Lisa McCorry said she is running for Durango City Council to add some socioeconomic diversity to the mix.
McCorry, 41, is one of seven candidates vying for three open seats on the council during the April 6 elections. Since she moved to Durango in 2003, McCorry said she has often worked multiple jobs or depended on social supports to get by.
“We’ve struggled to raise a family here and find good jobs here,” McCorry said. “I worked two or three hourly wage jobs until just over a year ago, and I’m in my 40s.”
At times, her family drew from Medicaid, food stamps, the Durango Food Bank or a scholarship to the Boys and Girls Club. Because of those experiences, she wants to represent others in the same situation on City Council.
“I’m running to represent the underrepresented communities,” McCorry said.
City Council members decide policy, represent the city at state and national levels and influence staff priorities. In the last year, they had to make decisions about a broad range of issues, including the economic shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic, social reform protests, an embezzlement case and regular services, such as roads and policing.
“I am open to learning. Many of the challenges facing the city, I look forward to collaborating with my co-workers on the council to address, creatively and thoughtfully but also practically,” McCorry said. “I don’t come with all the answers. I come with an openness and a willingness.”
The city of Durango’s total revenue in 2020 was $102.7 million, and City Council members also play a leading role in deciding how the money gets spent.
“This is where my creative thinking would come in. I do not have experience operating budgets that large,” McCorry said.
McCorry, a landscaper with Bare Hands Landscaping Maintenance, casts herself as a working class candidate aiming to build a multigenerational, multiracial and anti-oppressive community.
“I’m encouraged, actually, by some of the directions that the council is moving. I think they’re talking about the right things,” she said. “I will want to ask hard questions and uphold anti-racist and anti-oppressive practices. And really look at and work toward mechanisms for measuring progress in that area.”
McCorry said she is qualified for the job in part because of her work as director of faith formation with the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. The position entailed “visionary thinking,” implementing programs, writing policies, forming partnerships and creating strategic plans, she said.
She also received training in conflict resolution, diversity and anti-racism, as well as volunteer recruitment and coordination.
Beyond that, McCorry’s professional background includes two decades of experience as a chef in the restaurant, resort, hotel and tourism industries.
She also co-founded a chapter of Heartbeat for grief support and helped with suicide prevention and substance abuse work through Celebrating Health Communities. She earned an associate’s degree in culinary arts from Pikes Peak Community College.
McCorry hopes to create change and maximize partnerships. Her campaign website does not share her stances about issues facing Durango, but she said her top priority if elected would be to address housing affordability.
“I care, and I act on that caring,” McCorry said. “I want Durango to be more livable for everyone, and I think the unaffordability is really changing the dynamic of the community.”