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Why should you vote for Erin Mendenhall? She responds

The mayor’s race, which is officially nonpartisan, is for a four-year term. Ballots were mailed Oct. 31, and voting is currently underway. The final Election Day is Nov. 21.

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Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall speaks in Salt Lake City.

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall speaks prior to President’s Joe Biden remarks at the George E. Wahlen Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Salt Lake City on Aug. 10, 2023.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

Editor’s note: The Deseret News has asked each candidate for mayor of Salt Lake City to provide three reasons why voters should select them. The mayor’s race, which is officially nonpartisan, is for a four-year term. Ballots were mailed Oct. 31, and voting is currently underway. The final Election Day is Nov. 21. This is the first election in which Salt Lake City will be using the ranked choice method of voting.

Here is the response from incumbent Mayor Erin Mendenhall:

Willingness to work with our partners instead of against them

At some point in Salt Lake City’s past, some of our leaders started to believe that we had to tackle every challenge on our own, and that picking political fights with the Republican governor and Legislature was more important than working with them. I fundamentally reject that approach.

When I ran for mayor, I promised to keep our seat at the table — to put aside my personal feelings when necessary in the name of rebuilding the burned bridges of our past and showing the state Legislature that we were more interested in progress than partisan politics. As a result, the state is more invested in Salt Lake City’s success than it has been in years, with new funding for public safety, affordable housing and homelessness.

Salt Lake City finally has a real partner on policy solutions to break the cycles that keep some unsheltered residents from getting the help they need to get back on their feet. Our partnership with federal law enforcement has resulted in more than 300 “apex” criminals being taken off our streets. Our partnership with other municipalities is why — after Rocky Mountain Power pushed the target delivery of net-100% renewable energy back to 2050 — we negotiated a first-in-the-nation agreement that will get it to every outlet by 2030.

Partnership is why a sanctioned camp is being built for the unsheltered this winter; construction is underway on a tiny-home community; and why neighboring cities are stepping up to host homeless services in a way they never have before. I will never put partisan politics ahead of delivering real results for this city.

Bold stewardship on the Great Salt Lake

The environmental challenges facing Salt Lake City and indeed all of Utah are existential, and the deterioration of the Great Salt Lake, in particular, threatens to undermine the progress we’ve made together and the incredible opportunities we’ve earned. To do our part (and then some) to help save the Great Salt Lake, we have raised water prices incrementally over the last several years and will continue into the future. 

In 2022, I led an aggressive conservation effort that helped reduce water consumption in the Salt Lake City water district and prevented 2.9 billion gallons of water from being diverted away from the lake. Salt Lake City government is conducting a top-to-bottom review of water usage in every city-owned facility and park, identifying new opportunities to do a better job of conserving water. The results of that review are already coming in, and will inform significant city policy changes and funding decisions over the next four years. 

We’re implementing a temporary drought surcharge on the city’s biggest water consumers that would end when the drought ends and emergency conditions have waned. And with the city’s water reclamation facility treating 35 million gallons of water each day, I began the legal process of permanently committing that 13 billion gallons a year (a number that will grow as the city grows) to the Great Salt Lake to slow its deterioration.

Crisis-tested leadership in a time of uncertainty

Salt Lake City has been confronted by a historic set of challenges — earthquakes, the historic windstorm, months of social justice protests, the coronavirus pandemic, snowmelt flooding, the statewide homelessness crisis, and the nationwide surge in crime. As a city we have been tested, but we have shown our resilience and our grace. Through it all we have adapted, innovated and delivered real results for our residents and businesses.

Salt Lake City’s police officers and firefighters have endorsed me for reelection because I am crisis tested, and they know I’m the candidate best able to make Salt Lake City safer for everyone. It’s an honor to have earned their trust.