By Justin Adams | firstname.lastname@example.org
Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs announced that he will be running for Salt Lake County Mayor at an event held by Utah for Responsible for Growth on Wednesday night.
“Tonight, I’m actually here to announce my candidacy for the office of [Salt Lake] County Mayor,” Staggs told an auditorium of attendees who gathered to support the beginning of a county-wide signature-gathering campaign to force a referendum on Olympia Hills.
The controversial 900+ acre development located to the northwest of Herriman was approved by the Salt Lake County Council this week. Now, opponents who feel the project will have a negative impact on current residents of the southwest part of the valley are fighting back, not only in organizing a referendum to reverse the council’s decision, but mounting campaigns to challenge the city councilors who made the decision.
“You’re in the process of moving forward on this referendum. That’s the first point,” said Staggs. “The second point is to find great representatives and elected officials who will represent you.”
During the event, both Staggs and Utah for Responsible Growth leaders were joined on stage by current elected officials from the area as well as several candidates for Salt Lake County Council seats aiming to remove those who voted for Olympia Hills.
Staggs told the Riverton Journal following the meeting that he’d been thinking about running for a few weeks, but that the council’s vote this week convinced him to jump into the race.
“For me the last straw was this decision made by the county council on a 900 acre piece of property that’s going to impact us so much. They just don’t listen,” he said.
Stagg’s campaign will focus on three principles, he told the crowd: smart responsible growth, empowering local communities to make their own decisions and fiscal responsibility. As examples, he touted his record as Riverton’s mayor in helping to maintain low property taxes and forming the city’s own police department.
“These are the three things I want to carry through the campaign, and with your help, be able to affect that change at the county and take our county back,” he said.
Staggs will be running for the Mayor position as a Republican. If elected, he would be the first Republican Mayor of Salt Lake County since Nancy Workman, who served from 2000-2004. For Staggs, it will be quite different than the world of municipal politics, in which candidates and elected leaders don’t bear an R or D next to their name.
“I have the benefit of being in Riverton in municipal office, it’s non-partisan. That’s great, it really is. I don’t think people view their local officials as that partisan,” he said.
He went on to say that he thinks his message will resonate with both sides of the political spectrum.
“I think as we get out there and start talking to all the cities and townships in the county and they get a feel for my ability to listen and what I’ve been able to accomplish, we’re going to see a lot of support.”