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Council members will decide if they will confirm the appointment of Stephannie Fortune.

Entering 2022, Colorado Springs loses the service of City Councilman Richard Skorman — a businessman who has served his community with a passion few could match. Even those who disagree with Skorman’s views respect his intelligence, integrity and love for this community. Filling his shoes will be difficult, as Skorman moves on to focus more attention on his downtown businesses during a troublesome time of labor and supply shortages.

Skorman’s fellow council members chose someone with similar devotion to making the Springs a better place. On Monday, council members will be wise to confirm the appointment of Stephannie Fortune. She will help them continue as the best, most balanced and functional council the city has seen in generations.

Though Skorman served as an icon of the Colorado Springs progressive community, he was seldom driven by political doctrine. He voted with conservative members if he thought doing so would create jobs and improve District 3, composed of downtown and other southwest portions of the city. He worked more as a pragmatist than a political ideologue.

Fortune provides the perfect option to continue Skorman’s work. Far from an ideologue, she is known for her longstanding and indefatigable dedication to improving Colorado Springs by working with everyone.

Fortune’s energy and accomplishments in Denver and the nation’s capital led the former University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak to recruit her to the Springs more than a decade ago. Shockley-Zalabak, like Skorman, is known for putting Colorado Springs above other concerns.

Fortune — known to longtime Springs residents as the former Stephannie Finley — transcends political division, so it’s no wonder the acclaimed former chancellor wanted her to live and serve here.

Fortune (as Finley) led the promotion state-funded projects that include two sports and events venues and the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum in District 3. Her work helped establish the Hybl Sports Medicine and Performance Center, a pending new visitors center at the Air Force Academy, and more.

We watched Fortune secure these assets under a program known as City for Champions. It is hard to imagine any of it coming to fruition without her successful effort to persuade the Colorado Economic Development Commission to help fund them.

Fortune’s work triggered fortune for the Springs (silly pun intended). Her accomplishments have led investors to believe in the city, encouraged young professionals to move here, and have made the Springs attractive to executives starting or relocating businesses. The projects helped nudge Southwest Airlines to offer flights out of Colorado Springs after years of taking a pass. In addition, Fortune has:

• served as executive director of the Center for Regional Advancement, and adviser to the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce

• co-founded a business to deliver food to military commissaries

• worked as an “executive-on-loan” to city government

• worked as chief of staff for a former member of Congress and as part of the advance team for former President George H.W. Bush — a moderate by any stretch of today’s political standards.

• worked with the United Way, the Colorado Springs Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, a variety of other nonprofits, and more.

Fortune’s apolitical devotion to achievements, similar to Skorman’s, reveals a leader with unique abilities to improve our community. She’s a strategic thinker, tenacious achiever and builder of constructive nonpartisan relationships.

We look forward to her swift confirmation and the work she will do to make this great city greater.

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