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WATCH: Colorado Springs City Council selects Stephannie Fortune to fill vacant seat

Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 8:14 PM MST|Updated: Jan. 14, 2022 at 3:55 PM MST
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - UPDATE: Stephannie Fortune was selected. You can watch the vote at the top of this article.

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After the Colorado Springs city council was deadlocked on a candidate to fill a vacant seat, the man who originally held the position is throwing his support behind two candidates.

On Monday, council members were split on confirming the appointment of Stephannie Fortune to replace Richard Skorman on the council. Skorman stepped away from the position at the end of 2021 to focus on his business as they navigate the pandemic. Skorman served on the city council four times from 1999 to 2007 and 2017 until 2021.

Skorman provided the following statement on the matter:

“Today, I am announcing my unequivocal support for Toby Gannett or Terry Martinez to fill the City Council vacancy created by my resignation.

“I initially stayed silent on the contest to fill this seat out of respect for the many qualified candidates who applied and to not interfere with my former colleagues’ selection process. Now that Council is deadlocked on the choice of my successor, I have been inundated with requests from District 3 constituents that I should go public with my views. I know and respect all the frontrunners who were interviewed to succeed me.

“These two are by far the best candidates to represent my views and the needs of District 3. Here’s what we all know. I won all 33 precincts in District 3 by a strong majority just last April with 60% of the vote and my closet opponent only received 18%. I have never been shy about telling people that I am socially and environmentally liberal, care about social justice and parks, and I am also a supporter of business (especially small ones). In fact, hardly an article or a news story with a quote from me doesn’t place in the copy that I am a progressive, a liberal, a moderate or an environmental, homeless, affordable housing, advocate.

“Toby Gannett is a successful business owner, civic leader, and affordable housing champion. Terry Martinez is a former school teacher, principal, and community advocate.

“Both Toby and Terry are long-time District 3 residents who are committed to serving Colorado Springs. Toby and Terry embody the values, vision, and pragmatism that I have championed for decades. Both are leaders who work well with everyone. Our City and this Council would benefit from their experience and enthusiasm. Toby is an expert in affordable housing, a long-time supporter of our trails, open space, and parks, an environmental and social justice advocate, a fiscal conservative, and a well known civic and business leader. In fact, he was a popular acting CEO of the Chamber. Toby would also become our youngest Councilor at 49 years old with a great future ahead of him on City Council.

“Another long-time D3 resident, Terry Martinez has been a friend and colleague for several years. Terry is a very respected retired principal from Harrison School District, a former two time candidate, and a founding member of LETAC. As a Hispanic, Terry knows first hand about our minority communities in Colorado Springs and would give another valuable perspective to Council. Terry is also a key Board member of Westside Cares and Concrete Couch.After running for Council at-Large in 2019, Terry almost won with more than 20k votes. More importantly, he obtained many of those votes from District 3. Terry is reasonable, non-partisan, knowledgeable, pragmatic and well-liked by many in District 3, as evidenced by the fact that he is leading in a Gazette straw poll that was released yesterday.

“I really appreciate all the concerns from the Citizens of District 3 and the City as a whole. I like and respect all 7 of the finalists and if Toby or Terry aren’t chosen, I hope that the person chosen will reach out to me despite these endorsements.But for me and many others, this is really about the “will of the voters.” District 3 voters are moderate: they care about the environment, are worried about affordable housing, wildfire risk and sustainable park funding. Many are social justice and homeless advocates. District 3 includes Old Colorado City, the West Side to Pleasant Valley, Downtown, the Near North End, the Near East Side, Colorado College, Ivywild, Mill Street, Hillside, Adams Park and Stratmoor. And yes, the Broadmoor, Broadmoor Heights, Cheyenne Canon, Gold Hill Mesa and Upper and Lower Skyway. I know that District 3 residents want a replacement for me who is not partisan but also shares my values and passions.

“If selected, Toby or Terry would both carry out the voters’ will. I believe District 3 deserves the same courtesy as former Council-member Andres Pico and his District 6 were given a year ago when he had to resign his seat. When Council was deadlocked over the replacement choice, he was asked his opinion and thought that Mike O’Malley would better represent the voters in his District who elected him. I feel like they are at the same crossroad now. If they asked my opinion, I would choose either of these two to carry out the will of the voters, who overwhelmingly elected me last April.

“Thank you for indulging me one last time concerning local politics.

“Warm Regards, Richard Skorman”

A special meeting is schedule for Friday at 1 p.m. to revisit a list of candidates. The council has until Jan. 30 to make an appointment to replace Skorman.

The list of candidates includes:

-Brandy Williams

-Laura Gardner

-Terry Martinez

-Sallie Clark

-Stephannie Fortune

-Toy Gannett

-Arthur Glynn

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