Here’s what some of our Southeast leaders are saying about the Express . . .

Sen.-elect Pete Lee

“Benjamin Franklin was a newspaper founder and publisher, and he used his newspaper to link and connect the community together — the community being Philadelphia, which (with a population of approximately 50,000) was smaller than Southeast Colorado Springs is now.

“To me, having a newspaper to make people aware is a critical part of developing, connecting, furthering and energizing Southeast Colorado Springs. A newspaper could facilitate communication.”

County Commissioner Longinos Gonzalez, Jr.

“This newspaper is a great opportunity for us to spread the word about the good things happening in our community, but also to get the word out on how we can improve our community and to raise issues that might be lacking, or that are getting overlooked — which occasionally occurs. “Hopefully this is something that can help drive some . . . improvements in the area. I’m thankful to John (Weiss) and the publishing team.”

City Council member Yolanda Avila

“Sometimes diversity is seen as a negative, when in truth, it’s an asset. This newspaper will highlight the grand diversity we have. Not only in race and culture, but in age and housing and just the hodgepodge of what’s in Southeast. I think of a paper as being that glue, the connector, something that flows through all of those areas of our district. And not just our district, but connecting us to greater Colorado Springs

“In all areas, it’s just really positive. I know people will pick it up and read it.”

State Rep. Tony Exum

“It’s going to be a great asset. We get an opportunity to tell our story. It’s not going to be all wine and roses, we have to be true to who we are, but at least we can tell our story about the good things that are happening in Southeast Colorado Springs. I’m really excited to see what the response is going to be.

“There’s lots of things that are happening. I know a lot of (teams, groups and people) in Southeast that would love to have their story told.”

Christine O’Brien

(Public information officer and chief of staff for Harrison School District 2)

“This paper coming into focus facilitates people getting district information, but it’s so much more important than that because it has a community focus.

“This paper gives residents, whether they are attached to Harrison School District 2 (through current students) or not, the ability to follow up on what’s happening at the school district in which they live. . . . On the flip side, it also gives the school district a great insight into what’s happening in the Southeast.”

James Sullivan

(President of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Pikes Peak Region)

“I am a believer in information, so the more information that is out, I think is very helpful. “I like the idea of highlighting what’s available. What are the services? Who’s present? Who’s active? If you have a need for childcare, if there’s a need for in-home care; there’s a lot of people, a lot of entities — whether nonprofit or corporate — (and) a lot of services are available.”

Mina Liebert

(El Paso County Public Health Planner and the RISE Coalition)

“For me, the strongest (benefit) is to share the local voice and tell stories. The other thing that will help is (promoting) the entrepreneurial spirit that residents really have. These are all critical as to what the paper could be in the neighborhood.”

Chauncey LaBrie

(Pastor and founder of WeighOut Ministries)

“I believe a paper is needed to balance out the negative publicity that has been broadcast in the area. It seems like every time I read the news or watch the news, whenever they’re talking about . . . anything specifically in that area, it’s mostly negative. I believe it would be really awesome to see the positive, as well as the negative.

“There’s some really good things that are about the take place, and there are initiatives that the people of the Southeast should be proud . . . to be part of.”

— Compiled and edited for clarity by Regan Foster