Ruth Kruger to challenge Mayor Ireland in May

By Troy Hooper
Real AspenMarch 29, 2011
Ruth Kruger is running for mayor.
Ruth Kruger

The longtime local real estate broker will challenge incumbent Mayor Mick Ireland for his seat in the May 3 election. Kruger, who earlier this month was appointed to replace Dwayne Romero on Aspen City Council, confirmed to Real Aspen today that she has gathered enough signatures supporting her mayoral candidacy and that she intends to officially file her petition at City Hall later this afternoon.

“I am running because the city needs to be run more like a business with less emotion,” Kruger said. “Aspen is a big business and it needs to be run like one. I think it's time for change and for someone to speak up for the businesses in town, our visitors, second-home owners, and employees in every field."

Kruger, who has served on city council for about two weeks, said the experience has been “eye opening” and that “it's very interesting the way meetings are run and the way decisions are made.”

Her pro-business platform should provide a stark contrast to the views of Mayor Ireland, whose critics over the years have tried to label him as "a socialist" for his aggressive affordable housing, open space and slow growth agendas.

“I recognize the fact that as smart as Mick is and as goodhearted as he is there is a need for stonger leadership,” Kruger said. “It's important to listen to people and their needs and to try to find solutions that work for them. … There is a need for respect for the boards and commissions and the employees and their time, their thoughts and their energy that they put into their recommendations.”

When Kruger was appointed to replace Romero, who left to become director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, at least a couple of the city council members said they wanted someone who would not run for council in May so as not to give anyone an unfair political advantage.

“I was asked if I was running for council and I'm not running for council,” Kruger said today. “I didn't say I wouldn't run for mayor. But to be honest, I had no intention then of running for mayor.”

Now, Kruger says, she “couldn't in good conscience walk away [from the board] in two months.”

So far, the only other candidate to challenge Mayor Ireland is local gadfly Andrew Kole, who has run for mayor twice before and failed. Kole also has run for a city council seat three times and lost.

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