Town of Superior Ballot Question and Candidates

Our 2023 Vote Guide Picks


Town of Superior Ballot Question 301: Home Rule Charter Commission 


This ballot question asks Superior residents to vote on forming a Home Rule Charter Commission, a nine-member group that will be responsible for drafting a charter within 180 days of the election. Residents will then cast an all-or-nothing vote on the charter in 2024, after which the commission will disband.

Adopting a home rule charter means the town will be governed by the local covenant as opposed to state statutes. This form of government gives the Town and its residents more control over issues like zoning, land use, elections and tax collection. As the Town’s website puts it, adopting a home rule charter means the community government will be “created by residents for residents.” The most-often cited pitfall of home rule charters is that they’re often difficult to amend, so if they’re written in a way that’s overly restrictive or inflexible, they can make town business more difficult. Town funds will be used to support the charter creation, including an estimated $15,000 to $20,000 for attorney fees. All associated fees for creating the charter will come out of the Town’s general fund and will not increase taxes. 

Superior’s population has grown nearly twentyfold over the past two decades, and adopting a home rule charter is par for the course for larger municipalities. There are currently 103 municipalities in Colorado that have home rule charters, including Boulder, Louisville, Lafayette, Broomfield, Longmont and Denver. We think a yes/for vote is a no-brainer here, especially because constituents will get to vote on the drafted charter next year. Plus, there’s a host of qualified folks on the ballot to serve on the Commission. 

Superior Home Rule Charter Commission Candidates

There are 11 residents running for nine seats on Superior’s Home Rule Charter Commission, the group which will draft the Town’s new governing document if approved by voters (see Question 301). The Commission will have 180 days to draft the charter in order to present it no later than May 5, 2024. After citizens cast an all-or-nothing vote on whether or not to accept the charter, the Commission will disband.

We believe there are no wrong choices in the vote for Superior Home Rule Charter Commission. Nine of the 11 responded to our questionnaire, and you can view their answers here. We suggest voting for them.

Dalton Valette is a legal consultant who wants Superior to have greater autonomy as a municipality. Not only does he bring knowledge of municipal code and legal writing to the table, he also was born in Louisville and raised in Superior and has served on the Superior Historical Commission. Valette says he wants the charter to reflect “autonomy as a municipality, trust as a governing body, and transparency for residents.”  

Heather Cracraft is the assistant to the Athletic Director at CU Boulder and served as the Superior Chamber of Commerce executive director for 13 years. She’s lived in Superior for 26 years and wants the charter to focus on “support of our businesses, a common sense land use code, and a government and staffing structure that’s as effective as it is efficient.”

Ryan Hitchler is a tech company founder and CEO who says the main reason he wants to serve on the Commission is to make “citizen-led efforts clearer and easier to understand.” He previously co-led a petition that led to the Town Board unanimously voting to overturn its previous approval of a life sciences downtown development. He sees the biggest benefit of a home rule charter as the Town’s “ability to work immediately and quickly on issues it faces without relying on state legislators.”

Claire Dixon has lived in Superior since 2011, was a founding member of the Cultural Arts and Public Spaces Committee, and has served on the PTO Board for Eldorado PK-8 since 2021. Her husband’s orthodontic practice brought their family to Superior, and they’ve been members of the Chamber of Commerce for the past decade. She says she wants to make sure changes to tax collection don’t place too great of an administrative burden on small business owners, and that the transition to Home Rule is “smooth and transparent.”

Ryan Welch has lived in Superior for 10 years and has served on the Town’s Open Space Advisory Committee. His answers to our questions weren’t as robust and he doesn’t seem to have as deep of an understanding of home rule charters as some of the other candidates, but he does have experience with local government and the challenges that face the town — something that’s a positive on this Commission. 

Sean Maday has lived in Superior for nearly 12 years and says he would like to see the charter provide as much local control as possible. His answers to our questionnaire suggest a strong understanding of home rule charter, its benefits and potential pitfalls. He says the charter should be “an enduring document that provides guardrails for effective governance while allowing local elected officials to respond to emerging needs of the community.”

As the former Mayor of Superior, Clint Folsom brings a deep understanding of challenges faced by the town and advantages home rule provides. He says one component of home rule that excites him is giving Superior greater control over revenue collection, as the current state collection of sales tax “delays the flow of revenue back to the town and severely limits the towns’ ability to audit retailers to ensure accuracy.” Folsom has lived in Superior for 25 years and has also served as a planning commissioner.

Chris Hanson has lived in Superior for nearly three decades and served two terms as a Trustee from 2010 to 2018. He says he firmly believes Home Rule is the right path for Superior and will “allow for decisions to be made at a level closer to the citizens most impacted.” He wants to make sure the charter provides a framework without being overly prescriptive.

Mike Foster is a newer Superior resident, having lived in town for three years. He has a long career working on sustainability initiatives in both public and private sectors. He was employed by the City of San Jose for more than 17 years and now works as the agricultural division manager for Boulder County Open Space, according to his LinkedIn. He’s served as chair of Superior’s Advisory Committee for Environmental Sustainability for the past three years, assisting in the development of the Town’s first ever Sustainability Action Plan. He says he wants the charter to help the municipal government be “accessible, responsive, accountable, responsible and professional.” 

Jeff Chu and Stephanie Schader didn’t respond to our questions — we can’t say how this bodes for their ability to engage with their community. Still, each of them seems like a capable candidate. Chu has experience in local government, including two terms as a Town Trustee. Schader works as a policy advisor within the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, according to her LinkedIn. 


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