Makepeace makes it official at the former Springs Utilities office at 18 N. Nevada Ave.
Mary Lou Makepeace
, nonprofit advocate and first female mayor of Colorado Springs, today outlined her platform for her new mayoral campaign
before a crowd of about 120 supporters.
Makepeace, who was introduced by City Councilor Jan Martin
, framed her campaign based on three verbs: inspire
Her message was one of inclusiveness to combat a malaise that's overcome citizens who feel they've been left out of civic debates.
"I hate it when citizens tell me, 'Face it, Mary Lou, our votes don't count,'" she said. "I've heard that too often. You know what? That's deadly for our community, deadly for democracy and that must change if we are to move forward. There is no hope for a community when citizens feel they have no voice except to vote no."
Makepeace's announcement drew more than 100 people despite frigid temperatures.
Makepeace pledged to encourage citizens to help set the long-range vision for Colorado Springs, including a repeat of the Springs Capital Improvement Program,
which resulted in voter approval roughly 15 years ago for a slate of construction projects totaling $88 million.
She also vowed to create two new facets of city government:
— In an effort to retain and involve young people in the city and city government, "I plan to establish a Young Professional Advisory Board
immediately to further those conversations and I will seek ways to include them in the city structure," she said.
— Because neighborhood organizations have been dealt with "too often" as adversaries by the city, she said she would create the Office of Neighborhood Outreach
"to build bridges, not fences between the city and the neighborhoods."
Makepeace also said she would work to remove barriers for growth of small and big business and find a way to complete many unfinished projects, such as parks and trails.
After she spoke, Hannah Parsons
, a business consultant, told the audience she moved here from Georgia 10 years ago, simply because she and her family wanted to live in Colorado Springs.
Hannah Parsons: Makepeace is her candidate.
"It was not a job that brought us here and it is not our jobs that keep us here," she said. "We represent a growing population who choose where and how we want to live and then find or create meaningful work to support it."
But she says in order to continue to attract and retain young people, "we need to see a dramatic shift in this city away from power and toward leadership, leadership that earns authority through transparency, understanding and trust, leadership that rewards innovation and empowers others, leadership that serves instead of demands and engages rather than commands ... But we must choose it."
Makepeace, she said, embodies those qualities of leadership.
Makepeace, 74, served as mayor from 1997 to 2003 under the council-city manager form of government. She has a degree in journalism and political science and worked in the Defense Attache Office in Prague and taught school in Madagascar. She holds a master's degree in public administration from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and served as executive director of the Community Council of the Pikes Peak region. She also worked as executive director of the Gill Foundation's Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado, awarding millions of dollars to hundreds of nonprofits across Colorado. More recently, she oversaw the Independent
's Give! campaign. She teaches political science courses at UCCS.
Others who are running are Justine Herring, Amy Lathen and John Suthers
. Incumbent Steve Bach
, who scheduled his monthly media briefing at the same time as Makepeace's announcement, hasn't said if he'll run.