The Colorado Springs City Council informally selected Stephannie Finley Fortune on Monday to represent the southwest side of the city until April 2023 from among a competitive pool of candidates, including a few with previous city council experience.
Five council members backed Fortune, who brings extensive experience working behind the scenes in politics, to replace Councilman Richard Skorman, a long-time progressive voice. Skorman will resign his seat at the end of December to focus on his downtown businesses, including a restaurant, cafe, bookshop and toy store.
Councilman Wayne Williams was among the council members who supported Fortune, saying she brought experience working at the state and federal levels on policy issues, but noted she had stiff competition.
“I think we are blessed with an extraordinary high level of applicants,” he said.
Some of the other applicants included Terry Martinez, who garnered support from three city councilmembers. Martinez, a life-long Colorado Springs resident, ran for council previously and currently serves on the Law Enforcement Transparency and Accountability Commission. Former city councilwomen Sallie Clark and Brandy Williams were also among the seven finalists. The finalists were selected from a pool of 25 applicants.
Fortune has lived in Colorado Springs for 16 years and moved into Skorman’s district in November, she said.
Her extensive political experience includes work at all levels. On the federal level, she was chief of staff for Scott McInnis, a Republican who represented Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District in the 1990s. On the state level, she worked as the chief of staff to Lt. Governor Jane Norton under Gov. Bill Owens and as the assistant director and legislative liaison for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. She has also worked in public policy for state universities.
Within the Colorado Springs business community, she served as president of governmental affairs and public policy for the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce.
She also worked on the City for Champions initiative that included the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum, Robson Arena at Colorado College and other projects that have spurred economic growth, she said.
Fortune also has extensive experience with nonprofit organizations such as United Way, the Pikes Peak Workforce Investment Board and the Girl Scouts of Colorado, according to her bio with the University of Colorado Colorado Springs.
Like other conservative applicants, including Clark and Williams, she doesn’t support asking voters to legalize the sale of recreational marijuana in town, and she is against any mask or COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
Councilwoman Yolanda Avila pointed that Fortune’s positions do not necessarily align with Skorman’s, who has supported the taking the sale of recreational marijuana to the vote, among other more progressive positions.
“It’s not about your districts. It’s about District 3 and what District 3 asked for,” she said.
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