Incumbent District 4 City Council Representative Yolanda Avila fended off a challenge from Harrison School District 2 Board of Education Vice President Regina English during the April 6 Municipal Election. Unofficial results from the Colorado Springs City Clerk’s Office show Avila winning with almost 62 percent of District 4’s votes.
“It feels great,” said Avila during her watch party Tuesday evening, crediting her success to her campaign volunteers. “I just want to say that we worked really really hard. The people you see here have all contributed to the campaign. It was just a grassroots, very strategic effort to get me re-elected.”
Election and campaign efforts this year were hampered by COVID-19 precautions. “It was very different this year than it has been in the past,” said Jane Ard-Smith, Avila’s campaign manager. “We typically would have started canvassing, knocking on doors very early, and with cases soaring we just didn’t feel like we could do that. We did eventually go canvassing, but we followed COVID safety protocols, everybody wore masks, we sanitized everything, we didn’t physically give people stuff, we left stuff at the door, so that was very different, especially in District 4 where it’s important to have one-on-one conversations with people.”
Avila credits much of her success to community support. “Together for Colorado Springs endorsed Yolanda, and did a mail piece to folks throughout the city with their endorsed candidates,” said Ard-Smith. “The Sierra Club endorsed Yolanda and some other candidates, they did a lot of phone-banking. Some of the other organizations in town, like League of Women Voters and the Citizen’s Project did ‘Get Out the Vote’ work, not supporting a particular candidate, but just encouraging people to return their ballot and vote. The big concern, at least from my perspective, was low voter turnout.”
According to unofficial results, voter turnout was 26.70 percent, down from 37.1 percent in 2019’s Municipal Election. District 4 showed the lowest number of votes cast, 5,653, despite being the most densely populated region in Colorado Springs. “I would love to see more candidates and more people voting,” said Ard-Smith. “I love the fact that several people threw their hat in the ring and were willing to step up and serve, but I’d really love to see more people participate in choosing who those people are. Right now we’re at what, 25 percent of the people in the city deciding who makes decisions for the city?”
Avila is looking forward to continuing her efforts to improve infrastructure and provide more housing throughout Southeast Colorado Springs. “I am so excited because now this means I get to continue the momentum,” she said. “We have such a momentum with our parks, our infrastructure — which means roads, bridges, sidewalks, ADA [American with Disabilities Act] ramps — and now two economic development Urban Renewal projects, which means an additional $15 million investment for both of them. One of them at Mission Trace to, when it’s all said and done, bring $100 million into Southeast.”