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Letter to the editor: Andy Eppler: It is import to vote in this election

" There aren't any really poisonous or foolish or selfish people running in this election as far as I can tell," Eppler said.
Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash

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Ever since I moved into Longmont at the end of 2009 I have tried to be a loving and useful community member. I love our town and part of how I have tried to serve us over the years is by creating friendly and easily digestible guides to our local elections. My goal has always been to take the things that I know about our community and then try and figure out which candidates seem to best reflect that value system. After the first couple of elections that I did that for, I received great feedback from community members who felt like I helped them understand their options and the issues on the ballot. I'm not a political expert. It's not like I have some kind of special training in this area but politics are important to me. I am an atheist. I don't believe that there is a God who is watching out for us and so I believe we have to take care of each other. That is what I think the goal of good government is. 

This season, instead of writing one abbreviated document to summarize all of the various issues happening in our community, I decided to produce a 16 episode weekly television series called Boulder County Tonight, which featured not only fun comedy and commentary but real in-depth interviews with people running for office. It's sort of the ultimate version of my previous voters guide concept. I feel like the people who we interviewed gave us real candid and thoughtful answers. I'm very proud of the series and I'm proud to be able to say that all of the people running in our current election seem like decent, noble neighbors who are trying to help our community be as good as we all know it can be.

The thing that you're reading now is a more traditional version of the guide I usually produce but it will be even more succinct because you can always go watch episode number 13 of my show to hear my full commentary.

First, it's really important to note the following: it is important to vote in this election and you can feel good about a vote for any of these candidates. There aren't any really poisonous or foolish or selfish people running in this election as far as I can tell. I got to sit down with a fair number of them and while I do have an opinion and I will tell you who I'm going to vote for, just know that there are a lot of good options and there are no real wolves in sheep costumes here. 

Now, there are two seats available on city Council. My first vote is an easy one to cast. I have publicly supported Aren Rodriguez as a reasonable, clever, and forward-thinking candidate ever since he announced his first run for City Council. Since winning that election, we have seen him prove himself to be a wonderful community asset and an indispensable member of our local government. Because of his willingness to work with people he disagrees with and his ability to step into leadership roles when he is needed, I believe a vote to reelect Aren Rodriguez is appropriate. I think he is the kind of candidate that will be able to build the kind of future that Longmont wants, deserves, and believes in. I would say that his specialties are that he has really high level experience because he has already been serving very effectively on City Council, he represents the hopeful future of a younger demographic taking responsibility by serving the community in government, and he is a genuinely open-minded public servant. Keeping him on City Council is one of the keys to our future, in my opinion.

My second vote will be intended to inject fresh energy and ideas into the conversation on city Council. I think that there are couple of opportunities here. I wish another seat was open because I think fresh ideas and energy are completely essential for Council being able to build the new road to our future. After careful consideration and literal hours spent talking with most of these candidates I believe that our community interests will likely best be served by electing Tallis Salamatian. He has a great mind for business and a great heart for disenfranchised groups among us. I believe that those are key ingredients for Longmont leadership right now. Of course we need to pay close attention to our entrepreneurial scene and helping businesses recover from all the recent traumas but we would be losing a piece of who we are as a community if we lose track of our own heart to help those among us who were also devastated by the recent crisis not only in the economy and public health but also the impossibly aggressive rise of rent and other housing options in our community. Longmont has always been a place where we celebrate community and our community has been pretty beaten up over the last couple of years. Candidates that I am endorsing are candidates that I believe care about that part of our story and won't lose sight of it. I think his specialties are his high-level experience in running successful businesses, his community engagement being genuine and wide-reaching, and his empathy; which is sometimes an overlooked but essential quality in a public servant. He also represents the same hopeful demographic as Mr. Rodriguez and even though these two candidates don't necessarily see eye to eye on all of the issues, I do believe that some mixture of their ideas will be a wonderful answer for us going forward. I believe a vote for Tallis Salamatian is appropriate. 

I would like to offer you another option for your vote instead of just telling you how I will be voting and then recommending you do exactly what I do. So, another person that I would absolutely vote for if I had one more vote to give is Shiquita Yarbrough. I was delighted to meet her when she came on my show and I have had a few private conversations with her since. I believe her to be a very noble and honest person who represents a lot of what we need and love about our community. She has a strong desire to serve our community and I think she would have wonderful insight to offer. She understands the kind of ground-level and community-centric issues that I think are so vital for us right now. She also represents a demographic that is very much needed in our local political discourse. I would say that her specialties are her obvious intelligence, her caring heart for our underserved communities, and her fresh perspective which has been missing on City Council in Longmont literally since its inception. I can totally recommend a vote for this person.

As for the Mayoral race, my vote is going to go to Mr. Tim Waters. When he came on my program we found much common ground. I think he is a decent and honorable man. He seems to have a balanced view and approach to solving our community level issues while simultaneously keeping an eye toward the horizon for entities or companies that might like to take advantage of us. In the next several years we will start having big companies coming through trying to take advantage of us in our vulnerability. I believe that Tim Waters has the kind of experience and business savvy it takes to protect us. His specialties seem to be his propensity for frankness, his ability to communicate complex ideas, and his long history serving in education, which I think proves that he cares about the future and the people that will be living in it. I think that a vote for Tim Waters is appropriate.

So there you go, Longmont. Those are my endorsements. I hope if you disagree with my endorsements that you will forgive me. Hopefully, Google searches for "how to build a working crucifix" do not increase in our city. haha.  I hope that you will remember that our community is in some version of love with each other and that our local government is merely an expression of that truth. Let's get out our ballots to decide the best way to love each other and then let's get on with it. See you around town. 

Sincerely, your unelected local artist. 

Andy Eppler

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