Keith is basing his candidacy on the following priorities and principles:
- Be an active listener to his constituents and respond quickly.
- Be an advocate for Colorado Springs at the state level.
- Focus Council activities on fiscally responsible strategic planning.
- Move Council meetings from afternoons to evenings to increase public participation.
- Restructure City Council to function like Legislature.
- Local control of Colorado Springs Utilities and low rates are a must.
- Obtain lower water rates for parks.
- No tax increases are necessary to support the City’s general fund.
Learn about where Keith stands on the issues (taken from the Gazette survey):
What is your relevant experience for this office?
My experience has been of entrepreneurial leadership and service. I started Waterbed Palace and opened 18 stores around the nation. I led teams to start four charter schools, three of them in Colorado Springs. I have served on four public boards, including a school board, a state board appointed by the Governor, and a national board appointed by the Secretary of Education. I was elected four times to the Colorado House and one time to the Colorado Senate. I was House Majority Leader and served on a wide variety of committees in the Legislature.
What governance model is best for Colorado Springs Utilities and why?
I support the control of CSU by the City Council. There should be an advisory board consisting of people who specialize in utilities to advise City Council. I also believe that City Council must remain in control of the major decisions like rate increases, bonds, and plant updates. Our goals for governance must involve public accountability in both the short term and long term. We must be committed to delivering reliable utilities at the lowest possible rates and to retaining local control. I do not support selling utilities.
Should the city of Colorado Springs allow marijuana retail operations, as permitted under Amendment 64? Why or why not?
We need to ban marijuana retail operations until the Legislature passes the bill to enable Amendment 64. After learning the legislative framework, the following principles must be honored before I would even consider allowing retail operations. The zoning requirements must keep it a very safe distance from all schools. Stores must be kept out of residential areas. The product must be taxed like alcohol, as the amendment permits, to help cover extra enforcement, legal costs, and an educational program to encourage students not to use the product.
How should Colorado Springs pay for the backlog of needed stormwater infrastructure projects?
The storm water issue is not just a Colorado Springs issue but a regional issue that requires participation by all governments in the water shed area. The storm water solution must focus on those areas of the system most in need of improvement. Each governmental entity must determine how to prioritize the need for this issue in light of other governmental needs. I believe there are spending adjustments that can be made to accomplish the goal. I do not support a general tax increase for this purpose.
What, if anything, should the city do about the downtown Martin Drake Power Plant?
Martin Drake is a vital part of the electricity system. I do not support closing it. I believe that both the short-term and long-term planning will indicate that it is a valuable asset. We are able to produce electricity for approximately $21 per megawatt at the plant. That is very efficient and keeps rates low. In time, we will need to retire turbine five, but it is projected to have at least 10 more years of economical service. I will change my mind about closing Drake only if the task force produces extraordinary and undeniable evidence.
What should the city's strategy be to strengthen the economy and create jobs?
City government's top priority should be to create an environment that shows the nation we are open for business. To accomplish that, the following strategies are necessary: a tax policy that encourages businesses to move to the city; utility prices that are the lowest in the state; low property, use, and business personal property taxes; a strong education system that develops our students into productive employees; an emphasis on the natural beauty of our city by supporting trails and parks; and a quality transportation infrastructure.
How would you rate the city's new strong-mayor form of government and what, if any, changes need to be made to it?
I give it a B. I believe we must amend the Charter to allow City Council to function as a legislative body. I also believe the strong mayor system has been difficult to implement because there was no road map. Any new type of governance takes time to work out the bugs. I believe I can provide the leadership needed to move this city forward under this system of governance. The Mayor will need to be flexible in his dealings with the Council to make sure the two work together.
What is your position on oil and gas exploration and drilling in city limits?
Oil and gas exploration must be subject to fair and comprehensive planning. It must first and foremost be safe for the citizens of the city. Second, it must be done with careful consideration for the environment. Third, it must be done with respect for the property rights of the surface ground owners. Fourth, it must honor the property rights of the mineral owners. Fifth, it can be an economic stimulus to the economy. Sixth, the severance tax produced by production can help improve city infrastructure.
What is the most important issue facing your district and what would you, as a city council member, do about it?
The most important issue facing District 3 is job creation, which I addressed in my answer to Question 6. Another important issue is the cost of living. I support local control of utilities and low rates. A third important issue is improved transportation, along with police and fire safety. I support the proper equipment and personnel to make sure every citizen is protected and free to commute between home, work and play. A fourth important issue is downtown improvements. I support improving downtown infrastructure to stimulate shopping.