Welcome to Dear Fort Collins, a podcast dedicated to discussing issues in and around Fort Collins. In this series, we interview City Council candidates and Poudre School District board candidates, allowing you to get to know them better and make an informed choice when you go to the ballot. Today’s episode features Emily Francis, the District 6 Council representative and mayor pro tem, who is seeking reelection.
Background and Involvement in the City
Emily Francis, born and raised in Fort Collins, shares her experience of growing up in the city, attending local schools, and later becoming actively involved in community initiatives.
After spending some time away, she returned to be closer to her family and became increasingly involved in the community. Through her work in community organizing, she realized that many people didn’t feel like Fort Collins was a place where they could thrive and build a future. This realization fueled her desire to make a change and led her to run for City Council in 2019.
“We have a lot of work to do. I think we’ve made great progress. But in our community space, in our affordability space, climate, our transportation space, we have a lot of work to do. And I feel like continuing that on the past four years is important.”
Tackling Affordability and Creating a Sustainable Future
Affordability is a pressing issue in Fort Collins, and Emily recognizes the need to address it. She believes in making it possible for people to stay in the city, raise families, and age in place. This includes affordable housing and creating an environment where individuals and families can thrive.
In addition to affordability, Emily is passionate about tackling climate change and reducing carbon emissions. She believes in leaving behind a better planet for future generations and is committed to making Fort Collins a leader in sustainability.
“How do we make it more possible for people who live here to be able to stay here? How do we make it possible for people to raise a family here, for people to age in place here? It’s really important to me.”
Community Engagement and Trust
One of the key issues Emily wants to address is public information and public trust. She recognizes the importance of government responsiveness and inclusivity in decision-making processes. By ensuring that people feel heard and represented, she aims to build a stronger sense of community and make decisions that reflect the values of the residents.
“How does the government better respond and better include people in decision-making processes? How do people feel more heard? How do we reflect that better in our decisions on City council?”
Uniquely Qualified to Represent District Six
District Six is the most diverse district in Fort Collins, and Emily believes her work in leading with equity, diversity, and inclusion has prepared her to understand and address the diverse viewpoints within the district. Emily points to her practical experience on City Council for the past four years, providing her with valuable historical knowledge and insights into the workings of local government.
“I’m from Fort Collins. I have a very special and unique identity to Fort Collins. My work has been centered in leading with equity and diversity and inclusion.”
Learning from Mentors and the Community
Emily Francis has had the privilege of working with and learning from some exceptional leaders during her time on City Council. Kristin Stephens and Mayor Jeni Arndt have been instrumental in guiding her and providing different perspectives on leadership. However, she believes that the most valuable lessons come from regular residents of Fort Collins. Their insights and passion for the city have shaped her understanding of what it means to be a leader.
“I’ve learned the most from just regular residents living in Fort Collins. They have the most insight, they have the most passion about Fort Collins.”
The Power of Empathy and Understanding
If Emily Francis could have any superpower to help her community, it would be the power of empathy. She believes that empathy and understanding are essential in building a better community. By truly hearing and understanding each other, residents can come together and make decisions based on shared values.
“The power to hear each other in a way that we truly understand where each other is coming from… giving the power of empathy and being able to understand why your neighbor behaves the way they do or why things are different or why people have different viewpoints is then you can really get to how do we make decisions based on values.”
Following Her Passion Despite the Challenges
When Emily first told her mother about her decision to run for City Council, her mother questioned why she would choose to dedicate so much time and energy to public service at a young age. Emily shared she has no regrets and firmly believes that serving her community is the most valuable thing she can do. She has seen the impact of representation and the importance of being a role model for young women in Fort Collins.
“I’ve had young women call and just say ‘Thank you for being up there, it makes me feel like I can do these things and your representation just matters so much.'”
Engaging with the Campaign
You can learn more about Emily’s campaign at EmilyForFC.com.
Emily encourages residents to reach out to her directly, as she is eager to listen and engage with the community and municipal elections have a significant impact on day-to-day life.
“I would encourage everyone to get out there and vote.” – Emily Francis