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Richard Skorman endorses two candidates to replace him on Colorado Springs City Council in controversial selection process

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Recently-resigned and longtime District 3 city councilman Richard Skorman has spoken out on social media regarding his potential successor ahead of a second special meeting this week to appoint his replacement.

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On Thursday morning, Skorman confirmed that he posted a letter to his constituents on the Nextdoor app Wednesday evening, recommending that one of two of the seven finalists succeed him -- Terry Martinez or Toby Gannett.

Skorman, who isn't allowed to be involved in the process to select his replacement, said that he hasn't spoken publicly about it out of respect for the candidates and to avoid interfering.

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He said that he's also kept a low profile recently as he recovers from COVID.

However, with the City Council deadlocked on filling the vacant seat after a 2 1/2-hour special meeting that included spirited public comment, he said that he has received many requests to make a public statement.

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"I know and respect all the frontrunners to succeed me," he wrote in the letter. "I'm surprised but actually encouraged. I think it's great that people cared so much, that they reached out. I had hundreds of people reaching out to me, and I feel like this is what democracy should be about. People really care about their City Council and who represents them."

Martinez finished second to Stephannie Fortune in the Council's nomination process a month ago; Fortune did not get the required minimum of five votes to be sworn in Tuesday as the vote ended in a 4-4 tie.

During Monday's meeting and since the Council deadlock, Martinez has been commonly mentioned as the best candidate; Skorman supports Martinez partly for being Hispanic and providing a strong voice for minorities as well as leading in a newspaper poll of the finalists.

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Skorman also supports Gannett for his relative youth -- being the Council's youngest member at 49, if appointed -- and believes the Council would benefit from his enthusiasm and experience as a business and civic leader.

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Both candidates, Skorman said, are longtime district residents who share his priorities such as business development, social justice, parks and environmental issues.

"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," Skorman wrote. "But for me and many others, this is really about the will of the voters."

Dana Duggan, an outspoken district resident, was skeptical of Skorman's letter.

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"And the reason is because when you do it in this 11th hour, I believe makes it questionable as to what's really going on," she said. "Furthermore, the endorsement of two people seems to be an odd approach."

There also is growing support for finalist Sallie Clark, a former Council member and El Paso County Commissioner, because of her experience in elected offices, her longtime district residency and being a small business owner.

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Fortune's nomination stalled after much of Monday's public meeting comments accused the Council of following its own agenda and not listening to the district about who should represent it.

Another criticism was Fortune having moved to the district only two months ago.

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Some Council members suggested that Fortune run for an at-large seat in 2023 when there will be several vacancies; however, she doesn't appear interested in doing so and expressed doubt that she'll be appointed after Friday's special meeting.

Skorman announced his resignation in November to focus on his downtown businesses. Read his entire letter below:

From Richard Skorman

Dear Friend

Today, I am announcing my unequivocal support of 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 to succeed me.

These two are by far the best candidate 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. I won 60% of the vote and my closest opponent 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 business). 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 and affordable housing 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 and our City and this Council need their experience, enthusiasm, and pragmatism. 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. Our City and this Council would benefit from his experience, enthusiasm, and pragmatism. Toby would also become our youngest City Councilor at 49 years old.

Another long-time D3 resident, Terry Martinez has been a friend and a colleague for several years. As a very respected retired principal from the Harrison School District and as a founding member of our Law Enforcement Transparency and Accountability Commission (LETAC). As a Hispanic, Terry knows first hand about our minority communities in Colorado Springs and would another needed 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 and more than some sitting Councilmembers. 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 park funding. Many are social justice advocates and care about the homeless. 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 Stratmore. 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 Council was deadlocked over his replacement choice, he was asked his opinion and chose Mike O’Malley. 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

Scott Harrison

Scott is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Scott here.

Comments

17 Comments

    1. I concur. The Idea Of ‘people OF That district’ MAKE their choice known, is the Only VALID choice, If it’s Sally Clark, who HAS lived in it,for so long, so be it.

      1. Check…Check…Check…I see your at it again commenting on my comment which only goes to show your inability to comprehend someone else’s comment as worthless seemingly making all your points moot. Great job…can you send a waiter up to your head…I’m getting hungry in here?

        1. When you express that something ought not to be allowed, but don’t justify it, you justify receiving appropriate criticism, like it or not.

  1. It’s funny how almost all politicians have two or more opinions on most subjects, often conflicting ones.

  2. Richard Skorman will be missed, but the rejected candidate who moved in to the district specifically to apply for the vacant seat should not have been considered. Sallie Clark’s history speaks for itself, which is why she should NOT be considered. Her judgement regarding agricultural issues and decisions coupled with her naivety of her past role as County Commissioner in agreeing to be a campaign manager for a former candidate (Lisa Czeladtko) are just a few items on her resume’ to be considered…

    1. And how did I know you of all people would miss Skorman? Oh that’s right…just flying your true colors there cwa?

      1. RichieDik,
        Again with the insults. Send a waiter up to your head, I’m getting hungry up here!
        I have served on several committees with Mr. Skorman, and while I don’t always agree with him, he is one of the best listeners and finest folks I’ve ever met…quality individual from head to toe.
        Let me try to bridge the gap from reality and your tiny little mind: Grab her in the Pu$$y. There. Feel better?
        (I like you. I think you’re funny).

  3. Wow…cwa…you just keep them coming! I like my position now…I’m in your head too. Now I have started a complex of living quarters in two heads…impressive to say the least!

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