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"Who doesn't love a furry mayor?"
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In a time of attack ads, divisive politics, and hotly contested presidential elections, one Colorado politician almost always brings a smile to his constituents’ faces.

He just so happens to be a dog.

Parker the Snow Dog is a four-year-old Bernese Mountain Dog, and he is serving as the honorary mayor of Georgetown, Colorado. He has held the post since October 2019. He was officially sworn-in in February.

Georgetown is home to about 1,000 people. The municipality was founded in 1868, a few years before Colorado officially became a state.

Colorado Voices

Colorado's K9 Mayor

3:03
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The Georgetown, CO mayor is one of a kind.

Parker isn’t interested in debating taxes, the environment, or the nuances of the American healthcare system. Mostly, he just wants a lick of ice cream.

“Parker’s platform is hugs, love, and cookies,” said Dustin Schaefer, Parker’s handler. “Who doesn’t love a furry mayor?”

If you’re concerned about a lack of real leadership—i.e., human leadership—in Georgetown, don’t worry. Someone is actually in charge.

“I’m the police judge, which is the official mayor,” Lynette Kelsey said. “And then [Parker] is our ambassador.” 

During our visit to Georgetown, a man asked Kelsey how Parker became mayor. Kelsey gestured to Parker, who at the time was wearing a very professional striped tie, and asked, “Could you resist?”

Parker's mayoral responsibilities include taking photos with out-of-town guests.

“It’s definitely goofy. It’s different,” Schaefer said. “He doesn’t do any of the hard work. We have a Board of Selectmen and a police judge that do all the hard work. He gets to do all the fun stuff.”

Parker, who is also the official mascot of Loveland Ski Area, is a bit of a celebrity in the state. He has over 24,000 followers on Instagram alone. As Parker was walking down the street, a man rolled down his car window to say hello to the local politician.

“That’s Parker, right?” The man asked. “I follow him on Instagram...I’m definitely getting to the point where he’s becoming a celebrity for me. I didn’t actually think I was ever going to see you guys out in public.”

Kelsey said people have discovered Georgetown just because of Parker’s online presence.

“It’s a win-win for the visitors that come to Georgetown, and for the town of Georgetown,” Schaefer said. “They get a lot of PR buzz out of Parker.” 

During his stroll through town, Parker came across two women on a bench eating ice cream from waffle cones. “You’re the best mayor. You’re so sweet,” one of the women said. “I would vote for you.”

Parker, of course, had his eyes fixed on the cone.


Resources:

Town of Georgetown website

Activities, dining, and culture in Georgetown

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