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FoCo city elections: Jeni Arndt, Patricia Babbitt running for mayor

Collegian | Ava Kerzic

The next Fort Collins city election will be held Nov. 7. In 2022, the people of Fort Collins voted to move the election from April to November on odd-numbered years to coincide with the Larimer County Coordinated Election.

Three Fort Collins City Council seats are up for election, as is the seat of the mayor. There are two candidates for mayor: current Mayor Jeni Arndt is up for reelection, and Patricia Babbitt is running as a write-in candidate for the job. 


As a write-in candidate, Babbitt’s name will not be on the ballot, but an additional line will be provided for her name to be written on. 

Arndt was first elected to the office of mayor in 2021. Before serving as Fort Collins’ mayor, she worked in the Colorado State House of Representatives representing District 53 — a role she served in 2015-21. 

“I think the task of an elected is really community service,” Arndt said. “Elections are an opportunity to ask the community if they choose you to be the one to serve.”

Prior to working in the statehouse, Arndt served on two school boards and volunteered with the Peace Corps.

“I just enjoy contributing back,” Arndt said. “So everything from being a special ed teacher to (a) Peace Corps volunteer to all the other things, it’s kind of just my life’s work. Whether I’m elected or not, I kind of just do the same thing. I won’t be an elected person forever, which is as it should be, but I’ll keep doing the same types of things.”

Both Arndt and Babbitt have experience in education and have dedicated much of their lives to volunteering. 

Babbitt co-created the Colorado State University Children’s Summer Language Program in the 1990s, which offered free foreign language classes to the youth in Fort Collins. She volunteers at Vindeket Foods, a nonprofit working to reduce food waste, and currently works at Front Range Community College in the adult learner program teaching English to immigrant students. 

Babbitt filed the paperwork to run as a write-in candidate because she felt there were conversations that needed to happen.

“The big reason I wanted to run in the first place is that I just feel like so many of the people I talk to — and myself included — don’t feel their voices are being heard,” Babbitt said. “I submitted my paperwork, and I just thought if nothing else, we’ve got to have some conversations.”


One of the primary focuses of her campaign is the environment. 

“I’ve been talking at city council meetings and county commissioner meetings for several years because of concerns about what’s happening with our decisions regarding our growth and our natural areas,” Babbitt said. “I want to get more environmental awareness, more accountability. That’s what’s important to me.”

Both candidates have made city growth and Fort Collins’ natural spaces a priority, but Babbitt said she believes the work being done isn’t doing what it should.

“I just feel like a lot of the solutions we’re having for our current problems are not being thought through well enough for the future,” Babbitt said. “I feel like we’re behind the times here as far as our solutions.”

Babbitt and Arndt were both clear that the election is about the community and its issues. They each highlighted the reasoning behind running for office. 

“I hope that more people will get into it for the right reasons, not just because they want to be mayor but because we’re all people, and this is our community, and we’re all a part of it,” Babbitt said.

“I always say I run for something, never against anything or anyone,” Arndt said. “The idea is that you run for mayor, and honestly, I think it’s healthy for a democracy when there’s more than one choice. It doesn’t change my campaign attitude, style, policy positions, anything. I think it is healthy for the community.”

Ballots are due Nov. 7 for anyone eligible to vote in the Fort Collins election.

Reach Hannah Parcells at or on Twitter @hannahparcells.

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Hannah Parcells
Hannah Parcells, News Editor
Hannah Parcells is currently the news editor at The Collegian, a role that she loves dearly. Parcells uses she/her pronouns and began writing for The Collegian in fall 2023 as a reporter under the news, science, opinion and life and culture desks.  Parcells is currently pursuing two degrees: a Bachelor of Science in psychology and a Bachelor of Arts in political science with a concentration in global politics. Parcells has always been passionate about understanding and helping other people and hopes to use her education to try and leave the world a little better than she found it.  Raised in Castle Rock, Colorado, Parcells grew up with a love of learning, music and writing. She’s always working to learn more about the world through history and art and loves being introduced to new places, people and ideas.  On the off chance that she’s not buried in textbooks, research papers and policy analyses, Hannah can be found on a hike, watching movies or at any local bookstore or coffee shop, feeding her ongoing addictions to both caffeine and good books. Parcells is incredibly proud of the work she’s done at The Collegian so far and is excited to continue that work as an editor of the news desk.

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