David Coss, Mayor - Santa Fe, NM

From Portraits of The Shift

Mayor David Coss, Santa Fe, NM

Age: 54

Political Orientation: Democrat

Religious Affiliation: Catholic

Job Title(s):
Mayor, City of Santa Fe

Role in the Community:
Chief Executive of the City, but this is classically called a Weak Mayor form of system. The challenges are steep, you don’t have a lot of formal authority, but you do have a lot of leadership/bully pulpit type of authority, and I think that’s important.

I think it’s a very important role to find what’s going on right and encourage it and bring it out so the public can see the good things going on. I’m also trying to pursue an agenda, and that is Sustainability, Human Rights and Good Government.

Talk about your relationship with the Local Independent community.
We’ve been working with Santa Fe Alliance for quite a number of years, promoting buy local. Its one of those things that’s enjoyable, as Mayor. We’re in an economic downturn throughout the whole planet right now, but yet we see our locally owned businesses doing pretty well, at least hangin’ in. We’ve seen a lot of the big boxes go bankrupt, and yet the local independents have kept their doors open, and kept people employed….and, you know, they’re a lot of fun. There’s a lot of interesting businesses in Santa Fe….

If the Local Independent community were an animal, what animal would it be and why?
You know what keeps coming to mind, is that it would be a Human. This local business community has been so in the Van Gard of what’s going on in Santa Fe, that I think you see their humanity.

Talk about a time that your community gained or lost a business and it had a big impact.
The one that’s coming to mind is the Farmers Market, one of the best in the country….that’s really a group of farmers…they’ve been in Santa Fe for over 2 decades now. We just opened up a space for them in the railyard re-development.

One of the farmers, who had been the president of the organization and a long , said “Mayor, you’ve helped to guarantee sustainable agriculture in New Mexico for the next 100 years” and that’s a big effect when you talk about food security and you talk about open space and promoting healthy lifestyles….and those things are made that much more real when you have a strong agricultural community and the Santa Fe Farmers Market has helped folks establish that.

What one lesson learned or piece of advice could you offer anyone who might see this?
One that has come up for me is, and in just evaluating my history is:

Try to help good things happen and try to stop bad things from happening, and when you see them, act.

What one message would you share with anyone who might see this?
I would say support your local entrepreneurs, your local businesses…you’ll take advantage of the diversity in your community, you’ll make your economy stronger and you’ll make your community a lot more human and a lot more interesting.


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