Opinion | Kristen Stewart: Community character, collaboration crucial
Breckenridge Town Council candidate
- Occupation: Freelance publicist
- Years in Summit County: 18
- Family: Married, no children, two dogs
- Civic involvement: National Association of Mental Illness High Country, Building Hope Summit County, St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church, C-RAD, CASA of the Continental Divide, CMC Leadership Summit graduate
I am an Oklahoma transplant who has called Breckenridge home since 2002. After spending my first season here as a front-line employee, I became the public relations director for Breckenridge Resort Chamber (now the Breckenridge Tourism Office) in 2004. During the 2006-07 season, I began my career with Vail Resorts as the international PR manager, then transitioned to the head of public relations for Breckenridge Ski Resort until launching a freelance career in 2017.
For more than 15 years, I traveled the world to promote Breckenridge, giving me a unique perspective of Breck’s outstanding reputation and position in the travel and tourism marketplace. As a resident, I also understand the unique benefits and challenges locals face living in a popular destination. In both PR roles, I spent a lot of time listening in Breckenridge Town Council chambers and various town meetings. I didn’t always have the freedom to comment or participate personally, but now I can, and I’d like to offer a fresh perspective and voice for many of us working hard to maintain the Breckenridge character we fell in love with, while being open to opportunities and change that are inevitable in a thriving community.
My husband and I have a house in the Wellington neighborhood and share it with our two dogs. You can often find me making friends on the gondola, exploring local trails or working a shift at Goods or the Beaver Run Ticket office in part because I love talking to people about Breck! My passion for and knowledge of Breckenridge runs deep, and I want to help keep it friendly, approachable and adventurous well into the future.
Maintaining local character is my No. 1 priority — not unlike the current council and many others running in this election. It is something I believe we are all passionate about, but each of us brings a different perspective on how to achieve this because of our living, work and personal situations. While I work from home, I also have two side jobs to help me stay connected in the community and to our local economy. There are many of us who work multiple jobs to make life in Breckenridge work, and I hope to bring the Town Council better in touch with my demographic, generation and economic group. All my other priorities come from this one.
The town of Breckenridge has already done the hard groundwork on its priorities by developing a Destination Management Plan, with support of the Tourism Office and input from a variety of local groups and individuals. The plan was officially adopted by council last year, and I don’t want to see that important and hard work go to waste! The vision is: “Harmony of quality of life for residents and quality of place for visitors.”
“Leading environmental stewardship” is one of the plan’s goals, which is in sync with my second priority. I believe we are stewards of this amazing creation, so let’s be kind and smart about how we use and care for it. I know we are working hard to inform and educate visitors how to sustainably navigate our town through simple choices like leaving plastic water bottles at home, leaving cars at the airport, using local transportation and walking. However, if we locals aren’t committed to the same thing, the education effort with our guests is futile. We have the chance in the way we practice business, tourism and recreation to set standards for how to care about the place we live and be the best example to our guests.
My third priority is residents and collaboration. I have worked with so many people and businesses in town over the years in my professional roles, and I am inspired by so many of you, your hard work, hospitality, generosity and, of course, your passion for Breck. I believe there are many in the community who can help innovate, give feedback and participate in the governing process, and I want you to be involved! How can we tap into the incredible community knowledge and skills of our residents to achieve our goals? I believe we’ll get there if we work together!
I am strongly committed to our community and believe with a deeper commitment I can help ensure Breckenridge’s continued success and sustainability. I believe my experience and knowledge of the local government, history, ski area management and our talented locals are a great mix to help lead this town as a council member.
Kristen Stewart is one of nine candidates for four open seats on Breckenridge Town Council.
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