The candidates running for Salt Lake City Mayor, Luz Escamilla and Erin Mendenhall, are very similar in their policy positions. As election day closes in, it is important that Salt Lake City voters are informed of each candidates’ background and vision for the city. In a previous article I broke down Escamilla’s platform and experience; now, here are three important aspects of Erin Mendenhall that voters should understand.
Since 2013, Mendenhall has represented District 5 on City Council, encompassing the Ballpark, Central 9th, Liberty Wells, East Liberty Park and Wasatch Hollow neighborhoods. Her second term began in 2017, and she was Council Chair in 2018. Mendenhall also has some experience outside of the City Council. She is a member of the “Utah Quality Growth Commission” and the “Utah League of Cities and Towns Board of Directors.” She is Chair of the “Utah Air Quality Board” and founded the local air-quality non-profit, “Breathe Utah”.
- Policy Positions
As stated on her campaign website, here are Mendenhall’s primary policy initiatives:
“Improve air quality for Salt Lake City families”
“Protect residents from Inland Port harm as much as possible”
“Expand access to educational opportunities”
“Address the city’s growing homelessness crises”
“Fix the city’s broken roads and crumbling infrastructure”
“Expand the city’s urban forest”
“Create a sustainable tech ecosystem”
“Work with young people to reduce the threat of gun violence”
“Expand the city’s supply of safe and affordable housing.”
Throughout her time on the City Council, Mendenhall has put great focus on a variety of environmental initiatives such as renewable energy expansion, electric vehicle infrastructure, watershed protections, and carbon fee dividends. While she has vast experience working on environmental topics, one may raise questions regarding her experience with other issues.
- “A Brighter Future for Salt Lake City”
“Erin has a vision for a better Salt Lake City: one with cleaner air, stronger neighborhoods, and wider access to economic opportunities for all its residents.”
Mendenhall’s campaign website mentions three topics when describing her “vision for a better Salt Lake City”: affordable housing, building a “tech eco-system”, and access to opportunities, services, and resources. This is an important statement because it allows voters to evaluate their alignment with Mendenhall’s platform.
Erin Mendenhall does not have nearly as much government experience as her competitor, Luz Escamilla. Mendenhall has, however, developed a platform that many Salt Lake City residents have aligned with – improving air quality and bringing tech to the city. Those who oppose Mendenhall have cited her lack of experience as a weakness, but as we saw in the 2016 Presidential Election, a large proportion of the population is willing to overlook a smaller resume for initiatives they can identify with. Voters that are looking for a candidate with a large vision, environmental prioritization, and a desire to bring tech to Salt Lake City may lean towards Erin Mendenhall.