Trent Staggs, Republican candidate for Salt Lake County Mayor
Occupation: Executive Advisor
Hometown: Riverton, Utah
Residence: Riverton, Utah
Education: BA in Political Science, MBA – BYU
1. What is your position on Utah’s coronavirus response, and do you support mask mandates?
I believe there is much more we can and should be doing to slow the spread of COVID-19. At the start of the pandemic I called for a universal and repeat testing program to allow every resident to be tested and tested multiple times. This allows us to find those who are carrying COVID-19 and allows them to quarantine, thus removing active pathogens from interacting with the public each day. This has proven to be the most effective strategy in countries that have successfully contained coronavirus and with our recent spike in cases despite 90% – 96% mask wearing compliance it is the next step we must take to save lives.
2. What is your view on the ongoing protests for racial equity and police reform?
As Riverton’s mayor I moved our city to self provide law enforcement last July. This has given us much more autonomy and control over how we do policing. We have employed very serious hiring, training, and policy reforms. We have instituted an anti-bias policy, mandated body cameras, and enacted use of force policies that prevent pain compliance techniques that would cut off blood flow to the head. We believe in involving the community in our policing process and are launching our “citizens police academy,” a six week course that will allow Riverton residents to work with officers and facilitate a discussion on how we can make our community safer and more fair and equitable. I want to bring these same policy reforms to Salt Lake County.
3. What are the top three issues affecting Utahns?
COVID-19, smart growth, and fiscal responsibility. We need a real plan to decrease the massive growth in case counts in Utah. A universal and repeat testing program for every resident has proven to be the best means of containing the virus and saving lives. Utah is growing and we need to make sure that we do so in a smart, responsible way. If we don’t implement policies and strategies that wisely shape our growth we can expect poor results in air quality, transportation, and affordable housing. I have plans for each of these issues at TrentStaggs.com. Salt Lake County’s budget has increased by 50% in 5 years. Our budget is now larger than Clark County, home to Las Vegas, but they have double our population. This type of fiscal situation does not indicate that our programs are well funded. Rather, it indicates that funds are being mismanaged and those in charge simply increase taxes to pay for that mismanagement, rather than make the programs and services more effectively serve residents. In Riverton I have been able to improve services for residents while decreasing costs and I plan to do the same thing for Salt Lake County.
4. How will you vote in the presidential election?
I think focusing on national politics distracts us from issues we have in our own backyard. Our country is so divided that even mentioning one candidate or another immediately turns off half the voters. We need to work together if we are going to make a real change and not allow national politics to divide us. If we are going to make a meaningful impact on issues like air quality, economic recovery, homelessness, public health and our fiscal state, then we need to stop focusing on personalities and parties and start focusing on policies and principles.
5. What, if anything, would you like to communicate to Salt Lake Community College students specifically?
I would encourage students to not take a partisan view of candidates when they vote. Not all Democrats are the same, not all Republicans are the same. As you go down your ballot thoughtfully research each candidate and support the person that is best fit for the office regardless of party.