Story by CATHY MCKITRICK • Standard-Examiner Staff
With rising fees and taxes on the horizon, two city council slots and the open mayor’s seat in South Ogden drew significant interest, with six candidates running for two council seats and three in the fray for mayor.
The Standard-Examiner asked each candidate a short series of questions. Voters will trim the six South Ogden City Council candidates to four and the three mayoral candidates to two in the Aug. 15 primary. The winners will be selected in the election Nov. 7.
The responses have been edited for clarity.
Education: Earned a bachelor’s degree in recreation and parks management from the University of Utah.
Occupation: A mother and grandmother, Orr also volunteers in the community, serves on the City Council and substitute teaches in the Weber School District.
Website/social media: Sallee Orr for South Ogden Mayor on Facebook and so4so.blogspot.com.
What life experience makes you a good prospect to serve as mayor? During my tenure on the South Ogden City Council, I have gained valuable knowledge and insight about the city. I feel that this experience and my record of dedication and service to the residents would benefit the city of South Ogden as their mayor.
What is your prime motivation for running? I feel I would be one of the best, most active and involved mayors South Ogden has ever had. I will not be satisfied with the status quo. Serving South Ogden is my passion and my commitment. I am open to change and know that the residents of South Ogden deserve to be heard. As mayor, I will continue to preserve the high quality of life we enjoy in South Ogden and to look for ways to reduce the budget, improve our roads and enforce our ordinances.
Education: Holds a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s in education from Weber State University.
Occupation: Currently teaches at Bonneville High School.
Website/social media: russporter4mayor.weebly.com & Russ4Mayor on Facebook
What life experience makes you a good prospect to serve as mayor? Spending the last eight years on the City Council and the last two as Mayor Pro-Tem has given me great insight into how city government works. I understand what city government can do to help residents, as well as realize when government should leave citizens alone. Having taught history, government and current events as a profession has given me an understanding of the proper role government should play in our lives. Also, as a life-long resident, I understand the history of South Ogden, its people, its strengths and its needs.
What is your prime motivation for running? I want to make sure South Ogden stays a great place to live and raise a family. I want experienced leadership and someone who understands our city and will take care of its needs. I can lead, I can bring people together and I can communicate effectively with the residents, city staff and neighboring cities.
Education: Earned a bachelor’s degree in business Administration from Weber State University.
Occupation: Works as a validation technician for a medical company.
Website/Social Media: Thompson4Mayor on Facebook and vote.utah.gov
What life experience makes you a good prospect to serve as Mayor? At the age of 12, I lost my parents in separate accidents. I was forced to grow up at an early age. That put me in contact with people from all walks of life. Everyone has a different situation and everyone matters. I understand at an intimate level the everyday, real life challenges that people are facing. We need someone with that experience as mayor to prevent people and families from falling through the cracks. I am that person.
What is your prime motivation for running? Public safety, any way you can define it. Supporting our police and fire, roads and sidewalks, and consumer protection.
Education: High school graduate
Occupation: Owns and operates Burch Creek Mercantile in South Ogden.
Website/Social Media: Robert Higgs for South Ogden City Council on Facebook
What life experience makes you a good prospect to serve on the City Council? I have been in management since the age of 18. I was an area manager and in upper-management at Albertsons from 1998 to 2001, a manager at Walmart from 2001-2009, and have owned and operated Burch Creek Mercantile since 2009. I know how to create financial goals and achieve them. In South Ogden we need someone who knows how to manage a budget and plan for the future. A city is basically a business. South Ogden needs restricted funds for infrastructure needs, and there also desperately needs to be a sinking fund created to plan for future needs.
What is your prime motivation for running? Many residents are telling me they want to move or close their businesses if the new proposed taxes actually happen. Many years of poor planning and budgeting has left $40 million worth of infrastructure needs that the city cannot possibly address under its current available funds. For example, if all current proposed plans pass (property tax increase, utility increase and the ridiculous new travel tax), I will be paying roughly $4,500 to $5,000 a year to run my business. On top of that, the city wants to raise the fees and taxes for three consecutive years, which means that in three years I could be paying around $15,000 more a year to operate my business. We need to be encouraging economic growth. This is definitely not the way to do it.
Education: Earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice
Occupation: Has been a police officer for 17 years and currently serves in Roy. He also teaches a class in law enforcement at Roy High School.
Website/Social Media: Mike Howard / For South Ogden City Council on Facebook & mike_t_howard on Instagram
What life experience makes you a good prospect to serve as Mayor? Mike worked at the family business, The Bike Shoppe in South Ogden, for most of his youth. In July of 2000, he entered the Utah Police Academy and has been a police officer serving the community for 17 years. During that time, he has worked as a patrol officer, narcotic agent and K-9 handler. Mike was also assigned to the SWAT team and served on the executive board for the Utah Narcotic Officers Association (UNOA). As the president of UNOA Mike travelled to Washington D.C. and lobbied for Utah police officers.
What is your prime motivation for running? I want to continue serving the public and want to give back to the city that I have called home. This is a new challenge and I will work my hardest to do what is best for South Ogden.
Education: Had bachelor’s degree in business management from BYU Idaho and a master’s in business administration with a contract management certificate from Weber State University.
Occupation: He currently works in automobile sales.
Website/Social Media: jeremydhowe.weebly.com
What life experience makes you a good prospect to serve on the City Council? I have studied hard and have learned as much in the classroom as I have along the road of life. Most importantly, however, I have learned how to treat people — from the very poor to the very rich, from the humble worker to the very educated, I believe in the power of a firm handshake and what it implies; that we have an agreement, and I will honor my end of the bargain. As a businessman, I understand government's role in keeping commerce free and profitable. I also believe that it is the responsibility of the government to protect the citizens we serve and to be a steward over the resources we are blessed with.
What is your prime motivation for running? I want South Ogden to be a place where businesses want to do business and residents are assured that their rights are not infringed. I believe that businesses can provide resources for our city to help make it a more inviting place to live, work and play. I believe that through proper budgeting and ordinance reform, we can assure a sustainable future for our city without overburdening our residents with taxes.
Education: Graduated from the Weber State Police Academy
Occupation: Worked 28 years in law enforcement service before retiring with the rank of sergeant from the Weber County Sheriff’s Office. He now works as an assistant chief deputy for the Provo City Constable assigned to supervise the bailiff’s and security at the Salt Lake City Justice Court, Veterans Court and Homeless Court.
What life experience makes you a good prospect to serve on the City Council? I served on the South Ogden City Council from 2008-2016 and have served as Mayor Pro Tem and South Ogden’s representative with the Chamber of Commerce. I worked in a supervisory capacity in law enforcement supervisor for the past 18 years and also coached youth sports in South Ogden for many years.
What is your prime motivation for running? First and foremost, I want to improve South Ogden’s infrastructure. The roads, sewer, water and sidewalks are all in need of repair. It is time to create a long term plan to address all of these and come up with a long term plan. Strict enforcement of city ordinances is also important to me as it protects property value and our way of life in South Ogden. I believe in living within our means, and although raising taxes is sometimes necessary, it is not the solution to moving forward in our city.
Education: Earned a bachelor's degree from Utah State University in family and consumer science with a family finance emphasis.
Website/Social Media: susanstewart4council on Facebook
What life experience makes you a good prospect to serve on the City Council? I am currently serving on the South Ogden City Planning Commission. My education contributes an understanding of how financial policy decisions on the city level may affect the residents of our city.
What is your prime motivation for running? Concern for the direction our city is headed in regard to city planning and finances.
Sandra Lee Wright
Education: Attended Weber State University
Occupation: Retired from her housekeeping business.
What life experience makes you a good prospect to serve on the City Council? I served on the City Council for eight years from 1994-2001 and found it challenging and enjoyable.
What is your prime motivation for running? I want to get more involved in the community and push for more transparency. I’ve heard from senior citizens who would like to have more of the South Ogden Days events on the north end of town. They really enjoyed that.