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Thursday April 18th 2019

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That's what she said

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Aaron Brockett, business owner, Planning Board chairman wants Boulder to be more inclusive for families

Council candidate Aaron Brockett poses for a family photo. He and his wife started their own business so they could have a more flexible family life. Pictured in this photo is Cherry, Jasper (with dog, Curry), Eliza (with dog Pepper) and Aaron. (photo courtesy Aaron Brockett)

Council candidate Aaron Brockett poses for a family photo. He and his wife started their own business so they could have a more flexible family life. Pictured in this photo is Cherry, Jasper (with dog, Curry), Eliza (with dog Pepper) and Aaron. (Photo courtesy Aaron Brockett)

Aaron Brockett got his start in Boulder’s civic life serving as chairman of the homeowner’s association in the Holiday Neighborhood, a mixed-use subdivision in north Boulder that, in its past life, was the site of a drive-in theater.

For nearly a decade, he was involved with the HOA, with highlights that included starting a community garden and creating a neighborhood EcoPass program. He also launched a summer movie series in the neighborhood park, which, of course, is fitting for the Holiday Neighborhood. (The neighborhood proudly displays the marquee of the theater that operated from 1969 to 1988 and has a street named “Easy Rider Lane,” paying tribute to the first movie that ever showed at the theater).

Brockett, 42, also chairman of the city’s Planning Board, lives in a townhome across the street from the computer programming firm that he and his wife Cherry co-own. Because of the mixed-use set-up, they are able to walk to work at Charon Development every day.

“I really love this neighborhood,” Brockett says. “It’s a wonderful, family-friendly, walkable, bikeable neighborhood. We can meet most of our daily needs without getting in a car.”

He and his spouse, who have been married for 15 years, quit their corporate jobs in Connecticut to form their own company. They have two children: Eliza, a fourth grader at Jarrow Montessori School and Jasper, who is in seventh grade at Centennial Middle School.

“We wanted to give ourselves flexible work schedules so that we could raise our family,” Brockett says. “It’s worked out very well over the years. It’s allowed us to really prioritize family life, while also still having successful jobs and slowly grow our company.”

As a father and business owner, his run for City Council is motivated by making Boulder more inclusive for young people and families, supporting the business and cultural communities and fighting climate change on a local level, he says.

Amy Tremper, the campaign manager for Brockett’s bid for City Council, is also a Holiday Neighborhood resident and has been impressed with the candidate’s leadership in a neighborhood with varying demographics.

“I think he has a moderate, thoughtful way of looking at problems and seeing both sides,” Tremper says. “He really cares about making decisions based on what constituents want.”

As an example, Tremper would take walks with Brockett and his dog Pepper to discuss ideas for the neighborhood, including slowing traffic through the neighborhood and a “paint the pavement” project that brought mural paintings on public streets.

Brockett was also instrumental in developing the neighborhood park, she says. The local park had been put on hold because of city budget constraints. Brockett helped negotiate a public-private partnership where the city built the park and the HOA maintained it.

Tremper says she also admires how Brockett balances work with his devotion to his family. He oftentimes rides his bike alongside his children in the morning when they are on their way to school.

If elected, Brockett says he would like to encourage more “15-minute neighborhoods” in Boulder where people can live and work near the services they need and don’t need to rely on cars. This type of development model could help address climate change on a local level, he says.

Brockett became a member of the Planning Board in 2011. In his 4.5 years on the board, including 2 years as chairman, he says he worked to guide new developments into the city’s central commercial areas including downtown and Boulder Junction as well as advocate for better bike and pedestrian connections.

Brockett graduated from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, where he earned a degree in music. He was a choral singer, and previously was a member of Boulder’s Ars Nova Singers.

In his free time, he enjoys hiking and bicycling and spending time with his family. He likes to play games at home with his kids, go camping or hike to the top of Green Mountain.

He says Boulder is the ideal place to raise children.

“It’s a perfect mix,” he says. “You can access trails and nature, but it’s a big enough city with rich cultural and intellectual life and there are all kinds of educational opportunities in town with the university and the federal labs.”

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