‘Grassroots’ Martin defies incumbent trend in election

       Another Westsider became part of City Council April 3 when Jan Martin emerged as the top vote-getter in the election for four at-large seats.
       Re-elected to office were incumbent Westsiders Tom Gallagher and Randy Purvis, the second and third highest vote-getters, respectively.
       The fourth at-large post was won by another incumbent, Vice Mayor Larry Small. The winners were fairly close in numbers, with Martin tops at 27,949 votes and Small fourth best at 26,226.
       Mayor Lionel Rivera also was re-elected, swamping three challengers with just under 60 percent of the vote.
       Bernie Herpin, who was appointed to council a year ago, failed to retain his seat, coming up fifth in the balloting, nearly 5,000 votes behind Small. Fewer than 1,000 votes behind him were Tom Harold and Bob Null, while Dave Martin and Greg Timm garnered less than 17,000 votes each.
       Martin said she had no ready answer why she appealed to so many voters. Not endorsed by any major organizations, “we ran a real grassroots campaign,” she said. In the end, she had two times as many donations (243) as any other candidate, but was second to last in terms of total money raised.
       She believes voters responded to her message of “new perspectives and a fresh voice” and that “Colorado Springs needs to be more than it is today,” but admitted that she was mystified why the same voters also returned three of four incumbents.
       In any case, “I think citizens appreciate someone being elected in this manner,” she said. “Because of this, I will be serving the citizens. There is no large groups that I will be beholden to.”
       She has no specific issues she wants to press forward just yet. “I have a lot to learn,” she said. “I want to hear what people are thinking.”
       Martin has lived on the Westside since she was 14. She is unmarried.
       District 3 council member Jerry Heimlicher, who was not up for re-election this time, was glad Martin won. “I endorsed her myself,” he said. “It's time for new thinking. She's going to challenge the status quo.”
       In the election, 41.2 percent of registered voters mailed in or dropped off their ballots between mid-March and April 3.
       A swearing in ceremony for the four elected council members will occur at 10 a.m. Tuesday, April 17 at the Pioneers Museum. The public is welcome to attend.
       In other election results, voters approved:
       a measure to remove City Charter references to the obsolete position of city treasurer.
       term limits for the mayor.
       an end to city manager responsibilities for Memorial Hospital.
       a cable franchise for Porchlight Communica-tions.
       Voters disapproved an increase in council pay.

Westside Pioneer article