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13 more file for Salt Lake City Council seats

Salt Lake City Council Districts.
Salt Lake City Council Districts.
Screenshot of Salt Lake City Council Districts map

SALT LAKE CITY — Thirteen more candidates filed to run for Salt Lake City Council before the Wednesday deadline.

Four seats are up for grabs, with two council members — Stan Penfold in District 3 and Lisa Adams in District 7 — vacating their seats.

District 1

David Atkins said his first priority as a councilman would be helping the city's homeless community by providing education resources to those in shelters.

"First and foremost, they need to be re-educated," he said.

Atkins, who owns a car restoration shop, said the city needs "new thinking" on the City Council.

Incumbent James Rogers, 39, and Arnold Jones, 52, previously filed as candidates in the race.

District 3

Laura Cushman, 35, said she's running for a City Council seat because she feels strongly about improving infrastructure within the city.

Cushman, a wellness engagement specialist in the Jewish Community Center, said she believes if people would opt to ride bikes or walk instead of driving when possible, Salt Lake City's air pollution problem would be improved.

Cushman said she hopes to "make it safer for people to bike or even walk places."

Phil Carroll, 73, said his experience working with the homeless through the nonprofit Community Housing Services has given him a close perspective on the issue.

"My focus is really affordable housing and the homeless issue at this point," he said.

Carroll said affordable housing is an issue that relates to the quality of life for Salt Lake City, and he wants to see the community continue to improve.

Brian Fukushima, 46, says his experience as an orthopedic surgeon has allowed him to see the issues of homelessness from a medical perspective, dealing with life-threatening medical problems.

Fukushima said he wants to focus on expanding resources for the homeless, particularly with health services.

"By the time it reaches me, it is a crisis," he said. "More can be done in terms of policy, creating mechanisms in which people won't fall through the cracks."

Fukushima also said he hopes to take preventative measures to keep people from becoming homeless by fostering economic growth in the area.

Courtney Swedenburg and Jeffrey Garbett also filed as candidates for the seat but could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Chris Wharton, 39, is also running for the District 3 seat.

District 5

George Chapman, 66, said he wants to place a high priority on public safety and street maintenance.

Chapman also said he decided to run for the City Council seat because he's concerned that council members are making decisions in secret. He said he's been closely following the council's actions.

"I am disappointed that we aren't spending more time and effort on cleaning up State Street," he said.

Chapman said he would like to work to find facilities or campgrounds for the homeless to locate, rather than continuing to let people camp on the streets.

Benjamin Noah Rosenberg, 23, says he wants to increase constituent engagement as a means of improving his district.

"The number of people who you talk to that just expect to get absolutely nothing out of every interaction they have with government is really disappointing to me," he said.

Rosenberg said he will provide a consistent presence at council meetings, adding that he believes issues become crises when they are not addressed by their representatives at an early stage.

A mental health worker with Valley Behavioral Health, Rosenberg said he hopes to help with homelessness and mental health care in his community.

Carol Goode-Rogozinski also filed her candidacy for the District 5 seat. She could not be reached for comment Wednesday evening.

Incumbent Erin Mendenhall, 36, is seeking re-election.

District 7

Benjamin Sessions, 35, said he hopes that future development in Sugar House will keep local businesses in mind and maintain the area's master plan.

A longtime Sugar House resident and a business developer, Sessions said he hopes to maintain the "authenticity" of the area, preserving existing businesses and neighborhoods in a way that follows the community master plan.

Sessions said he also wants to increase funding for police and fire services so residents in the district feel safe.

"We need the best officers in the field to protect our families, businesses and homes," he said.

Abe Smith, 38, said his decision to run for office came when Adams decided not to run again.

Smith said when having conversations with friends and colleagues, there's a feeling among constituents that they're not being heard.

"For me, it's really about the process by which decisions get made in local government," he said. "It's making sure that we've got community input and we are not making decisions back behind closed doors."

On the issue of homelessness, Smith said it's important to look at the causes of the problem, particularly with mental illness and drug addiction, rather than simply focusing on the result.

Samantha Finch, 44, said her decision to run for local office came in response to her dissatisfaction with politics at the national level.

Finch said she is a moderate and focused on environmental issues such as air quality and public lands. She said she would favor new parks and updating infrastructure for environmental sustainability.

"I am excited to jump in because I feel very strongly that the country is tearing itself apart with a lot of its partisan politics, and I have always identified myself as kind of a middle-of-the-road, common-sense, moderate gal," Finch said.

Jason Sills, 39, is also running for the District 7 seat.