A rainy Wednesday evening was no deterrent for about 30 people who showed up to the covered patio at Rice Bistro and Sushi to meet the candidates running for Littleton City Council.
The Littleton Business Chamber’s “business after-hours” gathering, which brings Littleton professionals together monthly, doubled as a meet-and-greet for community members and candidates on Oct. 11.
At-large candidates Pam Grove and Chris Campbell and District 2 candidate Robert Reichardt, who is running unopposed, shook hands and shared their platforms with voters at the event.
Andrea Vukovich Peters, who is running unopposed for District 4, did not attend due to illness, Littleton Business Chamber Executive Director Korri Lundock said.
Each candidate at the event spoke to the group for a few minutes to share their reasons for running and their priorities if elected.
Campbell, who grew up in the Littleton-Centennial area, said he has strong ties to the community.
He attended East Elementary School, Powell Middle School, Arapahoe High School and Arapahoe Community College. For the past 18 years, he has been an owner and operator of the Olde Towne Tavern on Main Street and he lives in the downtown area, he said.
“Littleton’s been great to me over the years, and so I kind of wanted to take this as an opportunity to try and get involved,” he said.
He said his main priority, if elected, would be to improve public safety.
“I believe whether it’s state, local or national, the number one responsibility of any government is to protect its citizens,” he said. “And I kind of wonder if we’re doing everything we can in that department.”
He said he has gotten to know many Littleton police officers over the years from being downtown and he has heard consistently that they need more officers and more funding.
“My first priority would be to make sure that we take care of police, fire, (emergency medical technicians) … everybody,” he said. “They need to have all the funding and tools necessary to do the job as best they can.”
In addition to running the tavern full-time, Campbell said he volunteers as an assistant football coach at Englewood High School.
“Running the bar and coaching high school football could not be more different, but I think that’s what I really enjoy about it,” he said. “I know how important (a) coach-player relationship can be, especially for some of the kids who come from a difficult family background.”
Grove, who is running for re-election, focused on accomplishments from her first term on the council.
“I think what I’m known for is being a citizen advocate,” she said. “I advocate for the citizens, I want to get them involved in citizen decision-making so that we have a stronger community, a more inclusive community.”
She said she values the character of Littleton, which she demonstrated through her work on the Unified Land Use Code to prohibit slot homes and non-owner-occupied short-term rentals.
She also values safety in Littleton, she said, adding that the city council’s proposed budget includes an increase in budget for the police department for officers, co-responders, case workers and dispatchers.
“I have worked with the chief of police and we’ve talked a lot about proactive safety — not just reacting to problems in our community, but being out there in our community,” she said.
As a former Historical Preservation Board member, Grove also said she values historical preservation and spoke about her involvement in the formation of the downtown historical district.
In addition, she spoke about the council’s priority of the environment and its recent creation of the Environmental Stewardship Committee.
She said economic vitality is important to her and she supported the revitalization of the Littleton Business Chamber and the creation of the Littleton Downtown Development Authority.
Grove said she keeps a dialogue with the citizens through her bi-annual citizen meetings.
“Everybody’s invited,” she said. “We listen to each other, we talk about relevant issues, we hear about other people’s opinions, and I think it’s important to be connected to the community.”
Reichardt, who is running unopposed, spoke about his service on the Littleton Public Schools Board of Education. He is reaching his term limit after eight years.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time on the board,” he said. “I feel like I’ve been a productive member of the school board … I see being on the city council as just a way that I can use my knowledge and skills and talents in a way to continue to support the community.”
Reichardt said he is not coming into his role with a “big change agenda” and he thinks the city is moving in the right direction.
He specifically said he thinks the city is doing good work on the topic of homelessness with the Tri-Cities Homelessness Initiative.
“I’m excited about continuing to think about how we can make it so we can have affordable housing in the community and we can have our teachers that work in our schools live in our community,” he said.
He said he is excited about the 3A sales tax that was passed in 2021 and the capital investments the city will be able to complete with that money, from roads to sustainable infrastructure.
“I’m excited about thinking about other investments we need to make in infrastructure in the city to kind of prepare us for the future,” he said. “We have to create infrastructure that’s nimble and can deal with the change in the times and I’m excited about addressing those issues.”
Another priority for Recihardt will be keeping the city council a functional team.
“The city council is absolutely functional now, and my goal is to keep it functional,” he said. “Having a functional city council is part of having a functional city … And I’m just here to try to do my part to make sure that the city council and the city can make decisions and move forward and make smart investments to prepare us for the future.”
Election officials will begin to mail ballots the week of Oct. 16.