When Jackie Millet was growing up, staying in one place was not something typical for her, and her four years in college was the longest time she can remember being at any one school.
After university, her traveling life continued as she began her career as a civil engineer, primarily working on projects centering on long-term planning for growing communities in northern California.
Following her move to Colorado with her husband 15 years ago, she did not expect that lifestyle to change.
“When I moved here, my mind-set was we'll probably be here for five years or so; that's usually how my life works,” Millet said. “To have been here for 15 years is kind of mind-blowing for me. To have the opportunity to raise my children here, I feel very blessed to be able to do that.”
At first, Millet continued regular travel to California to continue working on projects, but over time, she began looking for opportunities to apply her knowledge and expertise in her new home, in her new community.
Her opportunity came when she learned about an opening on the City of Lone Tree's planning commission through her homeowners association.
“I really enjoyed that (type of) work,” Millet said. “I'm so proud of the contributions I was able to make and what I brought to the table … so I applied and was appointed to the planning commission about 12 years ago.”
Her work on the planning commission caught the attention of then District 1 Councilmember Jim Gunning. In 2010, Gunning was planning a run for mayor and approached Millet as a possible candidate for the council seat he was vacating.
“My immediate gut reaction was to say, `Oh, no. No, no,'”
Gunning pressed; asking her to give the prospect of a council seat some additional thought, to talk the idea over with her family.
“I did think about it,” she said. “I prayed about it, talked to my family.”
Millet only planned to complete the remaining two years of Gunning's term when he was elected mayor in 2008, but then successfully completed a bid for re-election to the District 1 seat in 2010 and again in 2014.
While serving as a council member, Millet became involved with multiple organizations statewide, including becoming chair of the Regional Transportation Commission, and a governor's appointee to the Regional Air Quality Council. In 2012, she began serving as mayor pro tem.
“Collectively, we really did accomplish a lot,” she said.
Most notable among the contributions includes the completion of the Lone Tree Arts Center and her role in helping bring $35 million of federal gas tax money to support transportation projects in both Lone Tree and Douglas County.
Following eight years on the council, she relinquished the council seat in May when she once again succeeded Gunning, this time as Lone Tree's Mayor.
“I certainly consider Jim a mentor,” she said. “I wouldn't be doing this today if he hadn't asked me to run.”
As mayor, Millet's focus will be on managing growth and on perpetuating the feeling of community that she has enjoyed, so future residents will feel the same way about the city that she does.
“We are blessed with a lot of assets. Just our location alone is a tremendous asset, but how do we continue to position ourselves for success as we move forward?” she said. “I want future development to contribute to the quality and character of our city.”
As part of that objective, Millet says that it is also important to focus on continued economic development, maintain the existing infrastructure, and reinvest in the community.
“I want people to feel the way I feel about this community,” she said. “We want residents to be proud of this community, so paying attention not just to pretty, shiny, new but also maintaining and enhancing what we already have.”