The Race for 4 Salt Lake City Council Seats Is On

Salt Lake City

SALT LAKE CITY — Four newcomers have filed candidacy bids to join Salt Lake City Council next year.

Thursday marked the first day City Council hopefuls could file declarations of candidacy before a June 7 deadline.

Four seats are up for re-election, with two council members — Stan Penfold, District 3, and Lisa Adams, District 7, planning on vacating their seats.

Here are the candidates as of Thursday:

District 1

Arnold M. Jones is challenging incumbent James Rogers, who is seeking a second term.

Jones, 52, currently works for Salt Lake County’s Aging Services Department as a driver for the elderly. Formerly, Jones said he worked at the customer service outsourcing company Convergys.

Jones said he has great interest in political issues and he’s hoping to make a difference.

“Homelessness is a huge issue,” Jones said. “I also want to help law enforcement build relationships between communities and help development in the downtown area.”

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Rogers, 39, was first elected to the City Council in 2013.

“Some really great things have happened in District 1 over the past four years,” Rogers said. “I am to continue what I’ve promised to do, which is improve the area.”

He pointed to the Salt Lake City International Airport’s redevelopment, investment in the fairgrounds and the creation of the northwest quadrant master plan for development near the future state prison.

District 1 encompasses Rose Park, Jordan Meadows, West Point and Fairpark neighborhoods.

District 3

Chris Wharton, a civil rights attorney and LGBT rights activist, is aiming to take Penfold’s place, who announced earlier this year he won’t be seeking re-election.

So far no other candidates have filed for the seat.

Wharton, 39, said his top priorities are affordable housing, preserving the “unique character” of neighborhoods and increasing neighborhood safety to prevent property crime, among other issues.

“I’m running because I’m passionate about Salt Lake City,” Wharton said. “I’ll work hard to protect what makes us different and ensure future growth and success.”

District 3 encompasses Capitol Hill and Greater Avenues neighborhoods.

District 5

Vance Hansen is challenging incumbent Councilwoman Erin Mendenhall.

Hansen, 48, said he has experience in law enforcement and security, previously working as a deputy constable in Murray, and volunteered on and off in a variety of cities for animal control. Currently, he said, he works at Wal-Mart.

Hansen said he’s running to gain political experience.

“I’d like to run in local government and eventually work up to state government,” he said, to play a part in the community.

Mendenhall, 36, was first elected in 2013. She didn’t file an official declaration of candidacy on Thursday, but in April she issued a statement announcing her intentions to seek a second term.

Her top priorities include expanding the city’s parks and trails system, protecting the city’s watershed, achieving growth “that fits with the character” of the area and ensuring public safety by making “strategic investments in areas in need.”

“We need transparent partnerships involving neighborhoods, law enforcement and other stakeholders to keep our neighborhoods safe and vibrant,” Mendenhall said in the statement.

District 5 encompasses Ballpark, Central City, Liberty Wells and Wasatch Hollow neighborhoods.

District 7

Jason Sills, 39, is aiming to take the seat of Adams, who announced last month she isn’t seeking re-election. He’s so far the only District 7 candidate.

Sills, who has a master’s degree in public administration from Arizona State University, is a senior analytics manager at Backcountry, an outdoor retail company. Previously, he said he worked as a deputy data director on President Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign.

Sills said he wants to use his data and analytics expertise to help solve issues in Salt Lake City.

“I see mistakes, decisions being made again and again in my district — from the S-Line extension to the recent Simpson Avenue fiasco,” Sills said. “All of that I believe is a product of not using data and analytics in the right way. … That’s what I’m going to provide.”

District 7 encompasses Sugar House.

Twitter: KatieMcKellar1

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