Mayoral candidates for the April 1 town of Wellington election
Jack Brinkhoff, 43, always thought he wanted to live in the mountains, where he grew up, until he settled in Wellington. He no longer hankers for the hills. After two years at Front Range Community College, where he studied welding, his career took a turn. Today he works in sales for Mountain States Pipe and Supply.
He wants to become the next mayor of Wellington because he sees the town as on the verge of great things — about ready to turn the page and ascend to the next level. He’s excited about all the good people who want to be involved.
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Important issues include the development of Wellington Community Park, revitalization of downtown and deciding the best way to provide police protection for the town. Brinkhoff has 16 years’ experience as a trustee and believes the town must plan now for the future. With growth will come increased needs for water, sewer and other utilities. When asked why he wanted to take on an even more time-consuming job he admitted, “I’m not happy unless I have 20 things going on at the same time.”
Arlene Schiffman, 53, self-employed, has a degree in business administration from Colorado State University. She is married to Kirk Alley and they have a 15-year-old daughter. Schiffman has served as secretary for the Wellington Community Activities Commission and is on the Larimer County Juvenile Corrections Board. This is the first time she has sought elected office.
Priorities include deciding the best method of law enforcement, making sure residents are aware when major changes are proposed, and increasing job opportunities to promote a larger tax base. She would like to see Wellington’s town government engage more with residents and businesses and make decisions that reflect the needs of everyone in town.
“We need an attractor that offers something that Fort Collins and Loveland don’t have, that will bring people here,” Schiffman said. She believes a major outdoor/sporting goods store would draw customers from the surrounding area, increase Wellington’s tax base and make amenities possible without incurring debt.
The Schiffmans chose to live in Wellington because of its small-town feeling, friendly neighbors and safe atmosphere. “It’s a great place to raise our daughter and is close to my husband’s work,” she said.
Raymond Billington, 46, worked in correctional food service management for 17 years and has received several awards in his field. He has volunteered with Make-a-Wish Foundation, Boys and Girls Club, Wellington Recreation and the Southwest Improvement Council partnership for building local communities. He has a bachelor’s degree in institutional management from Texas Tech University. He has been married to Angie for 25 years, and they have four children — one at the University of Northern Colorado and three in Wellington schools. He serves on the planning commission, attends town board meetings, and believes Wellington is “in the beginning stages of a great transformation,” he said. “The decisions made will forever shape the community.” He wants to keep family values “at the core of our direction.”
Billington’s major concerns for Wellington are Cleveland Street and Boxelder stormwater drainage issues, future water needs, Wellington Community Park construction, downtown revitalization and growth, viable law enforcement, town communication and efforts to create a cohesive Wellington identity.
He’d like to see subdivisions, city government and local businesses unite to promote the most beneficial outcomes in growth while maintaining the positive family values that can thrive in small communities.
Mishie Daknis, 49, mother of five, has an associate’s degree in business management, enjoyed serving on the Wellington Town Board (2006-2012) so much, and cares so deeply for her hometown, that she’d like to return to the board. She has been on a sheriff’s committee to address issues around school resource officers and the DARE program, served two years as Eyestone PTO president, organized a soldiers’ send-off and welcome-home program and a recognition night for the Boys and Girls Club, and currently chairs the Wellington Housing Authority, where she has served five years.
“Wellington is a unique community,” Daknis, said. “I’m willing to give my time to help the town grow responsibly and maintain its uniqueness.” As an initiator of Wellington Community Park, she has a special interest in seeing it become a reality. She wants to be engaged in the process of bringing new businesses to town and seeing Wellington pace itself as it grows. “Everyone needs to be involved,” she said. “I’d like to see that new businesses who come to town appreciate our uniqueness and share our vision of what it is that makes for a good community.”
Affordability brought the Daknis family to town. Falling in love with the place means they will stay.
Barry Friedrichs, 60, an economist, sells bullion gold and silver to investors, and has experience in real estate, insurance and mortgage brokering. “I am a Christian. I believe in the U.S. Constitution, I am conservative, and I am a fiscal conservative,” he said. He studies world news daily, loves history and shares what he learns in an economic consulting blog.
He has been president of an HOA, serves on the Wellington Planning Commission and Housing Authority and served on the town board for six months a decade ago.
“I want to leave this town better than I found it, and at least be able to say that I did something about it. I have intelligence and wisdom that can be used to the betterment of the town of Wellington,” Friedrichs said.
He wants to make Wellington business-friendly and avoid “shooting ourselves in the foot and driving away the economic engines that provide employment that allows Wellington to thrive and be productive. I will think outside the box,” Friedrich said. He envisions Wellington as a well-managed, quiet town and at the same time growing and dynamic.
Travis Harless, 35, grew up in Eaton, holds a bachelor’s degree from CSU and is married to Tami. He served six years in the U.S. Air Force and was deployed to Iraq and South Korea.
His interest in representing the whole community led him to seek a position on the board of trustees. He regularly attends trustee meetings, listens to all sides and keeps an open mind. Because he grew up in a small town, he is especially interested in seeing Wellington retain that flavor. “I love being able to walk to any establishment in town and be greeted by a friendly, smiling face,” he said. He likes “bike rides on safe streets, parades through the heart of town and friends on every corner.”
Major concerns revolve around the responsible development and management of Wellington. “It’s important to consider sustainable growth along with the history and culture that makes Wellington unique,” he said. “There are those who would sacrifice our heritage and way of life to further personal agendas or make a quick buck.”
Why did he choose to live in Wellington? “One stop light and an old house had me sold in a heartbeat!”
Ashley Macdonald studied criminal justice for three years, holds a Colorado real estate license, and works as Transaction Coordinator for The Rocky Mountain Investment Group in Loveland. Married for eight years, she has 3- and 5-year-old children. She was attracted to Wellington by community events, the school system, location and affordability. “I worked for Kinzli Team Real Estate for more than a year and their participation and dedication to the community has been an inspiration,” Macdonald said.
She decided to run for trustee after being approached by community members concerned that Wellington town board has a reputation for being “unapproachable, intimidating and difficult to work with.” She wants to meet the needs of young families, encourage shopping options and generate interest for economic development without sacrificing small town charm. “There is a link missing somewhere and it has to be found and repaired if Wellington wants to transition away from a ‘commuter community,’” Macdonald said.
She attends town board meetings, Wellington Area Chamber of Commerce events and HOA meetings, volunteers for CAC and stays current with happenings in the surrounding area.
Important to Macdonald are Cleveland Street drainage, parks and trails projects, the need for a local high school, law enforcement and development of Wellington “as a place where we can stay close to home, go to the park, eat, shop and attend school.”
Jim McIntosh, 54, works for Quality Well and Pump in Ault and holds a bachelor’s degree. He has no formal political experience, but is actively involved in his home town and believes that at one time or another, every citizen should take their turn in local government.
As a trustee, he would promote financially-prudent growth for Wellington. “Avoid going into debt as much as possible to obtain needed/desired amenities,” he said. He would love to see a high school in Wellington and believes the time has come.
McIntosh wants Wellington to be a place where people want to be and where residents don’t feel it necessary to go elsewhere to shop, recreate, etc. He notes that since moving to town in 2001, Wellington has taken great strides in growing and becoming a “self-contained” town. He would work to make Cleveland Avenue a destination place for visitors, possibly involving the Colorado Downtown, Inc. and Department of Local Affairs program currently in the works. “Wellington is a great small town with good schools. A great place to raise a family,” McIntosh said.
Matt Michel owns the Wellington Team at Keller Williams Real Estate. He was born in Pueblo, was an Eagle Scout and missionary for his church in South Korea for two years. He has five children in Wellington schools. He has bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and physical science and a minor in math from CSU, and worked as a chemist for five years. He has been scoutmaster for a local troop and serves on the Housing Authority as a citizen commissioner.
Growth is his most important concern. “I believe the decisions made over the next few years will have a profound effect on the long-term image and quality of life in Wellington,” Michel said. His focus as a trustee will be on: making sure residents have things to do in town, creating a healthy business environment, encouraging involvement from areas surrounding Wellington, fostering good relations with Poudre School District, and making sure the town stays fiscally healthy and strong.
Michel believes Wellington can create community by connecting parks and trails, developing Cleveland Avenue to attract business, making sure schools have moral and financial support from the town, and planning for a larger town hall, community recreation center/pool and a high school. He would encourage construction of affordable homes and by offering incentives and continue a pay-as-you-go mentality that avoids increasing taxes and keeps utility bills in check.
“I plan on living in Wellington for a very long time and want my children to be proud to call Wellington home,” Michel said.
David Noe, 64, is married and has lived in Wellington for 17 years. He is a Larimer County Sheriff’s deputy. “The reason I’m running for the office of trustee is simple,” Noe said, “I wish to serve the community that I live in.”
Issues most important to him are making sure that Wellington stays financially secure, improving recreation opportunities and improving ways to communicate with residents and businesses.
Noe has been a Wellington trustee for 11 years but chose not to run two years ago because of other obligations and the need for a break. He spent 13 years on the Wellington Planning Commission and also left that position two years ago.
Noe’s vision for his hometown is making it possible for Wellington to keep its small-town image while encouraging managed growth that pays its own way.
“I chose to live in Wellington because of its small-town image and affordability,” Noe said.
Tim Singewald, 61, grew up in Broomfield, attended the University of Wyoming and CSU, and holds a banking degree from University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was in charge of operations for a Denver bank which grew to be the largest independent bank in the state. At age 30 he bought a guest ranch and wilderness outfitting business in the Jackson Hole area in Wyoming. He and his partner, Jilda, looked far and wide before they chose Wellington as their retirement place because of its rural environment and small town America feel. Singewald serves on his HOA where he has addressed financial and other issues by setting priorities and moving forward with solutions.
As a trustee he will use “management-by-objective” skills to make things happen. His vision is to “develop a more effective way to make the process work. I see community communication as one of the biggest issues needing to be addressed. I’ve been to most trustee meeting and a lot of time is spent on the same issues. I’ve seen and experienced that frustration.”
He has no business interests that can benefit from his involvement and says he is too new to the area to have political agendas or associations.
“If the people in Wellington elect me, I’ll do my best to make it a bit better by the time I leave,” Singewald said. “There is a lot to accomplish.”
Robert Williams, 68, a part-time business instructor at Front Range Community College, has a bachelor’s in math and a master’s of business administration. He’s been married to Jennifer for 45 years and they have three children. Williams said his background in business, computer systems, management and quality control, and skills as a communicator and trained facilitator can provide the know-how needed to make Wellington a better community.
He has served on the Wellington CAC, a committee to save the supermarket, and has been liaison between the Methodist Church and Boy Scout Pack 435. He was an active Rotarian and served on several boards when he lived in Pennsylvania.
He would like to see Wellington balance its rich small town tradition with well thought-out growth to become a community where all feel safe, engaged with their neighbors, and in a great place to live and raise families.
He retired to Wellington because it is equidistant from his grown children, close to Fort Collins, affordable and has little traffic.