Aspen’s chamber of commerce isn’t the first to sever ties with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over political differences. The chamber in Homer, Alaska, made national headlines when it canceled its membership last year.
But Auden Schendler, the Aspen Skiing Co.’s vice president of sustainability, believes the famous Rocky Mountain hamlet’s stature may bring more scrutiny to the U.S. Chamber’s right-wing agenda.
“Homer was a unique story, but Aspen is an even more high-profile town with often outsized influence,” Schendler said Thursday. “It’s the iconic ski town that often sets an example for others.”
At a retreat this week, the Aspen Chamber Resort Association’s board voted 11 to 1 to withdraw its membership from the national organization. Tension between Aspen’s chamber and the national one existed for years. The 680-member local chamber penned a letter to the national group in 2010 delineating its differences. But this year — which saw the driest winter in Aspen since the 1976-1977 season — politics are in overdrive thanks to the coming November general election. Several weeks ago, Aspen’s chamber began feeling pressure from Schendler and his Aspen Skiing Co. bosses, the mayor, a pair of county commissioners and reside…