Fort Collins, recognized for its picturesque landscapes and thriving communities, is at a pivotal point with upcoming City Council elections. The Dear Fort Collins podcast serves as a neutral platform allowing City Council candidates to present their viewpoints and foster engagement with neighbors. This article, part of the 2023 Election series, sheds light on the aspirations and motivations of various candidates running for office in even-numbered districts.
Eric Hamrick, a contender for City Council in District Two, has been part of the Fort Collins community for over 25 years, involving himself in diverse local initiatives and institutions. His campaign emphasizes the importance of direct citizen engagement and addressing the concerns of the residents.
The Need for Genuine Citizen Engagement
One of the key motivations behind Eric’s decision to run for City Council is his belief that the current council has not adequately listened to the concerns and input of the citizens they represent. He cites examples such as the repeal of the land development code and a lawsuit involving the Sanctuary Field neighborhood as evidence of the council’s failure to prioritize citizen engagement. Eric believes that genuine and meaningful citizen engagement is crucial for effective governance and ensuring that the voices of the people are heard.
“Our citizens deserve in a genuine and meaningful way to be heard. And so I think citizen engagement is key, and I think that’s being lost… Council is not really listening to the citizens they’re supposed to represent. And that really got me motivated to run for council.”
Experience and Qualifications
Eric draws on his varied experiences, including his previous tenure on the council from 2001 to 2005 and his time in the Air Force, to inform his approach to governance, emphasizing the value of collaboration, consensus-building, and continual learning from residents.
“I have the experience and the knowledge to really make a difference and to listen to people and to make sure all sides are considered… I don’t know everything, and I think it’s important to actually be open to learn from the residents as well.”
Public Service Influence: Kelly Olsen
When asked about his role models in the realm of public service, Eric mentions Kelly Olsen, a proponent of open spaces and natural areas in Fort Collins. Eric admires Kelly’s ability to reach across the aisle and bring people with different perspectives together to find common ground. He sees Kelly as an example of effective leadership and consensus-building, qualities that he aspires to emulate.
“What I’ve learned from Kelly is that I’ve watched him in a lot of meetings. What he does to reach across the aisle and to talk to people of different perspectives and even different opinions, he brings those people on board and he reaches consensus with them.”
Aspiration for Unity
If Eric could have any superpower to help his community, he would choose the ability to bring people together and eliminate polarization. He recognizes that Fort Collins, like many communities, faces divisions and disagreements, and he believes that fostering unity and consensus is essential for progress. Eric wishes for the capability to bridge divides within the community, focusing on bipartisan local issues with the aim of progress and ensuring a high quality of life for all residents.
“I wish I had the superpower to bring people together, we’re all here locally. We care about clean air, we care about clean water, we care about the Parks and Rec, purely local issues that shouldn’t be partisan. Bringing people together on those kinds of matters is critical.”
Advice and Lessons Learned
Reflecting on his experiences, Eric shares a piece of advice that he wishes he had taken earlier in life: to stop worrying about things beyond his control. Eric advocates focusing on controllable aspects and actionable areas while not overstressing over uncontrollable elements. He applies this philosophy to his governance approach, prioritizing attentiveness to constituents and responsiveness to community impacts.
“Not everything that comes your way, you’re going to be able to control. Focus on the things that you can control and things that you can do. You can’t do everything, you can’t control everything.”
Engaging the Citizens of Fort Collins
Eric believes that citizen engagement should be a priority for the City Council, and he plans to actively reach out to the community through monthly meetings and town halls. Eric intends to place resident engagement and inclusivity at the forefront of his governance model, proposing regular community interactions to involve citizens directly in policy-making processes.
“It’s important to the citizens to be heard. It’s one of the first rules of government, to make sure that the people that are impacted by your policies should be involved in those policies. I think we need to do a much better job of engaging the citizens of Fort Collins.”
Conclusion: A Commitment To Citizen Engagement
Eric Hamrick’s candidacy for City Council in District Two focuses on his commitment to citizen engagement and inclusive governance. It’s important to note that this episode is part of a series and does not endorse any particular candidate. Voters are encouraged to consider the viewpoints of all candidates to make informed decisions for the forthcoming November 7 election.
Learn more about Eric here: https://erichamrick4fortcollins.com/
Note: This article is based on a podcast interview with Eric Hamrick, a candidate for District Two City Council in Fort Collins. All quotes are verbatim from the transcript of the podcast episode.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any agency or organization.