Suthers emailed us the following statement in response to Gaebler's comment on how he viewed older people moving to Colorado Springs:
Gaebler’s choice of words is unfortunate. What I’m sure she has heard me say is that the current workforce development needs of our high tech companies in Colorado Springs requires us to attract about 4,000 millennials a year to fill software engineering, cybersecurity and other high tech positions. We’re competing with San Fransisco, Boston, Austin, etc. Four years ago we weren’t attracting millennials. Today we are. The retirees moving here cannot fill those workforce needs. I’ve noticed that the bike lane debate is largely a generational one. Many of the older folks contacting me think of us as a retirement community. They don’t seem to understand that to keep really good employers here, we have to be attractive to young people who will fill their jobs. Thanks for the opportunity to clarify.
——————————ORIGINAL POST 2:50 P.M. WEDNESDAY, FEB. 27, 2019——————————
Jill Gaebler represents District 5.
City Council President Pro Tem Jill Gaebler, who represents District 5 northeast of downtown, seems to have ruffled some feathers with a comment she made at the Gazette's Battle of the Bike Lanes forum
Feb. 25. Gaebler's just issued an apology for the comment, which singled out older people, on her personal Facebook page.
Here's what she said at the forum: "The city of Colorado Springs believes implementing safe bike infrastructure is what is best for this community. It is what is safest for this community, and as the mayor has said many times now, and I will just speak his words, it is important for this city to add 3 to 4,000 35-year-olds every year for the next who knows how many years. Because we need them to be our workforce, to take our tech jobs, take those software designer jobs. The mayor will actually go further and say, I don’t care if one more 65 or older person moves to this city,
but I need those 3 to 4,000...I’m not quite done. We need those folks to move to our city, and those folks, those younger folks, want bike amenities."
On Feb. 26, Gaebler posted the following on Facebook:
I want to apologize for my recent statement regarding the workforce needs of Colorado Springs and hope to clarify. To continue the City's successful economic growth we need to attract 4,000 millennials a year to fill medical and high tech jobs (which make up the highest amount of job openings in the City). I was referencing workforce needs for the City and had no intentions of downplaying Colorado Springs as a one of a kind retirement destination.
I helped form the City's Commission on Aging and serve as its City Council Representative; the purpose of the Commission is to provide "ongoing and embedded advocacy for older adults in the municipal government of Colorado Springs." I've made it known throughout my six years on Council that my passions for Colorado Springs are a connected community and an accessible, livable community for all.
has reached out to Mayor John Suthers for comment and will update if and when he responds.
Unlike Suthers, Gaebler is not up for re-election this year. Her term ends in 2021.