lived the full spectrum of mountain town challenges, from having five jobs to make ends meet, to living anywhere with almost anyone in order to keep my skiing and kayaking dreams alive. I have made Frisco my home and the place where our 2-year-old child will grow up. Contributing to the future of Frisco as a town council member would be the ultimate opportunity in serving the public. Over the years, the challenges have not changed. The mountain living, water and people are what keeps us driving forward to make it here. I want to be a part of helping our community plan for the current and new challenges and opportunities, so that others can make their dreams happen here. It should not matter if you’re a second home owner, long time local, vacationer or someone just passing through on I-70. I believe Frisco can continue to strengthen its position as a welcoming and memorable community.

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