Salt Lake County swears in two new council members

Salt Lake County Council will welcome two new members Tuesday, giving Republicans a narrower 5-4 majority than they previously had on the nine-member Partisan Council.

Democrat Suzanne Harrison ousted Republican Richard Snelgrove, a two-term incumbent, in the general election, turning over a crucial statewide seat in the costliest county council race ever. In doing so, Harrison eliminated the GOP supermajority on the council and handed the Utah Democrats perhaps the most significant victory of 2022.

In the June primary, Republican Sheldon Stewart ousted District 5 councilman Steve DeBry for the seat representing the southwest portion of the district.

As Harrison and Stewart prepare to take their oath on Tuesday, we asked them to tell our readers a little more about themselves. Here’s what they said (edited slightly for clarity):

Suzanne Harrison

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Suzanne Harrison is promoting Tier 3 gas in October 2021. It’s a cause she plans to advance as a member of Salt Lake County Council.

Age • Does not happen! 🙂

Residence: draper

Profession • Physician – Physician Anesthetist at Riverton Hospital.

Other community organizations (boards, committees, etc.) • Canyons Education Foundation Board Member, KUER Advisory Board, Board of Envision Utah.

Previous government experience • State Representative for the former 32nd House District of Utah from 2018 to 2022.

favorite hobby • I enjoy being outside with my family. Whether it’s playing pickleball (very bad), walking our dog, or riding a bike, being in nature with the people I love makes me very happy.

A fun fact about you • I love Diet Coke.

A politician you admire • The late Senator John McCain, R-Ariz. A few years ago my husband and I visited Vietnam and saw the prison where he was held as a prisoner of war and repeatedly tortured. It was deeply moving. I admire his service and love for our country. He spoke clearly and did what he saw fit, even when it wasn’t easy or popular.

What made you decide to run for city council?

As a mother and doctor, I am passionate about serving my community and helping people. I loved serving at Utah House, where I focused on making health care more affordable, cleaning our air, conserving our water, and improving government transparency. So many people are struggling with living expenses and other challenges right now. I realized that the county was a place where I could help even more of my neighbors and make a difference.

What do you think the district should change?

Many residents do not know how the district administration works. People may go to the library or the local recreation center that the county operates, but what they don’t realize is that the county also plays an important role in emergency care and public safety. I hope to get out into the community and hear what people want from their local government and how we can best meet the needs of a diverse community.

What is the biggest problem facing the county and how would you propose to solve it?

I’ve spoken to many constituents who feel priced out by our housing market or are concerned that their children and grandchildren will never be able to afford to buy a home in our community. Salt Lake County has been in the grips of a housing crisis for some time, and while the county government has limited ability to influence the market, it can and should work to increase the number of affordable housing units. The county has allocated funds for affordable housing and should continue that investment. One way is to tie more investment in community regeneration agencies to the inclusion of affordable housing in these projects.

What is the first thing you want to achieve on the council?

The district has a large and complex budget and I intend to dig in, get to work, listen and learn. I have met with the budget director and will be meeting with the heads of departments. I also plan to meet with every mayor in the county to listen and find ways to work together. The regional work is crucial to respond to the needs of the residents.

What would you like to achieve in your first year as a council member?

I will continue to advocate for cleaner air and a more affordable cost of living in Salt Lake County. I have a track record of leading policies that prioritize clean air and common sense. At County Council, I will continue to advocate for the transition to cleaner fleets, Tier 3 gas and action against the Parleys Canyon mine. As a legislator, I have proposed a longer pilot program for free transit, and I support Governor Spencer Cox’s proposal for a year-long zero-fare pilot program for transit.

How would you describe your ability to work across the aisle?

During my tenure in elected office, I have built a track record of working across the aisle and as a team player because I value collaboration. In the legislature, I was a moderate, independent voice and committed to working collaboratively, having Republican co-sponsors for every bill I passed. I plan to bring the same spirit to the Salt Lake City County Council. In the weeks since the election, I’ve made a point of reaching out to every member of the county council to build relationships and find common ground. I will not allow politics to get in the way of aid.

Sheldon Stewart

(Sheldon Stewart) As a member of the Salt Lake County Council, Sheldon Stewart plans to handle subsidies for the United Police Department.

Age • 47

Residence • Riverton.

Profession • bank director.

Other community organizations (boards, committees, etc.) • Unified Fire Authority and South Valley Services.

Previous government experience • 11 years on Riverton City Council.

favorite hobby • Working with my hands to build things.

A fun fact about you• i am left handed

A politician you admire • AbrahamLincoln.

What made you decide to run for city council?

A better voice was needed to represent the interests of the southwest portion of our county.

What do you think the district should change?

Agency subsidies that only benefit a small portion of our county.

What is the biggest problem facing the county and how would you propose to solve it?

We have uncontrolled spending and we keep increasing it instead of controlling it.

What is the first thing you want to achieve on the council?

Direct the subsidies to the Unified Police Department. UPD is not self-sufficient, billing the borough 20% of its total budget and calling it “shared services” when the services benefit only UPD members, but the bill is borne by all residents of the borough.

What would you like to achieve in your first year as a council member?

Addressing the budgeting process and increasing transparency in spending.

How would you describe your ability to work across the aisle?

I don’t understand why it can’t happen. We need to publish strategic priorities and understand theirs. Salt Lake County swears in two new council members

Justin Scacco

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