Sallie Clark Announcement Speech, November 15, 2022
Good morning and thank you so much for being here, especially with this amazing backdrop of the mountains behind me, in this place with a legacy of history in the Pikes Peak region. It’s a great day in Colorado Springs and I’m excited to announce this morning, my official campaign for mayor!
I came from humble roots. My dad was a public school teacher who grew up on a farm in Pueblo. My mom worked part-time in a camera store and as a photographer, to make ends meet while raising four kids. As the youngest, I watched my parents get involved in our community, volunteering, and engaging in city politics when teen drug use and crime arose in our small town. My dad ran for city council and became mayor because he wanted to make a difference. And he did.
I love Colorado Springs. It’s my home. It’s the city where my husband of 42 years and I, started a business over 36 years ago. It’s the place where I fought to save our local fire station – my first and accidental step into public service. We have a bright future ahead and at the same time, we face new challenges. This place, our beautiful city, is where I served as a councilmember and a county commissioner. And it’s where I was honored to be selected by my peers as the president of a national organization representing local governments and was appointed as the Colorado state director of a federal agency.
So let me tell you why I am running for mayor. It’s simple. Our city and our people have what it takes to make Colorado Springs the BEST city in America. It’s time for me to come home and to get things done, for all of Colorado Springs.
Now let’s talk about my vision for our city and my priorities.
-Safe Neighborhoods, Businesses and Support for First Responders
Crime is on the rise while emergency response times continue to get worse. We must make our city safer. A day doesn’t go by without neighbors discussing crime concerns on social media: porch pirates, damaged vehicles, break-ins and feeling unsafe on our trails. My primary focus will be to reduce crime and improve 9-1-1 response times by providing additional public safety training and working with city leadership to tackle recruitment issues for police, 9-1-1 dispatchers, fire, and emergency services. And, while we love our most precious asset, our mountains and beloved Pikes Peak, I’ll be an advocate for pre-wildfire mitigation. As the commissioner who experienced the Waldo Canyon Fire, I know what needs to be done to prevent devastating forest fires. Emergency preparedness and planning is critical in providing evacuation plans that put residents in the driver’s seat, knowing their safest and fastest routes out of neighborhoods. We will not only set our standards for response times, we’ll report that to you, the citizens, and city council on a regular basis.
-Cost of Living
Who isn’t experiencing the worries of inflation? I’ll work with city council as the utilities board to minimize the cost of utilities. Our most vulnerable citizens, our seniors, on fixed incomes, are facing ever increasing costs where they must decide whether they buy medicine, food, or pay their utility bill. This city can do better.
-Homelessness and Affordable Housing
Today, more and more people are approaching that financial cliff…and it’s reached emergency proportions. As more of our residents’ experience poverty and untreated mental illness, the increase in homelessness is also ruining our cityscape and making our streets, parks and trails a danger. Why? Because of the lack of affordable housing. We must be strong and compassionate in addressing homelessness by implementing practices and successes from other cities to develop a model that is unique to Colorado Springs. My commitment as mayor will be to create our own wrap-around homelessness response model. Through collaboration, we will avoid the pitfalls of Denver, which is now struggling with closed businesses, downtown crime, drug abuse and homeless camps. It’s a safety and a health issue. Our city needs to address these issues, so we don’t become another Denver.
-Support For Our Military
As a military wife, I know first-hand, how difficult it is for families to be left behind during deployments. That’s why I will be dedicated to the city’s strong support and collaboration with our military installations, local, state and congressional leaders, and staff at all levels of government. It’s been said that if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu. Keeping a strong military presence in Colorado Springs and El Paso County is an economic development driver and just the right thing to do to keep our community, and our country, safe and strong.
While the pandemic may be behind us, our local businesses are facing an uncertain financial future with increasing burdens from government. Our city must be proactive in reducing regulations while promoting a healthy business climate and high wage jobs. Whether small or large, established or new, city government must get out of the way, so businesses can do what businesses do best.
-Quality of Life
To me, and I hope that to you too, quality of life means clean, well-maintained streets, opportunities for all types of recreation, parks and trails that are welcoming and safe. And it’s a city where we value preservation of our community’s culture, western heritage, history and neighborhoods, maintaining and improving what we have, as we plan for growth to assure water and utility needs are met, far into the future.
As a business owner, I know the importance of taking care of people. As mayor, I will work to ensure open and transparent city government. I also believe that communication is the key to maintaining and improving our community and giving citizens a voice. As an example, at the county, I championed live televised public meetings, increased social media presence and important website improvements. In my federal job with USDA, I implemented social media plans and created enewsletters to better connect with constituents. Would we ever have imagined, just a few years ago, that so many choices of virtual communication would exist today? In all of my experience, both in the private and public sectors, I’ve had a passion for communicating with people. As mayor, I’ll ensure your voice is heard in the mayor’s office, welcoming input from our residents. After all, we’re in this together.
-Planning For The Future
In serving you these many years, I’ve fought for our fair share, made tough decisions, and planned for the future. It’s about maintaining and improving our quality of life — for all of us.
We share the same goals: clean streets; smooth roads; kids who feel safe walking to good schools; trails that are well-maintained and welcoming; and the assurance that our water and utility needs are met. I have a proven track record of achieving goals for Colorado Springs, for El Paso County and for Colorado.
I’ve been a community leader and someone who has served at all levels of government from local to federal, worked collaboratively with people from all walks of life and across party lines. With all this leadership and executive experience, I’m uniquely qualified to serve in this role as the chief executive officer of the city, to get things done for Colorado Springs.
Join me in this effort. With your support, I will be OUR voice, in OUR city and just imagine what we can do together, when I serve as OUR mayor.