Former Colorado Springs City Councilor Stephannie Fortune died today. Fortune was appointed to fill a vacant seat representing the southwest corner of the city and part of downtown in January 2022.
The news of her passing comes just seven months after Fortune announced a leukemia diagnosis. She completed her term last fall and did not seek reelection.
In an interview with KRCC in February of 2022, Fortune spoke of her love for Colorado Springs.
"I've lived in several different cities in my lifetime and nowhere, I promise you this, nowhere are people more passionate, more committed, and more engaged in making this the best place that we can have," she said.
In the same interview, Fortune said she was committed to collaboration and listening to constituents.
"I think so often we all focus on what's going wrong and we have to do that because we have to come up with solutions," she said referring to her role on the council. "We have to work on pretty tough challenges, but at the same time, I would encourage all of us to focus on what's going right as well, so that we don't lose what's going right."
Fortune's appointment to council was controversial and included a recall attempt, in part, because she had just moved to District 3 when chosen for the role. Petitioners withdrew the recall when Fortune announced her illness.
Before her time on the city council, Fortune served on the board of numerous nonprofits and was chief of staff to Colorado Lt. Gov. Jane Norton during the Bill Owens administration. She also worked as the executive director for University Partnerships and Public Policy at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs.
In a statement, Mayor Yemi Mobolade said Fortune rose to every challenge with kindness and compassion and called her one of the true champions of Colorado Springs.
"I first met Stephannie in January 2015 when she presented me with a Mayor’s Young Leader Award for economic development on behalf of Mayor Steve Bach," Mobolade said. "My leadership journey in this city is in large part due to Stephannie’s influence in my life. I am one of thousands with that story."
Current members of Colorado Springs City Council collectively expressed their appreciation for the time Fortune dedicated to the city in an emailed statement:
“During her time on City Council, she was a leader and vocal advocate for District 3. We will miss her warm personality and compassionate leadership in always making Colorado Springs a better place every day. Our hearts go out to Stephannie’s husband, Kent, her family, and loved ones."
Former Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers lauded Fortune as instrumental in shepherding the City for Champions projects from vision to reality.
"Despite malicious opinions by a small group of citizens, she immediately set to work to resolve important community issues, including the reopening of the Westside Community Center," Suthers said. "She worked tirelessly on the Council until she was physically unable to do so any longer."
In his final weeks in office, Suthers awarded Fortune a Spirit of the Springs award for her contributions to the community.
A day of remembrance will be planned at a future city council meeting.
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