Profession: Owner, Watson Marketing & Public Relations, LLC
I have over 15 years of experience as a marketing professional for architectural and engineering firms, including CH2M Hill, GEI Engineering and DHM landscape architecture. As a marketing manager I have led multi-disciplinary teams preparing proposals, presentations and client-focused events. I graduated from Colorado State University, Pueblo, with a Mass Communications degree with a double major in journalism and public relations.
In December 2022, I started my own marketing company, Watson Marketing & Public Relations, LLC. Instagram @watsonmarketingandpr
I have served as a volunteer on Boards, but those were not elected positions. I am not a politician. I am a small business owner, a homeowner, a Colorado native and an active user of South Suburban’s amenities, both rec centers and open space and trails.
Three members of the South Suburban Board will be serving their second term. Working alongside these dedicated and experienced community members would be a privilege. This election is an opportunity for taxpayers to decide if there is value in electing Board members who will bring an additional renewed focus on serving the in-District taxpayers and contribute fresh, new ideas.
Past and current service to volunteer organizations:
I have nine years of experience as an in-classroom volunteer in Littleton Public School classrooms. I have volunteered as the Marketing Co-Chair for the Denver Arthritis Walk and have also volunteered as the Public Relations Committee Lead for the Colorado chapter of the Society for Marketing Professional Services.
I enjoy several sports at the recreational level. I play tennis, sand volleyball, and pickleball on a fairly regular basis. My most regular recreation is walking our dog, Newt, on South Suburban trails.
Reading and writing are high up on my list of personal interests. And while I don’t consider myself a “foodie,” I like to cook. I have three children. My daughter is 19 and away at college. My two boys are at a LPS high school. And my husband Matthew still loves his job that he’s been at for 31 years.
City of residence:
Number of years you’ve been a resident of the District: 19
Websites: Facebook - Elizabeth Watson, Instagram - watsonmarketingandpr
Why are you running for the South Suburban board? If you are running for reelection, please say how long you have served.
I believe that South Suburban board members should be committed to transparency and providing their in-District community with an active, inclusive public involvement process. South Suburban is a taxpayer-funded organization that will receive almost $30,000,000 from property taxes paid by in-District residents in 2023 alone. I am running for the board because I believe in-District taxpayers should know exactly how their taxes are being spent. And I believe South Suburban’s focus, its mission and vision, should be providing services that benefit their in-District community.
When it comes to serving on this board - what are your top three priorities?
Transparency, public engagement and outreach, providing a renewed focus on services to South Suburban's in-District community.
What needs to be done to address those priorities?
There are simple changes that could help address transparency. One example is broadcasting and recording all board meetings. But an even more significant shift needs to happen within the board itself. Currently, this board seems to be focused on being representatives for South Suburban. I believe that needs to change so that board members truly represent the in-District taxpaying community. That is impossible to do if there is no public engagement. South Suburban is legally required to hold three public meetings for input on their budget. In 2021 there were zero in-person members of the community at those meetings. In 2022, two people attended.
With continued growth in the region and call for more rec centers and youth programs - How does the board keep property taxes from going up and meet budget obligations?
SSPR's 2021-2025 Capital Improvement Plan details the Ridgegate East Inclusion (page 8). "Planned development for the District includes a recreation center, 65 acres for a regional park, 100 acres of neighborhood parks…” The District has included $4 million in 2023 for development of the regional park in Lone Tree, east of I-25. SSPR’s 2023 budget is $128,253,646. If SSPR continues to focus on regional services and new construction, your taxes will go up. It's important to note that in the 2023 Draft Master Plan, page 50 shows results from a 2022 Community Survey “Community desires - improve aging and well-loved parks, trails, and facilities over new facilities"
If elected, how would you improve community outreach to educate all eligible voters about upcoming elections, property taxes and South Suburban business?
Currently SSPR’s communications seem to focus on informing the community about services, programs and classes. Operations and financial information should be provided to the community as well. If elected, I will work with SSPR to have financial information included in the catalogs mailed to our in-District community. Specifically, I would like to see an end of year Financial Highlight and a statement showing if the board voted to raise your taxes. Participation in this election and public input on the budget has to be increased. A more meaningful relationship with local media and a focus to involve and inform local organizations are both opportunities to increase awareness.