Candidate Questionnaire: Kelly Ohlson for Fort Collins District 5

Fort Collins Voter Guide Questionnaire: The city can best improve the Connexion roll-out process by doing what, in your opinion?

Kelly Ohlson: By better communication with the public about all aspects of the rollout and adding additional installation personnel if needed. We should also prioritize low-income populations and areas that often get left behind.

Citizens are concerned about Covid’s impact on education, downtown, community engagement, renters rights, workers rights, students, and local families. Where do you think the City of Fort Collins can do a better job of addressing the impact of Covid on our community?

The City could improve coordination and cooperation with the Federal, State and County governments and also make sure we are getting our fair share of COVID relief dollars. We should also maximize our efforts with not-for-profits. Communicating what assistance is available to people and businesses could also be improved.

image | kellyohlson.com

What do you see as Fort Collins’ greatest ecological challenge in the next four years, a concern particularly strong among students and young people. How do you believe we should face it?

Our air quality scores an F with the American Lung Association and is the 19th worst in the nation. Another issue is the destructive NISP water project that will very negatively impact the Poudre River and destroy an ecologically significant valley. And of course, we must take effective action on climate change and do our fair share to reduce our emissions in a timely manner.

Do you plan to vote for or against the ballot measure that calls for the City of Fort Collins to attempt to buy the Hughes Stadium property and turn it into open space?

I plan to vote for the measure.

What is your strategy for maintaining and increasing open space in Fort Collins?

I have been a leader of eight open space campaigns that have protected over 75,000 acres in Fort Collins and Larimer County. For these efforts, I received the prestigious national e-Town award. I have also been honored by the Sierra Club, Colorado Conservation Voters, and City and County governments. I currently serve on the City’s Land Conservation and Stewardship Board, and I will continue working hard to conserve more natural areas. The next ten years are critical or some very special places will be lost forever.

Where will you focus your energy in regards to improving public transportation in Fort Collins, particularly in regards to helping those who commute from the suburbs, students, and cyclists?

Improving bus transit with more routes and with increased frequency. We need to fill gaps in bicycle lanes and also improve their design for safety. Some intersections also need to be improved for bicyclists and pedestrians. All of these improvements will also make it safer for long boarders and scooter riders.

Do you believe that Boulder serves as a good model for how Fort Collins should grow? (Yes or no)

No.

Can we mitigate the negative impacts of growth while also building up Fort Collins’ affordable housing stock — and if so, how?

It will be difficult but we must try by strategically focusing our attention and resources on truly affordable housing units for lower and moderate income residents. One way to do this is to increase the amount of land in our land bank. This land is set aside for affordable housing, where we work with partners to ensure that the units are truly affordable and of good quality. We should also increase our efforts in assisting first-time home buyers with down payment assistance programs (no or low interest loans for example).

What is the one initiative you would most enthusiastically support that you believe would increase access to quality affordable housing in Fort Collins?

See two initiatives in the question above.

Would you vote to fully repeal U + 2? (Yes or no)

No.

Would you vote to expand U + 2 to Me + 3? (Yes or no)

No.

Would you support a “right size” housing policy that matches occupancy limits to number of bedrooms? (Yes or no)

No.

Would you support a rental registry program in Fort Collins? (Yes or no)

Yes.

For more on this candidate, you can visit their website here.

Methodology: A two question survey asking Fort Collins citizens which issues are important to them on the local level this upcoming cycle was shared on Fort Collins Reddit, in Fort Collins Craigslist, and with members of the Rocky Mountain Collegian & ASCSU for further dispersal. These avenues were chosen in an attempt to reach informed and engaged citizens of Fort Collins who might not be the ‘regular suspects’ who typically receive and respond to such surveys, but who nonetheless represent important and cross-sectional constituencies. Respondents could list multiple issues. No issues were prompted. There were 61 total responses to the survey. These questions are based on the seven issues citizens referenced most in the survey data, with issues referenced by three or more respondents chosen as question categories. Questions here are phrased in a way that most directly reflects the wording and perceived intent of survey respondents, while also pointing candidates toward revealing specific policy values. To see full responses, click here for the organized raw data.

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