Jenny Wilson, Democratic candidate for Salt Lake County Mayor (Incumbent)
Occupation: Mayor of Salt Lake County
Hometown: Salt Lake City
Residence: Salt Lake City
Education: Bachelor’s in Mass Communication from the University of Utah; Master’s in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
1. What is your position on Utah’s coronavirus response, and do you support mask mandates?
A number of aspects of the state government’s response have frustrated me, but I have refused to let that me prevent me from protecting Salt Lake County residents. When state leaders refused to put a face-covering requirement in place, I stepped up and put that requirement in place for Salt Lake County. Two weeks later — after the incubation period ended — cases in the county began to decline and Salt Lake County’s share of cases dropped while the share from the rest of the state rose.
Too many Salt Lake County small businesses weren’t able to participate in the federal business assistance programs, so I created $40 million in grants to help our small businesses survive and operate safely. I sent local schools more than $11 million to help them reopen safely and purchase new laptop computers. To help restaurants and county residents living with food insecurity, I sent nearly half a million dollars to a program that commissions restaurants for our hungry neighbors. And as cases of domestic violence rose in the county, I increased funding to two local organizations that help victims of domestic violence.
I am not afraid to make the tough choices to keep Salt Lake County residents safe. My decisions are guided by data and science, not politics and ideology.
2. What is your view on the ongoing protests for racial equity and police reform?
Freedom of assembly is one of the most fundamental rights in a free society. Voices long ignored have every right to be heard. Acts of violence and destruction drown-out those voices, however, and I do not support such acts. I believe every community deserves law enforcement that serves and protects all of its families. We need better training for our police officers, more transparent accountability, and a stronger commitment to mental health care. Although the county mayor has no legal authority over the county sheriff, district attorney or Unified Police Department, I am ready and eager to work with state legislators or local governments on reforms that would make everyone in our communities safer.
To that end, I offered my Council of Diversity Affairs as a resource to support conversations surrounding our criminal justice system and policing to any city or department that wants to open up the conversation. I am deeply committed to the work of justice and opportunity and to build a Salt Lake County where safety and prosperity are paramount.
3. What are the top three issues affecting Utahns?
COVID — both the public health crisis and economic recovery; poor air quality; and insufficient supply of affordable housing
4. How will you vote in the presidential election?
For Vice President Biden and Senator Harris
5. What, if anything, would you like to communicate to Salt Lake Community College students specifically?
It is incredibly important to vote in this election, and not just for county mayor or president, but in every race on the ballot. The engagement of young Utahns is absolutely critical to our state’s future. The choices we’re making now will affect you for decades to come, so be a part of them! It all starts with your vote.