What have you done that makes you qualified for Mayor of SLC
I first became civically active in Salt Lake City over a traffic issue in my neighborhood. After organizing our neighborhoods and successfully defeating UDOT, I found I had a real passion for neighborhood activism. I became chair of my community council, then chair of the community council network (no longer in existence). From there, I served two terms on the Salt Lake City Council, spending most of my time in leadership positions. In addition to my time serving on various councils, I spent the last two decades as Executive Director of the Utah AIDS Foundation. I have 25 years of bottom-line experience, managing an organization that served a severely marginalized population. I managed staff, a tight budget, limited resources, multiple constituencies, and vulnerable clients by building relationships and coalitions in the community.
What do you plan to accomplish during your first 100 days in office?
My top priority is No Fare for Clean Air. I want to provide a no-cost Hive Pass to Salt Lake City residents. It will decrease congestion on our streets, reduce tail pipe emissions, and is fundamentally an equal access and social justice issue to help residents with tight budgets.
We need to make a commitment to funding and completing the Folsom Trail. In my time on the City Council, we secured the initial TIGER Grant to pay for paving the, but I want to see it fully funded. I also want to prioritize the Jordan River Parkway in the Parks budget to improvement access and maintenance.
How will you help get west-side residents more engaged in city planning and decision-making?
It’s about meeting people where they are, not making them come to you. It is critical that the mayor spends time on the west side to discuss the issues affecting them. I am proposing a neighborhood grants program that gives residents the ability to better promote the character of the neighborhood they call home. These funds could be used for public art programs, community gardens, historic street signs – the sky is the limit. It’s about getting the community involved in shaping the kind of neighborhood they want.
How will you address the city’s homelessness issues and the negative impacts on west-side neighborhoods, especially near North Temple and along the Jordan River?
As Mayor, I will make housing and homelessness a top priority. I have an ambitious goal of adding 10,000 affordable housing units by 2025 dispersed throughout Salt Lake City. I will embrace common-sense ideas like the housing first approach. It’s a simple concept gives people a roof over their heads. Once they have housing security, we can surround them with the critical services necessary to stay in housing.
Beyond that, Salt Lake City faces a shortage of smaller, first time homes. This is an issue that keeps young families in rental unites, or forces them to move out of City limits. We need to take innovative approaches to solve this issue.
Would you continue the city’s lawsuit on the inland port? Why or why not?
I do believe the State overstepped it’s bounds and I think this is an issue that needs to be resolved by the courts. A primary concern of mine is the potential of a port to further harm residents on the Westside who already see the worst air quality in the Valley. It is a shame that the relationship between the City and State has soured to the point of a lawsuit being necessary. As mayor, I will work to repair the trust lost between the City and State and avoid costly court battles.