Cynthia A. Hirschfeld
I'm self-employed as a freelance writer and editor, including serving as editor-in-chief of Aspen Sojourner magazine for the past five years. I specialize in writing about travel, skiing, outdoor adventure, dining, and architecture for consumer magazines, newspapers, and websites, and also cover the ski and outdoor industry for trade publications. And I've written a best-selling guidebook, Canine Colorado, about traveling the state with your dog.
BA in English literature from Swarthmore College; attended University of Grenoble in Grenoble, France, for a college semester; graduate of the month-long Denver Publishing Institute at the University of Denver; graduate of the 10-day Stanford Professional Publishing Course at Stanford University; graduate of the nine-month Roaring Fork Leadership program in the Roaring Fork Valley; graduate of the nine-week Aspen Citizens Academy
While I have always had a deep commitment to community service, I have only become more politically active in the past several years. I was selected as a Pitkin County delegate to the Colorado Democrats State Assembly and Convention in 2018. I have given money to the Pitkin County Democrats and to Attorney General Phil Weiser's campaign before he was elected. I have made phone calls to get out the vote before elections and have co-hosted fundraising events for Phil Weiser. I also phone banked for the mayoral election in my town of Basalt this past spring.
Member, Aspen Rotary Club; member, Pitkin County Democrats; alternate member, Town of Basalt Planning and Zoning Commission; former board member (five years), Lucky Day Animal Rescue, Aspen; alumni, Roaring Fork Leadership; volunteer (and parent), Aspen Community School; former board member (one year) and member, North American Snowsports Journalists Association; volunteer, English In Action, a mentoring program in the Roaring Fork Valley for non-native speakers to learn English
As a member of the Aspen Rotary Club, I have helped organize the annual Ducky Derby fundraiser, sitting on committees, selling ducks for "adoption" and working the day of the event; this large community event includes an all-day festival in addition to the ducky race, and many locals and visitors donate to the cause, which raises money for scholarships and other nonprofits in the Aspen area. As a board member of Lucky Day Animal Rescue, I continually advocated for the adoption of shelter pets and for humane treatment of all animals; we were a hardworking board that organized several smaller fundraisers annually and one large event, the Doggy Splash and silent auction at the Aspen Recreation Center. As a five-year board member of the Aspen Young Professionals Association, I helped conceive of and stage monthly events that included education and professional development, and sometimes highlighted various aspects of the community, all with the goal of enriching the lives of young professionals and encouraging them to continue their careers in the Aspen area. While a board member of the National Snowsports Journalists Association, I organized all aspects of the annual national convention, held in 2017 in Steamboat Springs; events during the four-day meeting ranged from professional development panels to gatherings that highlighted the history of and skiing heritage of Steamboat. I have volunteered for English in Action as I believe it's important to build bridges with our local immigrant community and help them achieve their goals of citizenship or better employment through an improved command of the English language. And as a magazine editor, I have commissioned and written stories that portray often-overlooked groups in the Roaring Fork Valley, such as a feature that detailed what it's like in Aspen for undocumented immigrants, who in many ways serve as the backbone of a resort community's worker base.
I am looking for ways to become more active in our state government and representation, and really delve into the nitty gritty of how our democracy works. I have a well-developed (and lifelong) affinity for social justice, which includes equal representation for all of our citizens. Working on an issue as vital as redistricting seems like a rare opportunity to effect meaningful change for the better in Colorado. I'd welcome the opportunity to collaborate with others from around the state who care as much about our representation as I do. As a lifelong learner, I'd also embrace the chance to delve into the intricacies of redistricting—I'm no expert (yet) but I'm very enthusiastic. Finally, I'm a 30-year Colorado resident, and I've traveled all over the state for my dog guidebook as well as for other published stories. I appreciate Colorado's diversity and variety—in people, history, landscapes, and viewpoints. I'd be honored to play a small part in shaping the state's future.
I've always been a good listener and have improved those skills through leadership training. A big part of promoting consensus involves ensuring that not only are all parties heard, but also that they feel like they've been heard. I have a knack for acknowledging various viewpoints and synthesizing them into a proposal that ideally can be accepted by all parties. As for impartiality, perhaps because I've done so many interviews during my years as a writer, I'm able to really listen to what people have to say without imposing my own beliefs or judgments. (As an aside, during my six years as an academic book editor, I was often assigned to work with authors that other editors considered difficult; my ability to acknowledge their thoughts and concerns about their manuscripts created a mutually respectful working relationship.) Although it may sound a little nebulous, a strong sense of fairness has informed my value system throughout my life. I think if I hadn't gone into writing and editing professionally, I would have tried to become a judge.
Thanks to my liberal arts college education, I developed strong critical thinking skills that have served me well in all areas of life, especially professionally. Whether honing in on an issue while writing a story, or distilling multiple interviews and facts into an easily readable article, I use analytical skills every day. While editing, I'm constantly analyzing whether a writer is effectively getting her point across, including what elements of an article or a book to refine or even delete. I believe my facility with both written and verbal communication would be a key contribution to the process of redistricting.