October 10, 2021

Daniel Tuutau, City Council D2 Candidate

Daniel Tuutau, City Council D2 Candidate
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By The West View

What qualifies you to represent your district?

I’m a Polynesian-American resident of Poplar Grove. Being a resident here for the past decade, I understand the need for representation of our diverse population. I come with a fresh perspective and am excited for the good we can do together.

Identify two key issues that you are concerned about. As a city council member, what specific actions will you take to address those issues?

A - We need to create better ways to engage our community members. The Westside has been neglected for so long that many of its residents feel that civic engagement is futile. Also, the problems of the day-to-day grind make it difficult for our citizens to feel like their participation is worthwhile. When government officials see that apathy, they continue that neglect as status quo. That’s a tough cycle to break, but we can do it. The more voices that are represented, the better the outcomes will be in our city’s development. I think fostering a better sense of ownership will also increase involvement, and that will come as we continue to improve our Westside and make it a place we are even more proud to call home. 

B - I think economic development is another key issue for our district. A lot of focus is put on Covid-19 recovery, but I think our neighborhoods need to do more than just recover to pre-Covid-19 status. We need real economic growth that will translate to everything else improving in our community. The more we can keep our wealth in our district, or even better to attract outside wealth, will improve the quality of life by helping to provide the funding for projects and programs needed to facilitate that. If we can generate that kind of economic power, by encouraging more businesses to start or move to our area, we will also see improvements in other areas as well. 

What is your background, and what motivated you to run?

Originally from inner-city Los Angeles, I moved to Utah to complete my doctoral studies in music at the University of Utah and I have been a resident of the community since 2012. When you live somewhere, it’s up to you to make it the best it can be. I decided to run to contribute to that ideal. I believe Salt Lake is a great place to live, but it can be better. All I can promise is a sharp mind and high integrity, someone who will stand firm for what is best for our neighborhood. 

Identify an example where you had to make a choice between doing what was right and what was popular/politically expedient.

The beauty of not being a career-oriented politician is not needing to worry about doing what’s politically expedient. I wish I could say I had some major defining moment when my integrity was put to the test, but ultimately my entire life is an example of the type of decision maker I will be. It’s in the little things: paying my share of taxes, driving the speed limit, keeping my commitments to my family, my church, and my community. Choosing to do what you consider to be right, despite the outcomes, is a cumulative quality that comes with the buildup of all those small decisions. I don’t have any aspirations that are worth sacrificing my integrity.   

If you are elected, how will you engage with your constituents to know their needs/concerns?

If elected I will do my best to provide many ways for my constituents to be in contact with me. Whether formally or informally, I want to provide as much facetime as possible with those in my district. I think one of my best traits is my ability to communicate, where it is just as important to understand as it is to be understood. I will do my best to understand those who I represent (even if I can’t promise to make them all happy all the time). I strongly believe that our neighborhood needs a bigger buy-in from more of its members, and I think more events that encourage us to come together will be a key element to achieving that goal. With that said, I don’t think it’s only up to the elected leadership to do all the work, it’s a team effort with everyone in our community doing what they can. I do hope that if you are reading this, remember that whoever gets elected to this city council position will not be able to do it alone.