Deep love for adopted home drives Vicki Huyser’s intense involvement in Craig
Vicki Huyser is very clear: She doesn’t have to live in Craig. She does so by choice.
“I can move,” she said. “I’m not stuck here. I could move today if I wanted. But I don’t want to.”
That’s Huyser — she demands the best but looks for the good. The native of Cincinnati and one-time Florida resident moved to Craig more than 17 years ago after raising her children in Steamboat Springs, and she keenly sees the difference between here and everywhere else she’s lived.
“We’d come to Craig when our youngest was playing basketball for games,” Huyser said. “My husband and I, we’d drive around, go wherever, Burger King, the barbecue place that used to be here. Just didn’t want to sit, and we met people. They were so friendly. Super friendly — they’re not like that in Steamboat. Maybe in the 90s when we moved there, but not anymore. So I decided we’d move here when our daughter graduated high school. She graduated, and we were out of there. I love it here.”
Huyser, who is a fixture at city council meetings, county commission meetings, and, really, most public meetings in town, has become a sort of independent omnibus of her adopted home. She’s everywhere, she knows everyone and — after spending years quiet and watching from the corners — she’ll speak up for what she thinks is right.
“I’ve never been so involved with any place I’ve lived,” she said.
And she is involved. After deciding early in her time in Craig to check out city council, Huyser says she initially felt it was best to be quiet and learn. She’s passionate that newcomers to a community should adapt to the space rather than ask the community to adapt to them, and she was loath to break her own rule.
But eventually, she had a problem. And she decided it was time to fix it.
“My grandson, he was about 12 at the time, he said, ‘Grandma, I’m going to march into city council and demand they do something about this.’ I said, no no, that’s not how you get things done,” Huyser said. “First we do our homework. Then we go in, polite, respectful, and ask for help. We’ll have answers if they have questions. That’s how we’ll get help.”
It worked. The city paid to solve the problem.
“So because of that, my name escaped out there,” Huyser said. “Prior to that I went under the radar, but now they knew who I was, and that was it.”
Since then, it’s become a passion for Huyser to know what’s going on and speak up
“There’s so much going on, and so many people don’t go to meetings,” she said. “Some can’t — they work, have children, all sorts of reasons. Some just don’t want to, lazy, or don’t want to go at 6:30. I understand why they can’t do it. It’s better now that it’s on Youtube. But there are also people who don’t like public speaking, or can’t speak up for some other reason. I’ll say it. I grew up painfully shy, but with my children, I learned to be outgoing to teach them not to be shy. And I’m 65. If you don’t like what I’m saying, you don’t have to listen.”
But she hopes you do.
“I’m not out to make friends,” she said. “But I am out to get information to the public. There are some things people should know. They really should know. I encourage folks to step up and have a voice. And I hear from people all the time.”
Why not run for office herself? Huyser has her reasons.
“It’s a huge commitment, not just the two meetings a month,” she said. “I have limits, and I have to stay within those limits. But also, my dance card’s kind of full already. I don’t want to give up other things. I go to county commission meetings, Downtown Business Association meetings, Coffee with the Superintendent, workshops. I don’t want to give that up — and knitting Tuesdays. I don’t want to give it up.”
But that’s not the biggest reason she keeps her name out of elected politics.
“The biggest reason — the main reason why — I get more done on this side of the podium,” Huyser said. “That’s the main reason. I don’t have to follow their stupid rules and I don’t have to keep their secrets.”
And it’s worth the effort, Huyser said.
“I love the people of Craig,” she said. “Everyone is so kind, so friendly. You notice, when someone’s in need — really in need — his community comes together. That’s the kind of people we are.”
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