Candidates for the upcoming Lehi City Mayoral election have been declared. Mayor Bert Wilson’s second four-year term concludes in January, and he is running re-election. Mayoral candidate Jimmy Eaton withdrew from the race due to unknown circumstances.
The primary election will be held on Tuesday, August 15, 2017 and the general election will be held on Tuesday, November 7, 2017. Ballots for the primary election will be mailed to registered Lehi voters on July 25. The Lehi Free Press is determined to provide coverage of this year’s election. A brief background on each of the mayoral candidates are featured below.
Bert and his wife Taunya Wilson were both raised in Lehi and are the parents of four children and grandparents of fourteen. Family tradition and family-oriented activities are important to Wilson.
Wilson has been active in scouting his entire life, and is the recipient of the Silver Beaver and was recently recognized as an Outstanding Eagle by the Utah National Parks Council. He has worked in the banking and financing industry for 42 years. He has served in various leadership positions in his church and in the community, and has volunteered many hours to help the city and its residents.
When asked about Lehi’s growth, Wilson said, “Lehi has experienced unprecedented growth in the last 8 years, which has presented us with many challenges and opportunities. We’ve made significant upgrades to our infrastructure over the last 2 years with power and water procurement and distribution and have plans to do more. The I-15 improvements, coming in spring of 2018, will greatly reduce the traffic congestion around the Timpanogos Highway Interchange. We’ve attracted many retail businesses that create shopping opportunities for our residents and generates a sales tax base that allows us to keep taxes low for Lehi citizens. The commercial growth has led to thousands of jobs that benefit Lehi residents today and generations to come. We can’t stop the growth, but we can manage it.”
Candidate Cody Black brings a unique background to the mayor’s race. Long involved in business, and currently the owner of Checker Flag on Main Street, he also works as a police officer for the city of Saratoga Springs. He said that combined with his experience volunteering with the Lehi Police Department, this puts him in a unique position to understand of the needs of the community in respect to those aspects of governance.
A resident of Lehi since 1983, he said he will bring his experience of taking “several struggling businesses and turn[ing] them around to be profitable” to his work as mayor. He identified four priorities: functionality of the city, unifying city leadership, economic development and quality of life.
“I feel things can be done differently to better prepare for the number one issue and that is the growth,” he said. “My vision is to have an economic development plan that will be successful and follow along with the growth. I am a visionary who can lead, direct and get things done. I’m the kind of person that likes things to work and be efficient,” said Black.
He is married to his high school sweetheart, Anna, who is an interior designer, and they are raising two sons. He enjoys coaching kids in super league baseball.
Mayoral candidate Mark Johnson owns Mustang Design, a land design and engineering firm located in Lehi. Johnson has worked in this field for 38 years, with 23 of those years in both private and municipal consulting. Johnson and his wife, Colette, have lived in Lehi for over 23 years. He graduated in 1979 from what is now Utah Valley University.
Johnson has served for 16 years on the Lehi City Planning Commission and the Lehi City Council. He currently serves as chair of the Timpanogos Special Service District where he has been a board member since 2004. Johnson’s career has been spent dealing with land design, land development, and interfacing with municipalities and governmental agencies. According to Johnson, “I have worked “both sides of the fence” and I believe that is very important when it comes to fiscal and fair decisions.”
Johnson said he is familiar with most federal and state grant programs. While serving as a Lehi City Council member, he applied for and received federal funding for three “Safe Routes to School” projects in Lehi. He was directly involved in the procurement of over $2.7 million from Washington and $5.7 million from UDOT to aid in the resolution of Lehi transportation problems.
According to Johnson, “I am concerned about the correct role of government and as mayor, I will engage the public, apply strict frugality, reduce regulatory takings, improve representation and reward performance. I’ve never been one to blindly accept what I’m told. I will question everything.”
Mayoral candidate Nolan Johnson was born September 9, 1946 and raised in Sandy, Utah. He was married on October 13, 1973 to Kandi Lynn Bush who passed away October 14, 2016. They have six children together, 29 grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. His siblings are Kathleen, Lavee, Sherrie, Rex, Gwen, and Royce.
Johnson graduated from Jordan High School and attended Trade Tech of Utah afterwards. Johnson worked in the U.S. Marine Corp (honorably discharged), Johnson has received two Purple Hearts and a Cross of Valor. He worked at Kennecott Copper as a journeyman welder, and worked as a stone mason, metal fabricator, and sculptor. He has been awarded multiple public art commissions throughout Utah for his artwork.
Johnson said, “I am running for public office because of the pride I have for the city of Lehi and its citizens. I feel confident that my abilities will help to create solutions that are fair and reasonable for the complexity of a rapidly changing community.”
Curtis and his wife Leslie Payne have been residents of Lehi for about nine years (Leslie’s great-grandfather built their first home here in Lehi in the late 1800’s). They have six children, one of which is Hannah, who has Down Syndrome. Hannah was recently chosen as the 2017 Honorary Miss Lehi.
Payne studied Business Management at BYU. He owns several businesses, including a Utah real estate brokerage. He is a licensed Realtor. Payne also developed and built innovative assisted living facilities for the elderly, and is currently building a new assisted living facility in Holladay, Utah.
Payne has served on the Utah Assisted Living Association State Board for four years, where he assists in creating legislation and regulation of assisted living in Utah. He is one of the owners and founders of Select Pharmacy, a company which brings together dozens of owners of assisted living facilities in Utah to improve both the assisted living and pharmaceutical industries.
According to Payne, his reasons for running for Mayor of Lehi include, “a desire to accomplish what others have not approached, including but not limited to lowering (if not eliminating) property taxes to acquire a true balanced budget (a budget that relies on revenue instead of increased taxation to become balanced), protecting our property rights, and a plan to raise significant funding for the beautification and efficiency of Lehi. Nearly every issue at a city level can be traced back to a lack of funding.”