By David Mullen
After working in policy and politics for the past 15 years at the local, state and federal level, Dustin Zvonek has decided to take the next step and announced his formal bid for the open at-large seat on the Aurora City Council.
Zvonek, a small business owner, former congressional and legislative aide and current member of the Aurora Citizens Advisory Budget Committee, said those experiences taught him the importance of local government.
“When I first started to get involved in public policy it was really to focus on what’s happening in Washington and the state capitols, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that the decisions that are made in city halls and municipal centers have much more impact on our day-to-day,” Zvonek said.
But despite knowing the importance local government plays and working in policy and politics for more than a decade, Zvonek never considered running for political office until now.
Zvonek said after discussions with a friend about running for city council — and after being worried about the direction the council has been heading over the past few years — he decided to throw his hat in the ring.
“I believe that Aurora has this unique opportunity that’s just bubbling under the surface to truly be an economic driver for the region and the state,” Zvonek said. “We have this huge geographic city that has great proximity to the airport, we have a lot of diversity with first generation and foreign born citizens who want to be entrepreneurs, and want Aurora to be the place they live, work and play.
“But it seems like the council hasn’t been focusing on this opportunity, and seems like there have been several members of the council who are more focused on the big national, partisan food fight of the day, instead of focusing on the issues at hand.” Because of these partisan fights, Zvonek says the council hasn’t been an effective resource for the Aurora community. He said he would prioritize decreasing the number of crimes that have been on the rise across the city.
“We have to have an intentional focus from this council to do something about our rising crime rate,” Zvonek said. “It shouldn’t matter what part of the city you live, everyone should feel safe and that’s not the case right now. Public safety is one of those issues that shouldn’t just be a priority, but obligation to address.” Current Mayor pro tem Françoise Bergan, who appointed Zvonek to the citizen’s budget committee, says he will bring fresh ideas and a plethora of policy experience to the council.
“I think he can relate to the people of Aurora and I think him being on the younger side could bring some fresh perspectives and ideas to address some of the challenges faced by our community members,” Bergan said.
“He also has worked in policy for a long time, so I think just being able to have that knowledge base and analytical ability to look at policy and it’s potential impact could be an important asset.”
The original article is here.