Aaron Baker To Seek City Council Seat
Last updated 6/2/2021 at 3:05pm
Aaron Baker, a Brevard College alumnus and senior marketing manager at Oskar Blues Brewery, announced his candidacy for Brevard City Council on Wednesday. The 34-year-old father of one, avid cyclist and homeowner in the Tannery neighborhood, promises to advocate for working families, for connected neighborhoods via an urban trail system, as well as responsive and approachable local government.
"Brevard is such a special part of the world," said Baker. "Our city can and should follow the lead of the natural wonders surrounding us, providing exceptional opportunities for all who live here to be able to work, live, and play in our community. We deserve a city government that reflects the same qualities of the people living here – caring, motivated, welcoming and active."
Baker said his top priorities are reasonably priced housing, infrastructure improvements, creating trans-parent and responsive government, and the completion of the multi-use path.
"For a city the size of Brevard, I believe communication between city government and citizens must be better," he said. "We need more voices at the table, not less. We need more people-powered initiatives."
Growing up in Florida as the son of a Methodist minister and a public librarian, Baker was first introduced to Brevard and Transylvania County during annual family camping trips. After high school, Baker spent a few semesters enrolled at the University of Florida, before finding himself drawn back to Brevard to complete his undergraduate studies at Brevard College. He graduated in 2008 with degrees in mathematics and history. He went to work for Transylvania County Public Library, managing the Rogow Room and other conference room spaces. As part of this work, Baker said he learned what makes Brevard the special place it is: people dedicated to honoring Brevard's past and improving its future.
Baker went on to earn a graduate degree in museum studies from Johns Hopkins University, while working at the library. In 2012, Baker learned that Oskar Blues Brewery was expanding to Brevard. Taking to Twitter, he lobbied the marketing manager repeatedly for an interview. It paid off and led to a part-time job booking music acts for the taproom, which Baker, through dedicated work, turned into a full-time marketing manage-ment job, leading a team of four. Almost from the start of his work with Oskar Blues, Baker sought to use his role to showcase the asset that ultimately made Oskar Blues settle on Brevard and Transylvania County – the community's strong sense of place and belonging. Through regular charitable events and partnerships with local non-profit organizations, Oskar Blues Brewery and Baker sought to reflect back onto Brevard the generosity shown by its people to a small beer-brewing outfit from Colorado. For the past eight years, this commercial-municipal relationship put Brevard on the map as an integral part of America's craft beer culture.
Baker has served six years on the boards of directors for both the Chamber of Commerce and Transylvania County Tourism (TCT). He is currently the chair of the Transylvania Always Committee, a TCT-initiative utilizing occupancy tax dollars to support the natural places surrounding Brevard in an effort to ensure they are here for future generations to enjoy. He led efforts by Transylvania Always and TCT to fund the Ecusta Trail and established the anti-litter campaign "Leave It Better."
Baker has an 8-year-old son, Henry, who is probably more popular than he is, and an almost 15-year-old six-toed cat, Winston, who is definitely wearing whiskers better than he is. Baker's parents, Scott and Flossie Baker, are retired and live in Pisgah Forest. When he is not working, Baker enjoys cycling, cooking, smoking meat, following soccer and tasting beer. As part of his candidacy for Brevard City Council, Baker will be hosting bikes, beer and barbecue events to hear from and speak directly with engaged Brevard citizens.
"Coming together over food and drink is my favorite part of life and something Brevardians do exceptionally well. My hope is to learn more from my neighbors and where they want their city to go. How do they want to shake up Brevard's two-decade-old political system? It's their city and I want to be their council member," he said.