'New day, new adventure' as elected officials sworn in
Feb 01, 2018 08:45AM ● Published by City Journals Staff
Councilman Chad Lamb is sworn into office by City Recorder Melanie Briggs. (Travis Barton/City Journals)
Gallery: Swearing in [6 Images] Click any image to expand.
On a night when three newly elected officials were sworn in, West Jordan’s only incumbent winner from the 2017 election, Alan R. Anderson, brought his mom to the front of the city council chambers as he took the oath of office.
“Of all the things I’ve done being in an elected position, I’ve never had my parents come,” Anderson said. His father passed away before he was appointed city councilmember via coin toss in November 2016. “I won’t call it regret, but I wish my dad could have seen this.”
Anderson said he learned the value of public service from his dad, who served as a highway patrolman for 35 years. Anderson’s middle name, Ruel, comes from his dad, and it’s why he chose to keep the middle initial on his city council plaque.
“He always said, ‘why is my name Ruel?’” Anderson recalled. “I said ‘I don’t know; your parents called you that.’ And he said, ‘No, it’s be because I make the rules.’”
The councilman for District 4 will now be making city rules with three newly elected officials: Mayor Jim Riding and Councilmembers at-large Kayleen Whitelock and Chad Lamb, respectively.
Before a council chambers overflowing with attendees, the four officials were sworn in on Jan. 3.
Riding took his oath wearing a lei in honor of his son-in-law, a Hawaiian native. He described his feelings as “surreal,” having moved across the hall from his corner office as the city’s capital improvement projects manager. For 15 years, Riding has worked for the city. He said he’s relieved it’s finally over so they can start taking care of city business.
Economic development, Riding said, is his No. 1 priority.
“I want to get out and start talking to businesses,” he said, adding he’d like to get the chamber of commerce connected to the county and state economic development departments to “see what we can do to get some good businesses here to revitalize the tax base, increase the tax base so that we can afford to do the things we need to do as a city.”
Lamb, a strategic media planner-buyer for Saxton Horne Communications, echoed those sentiments.
“You can’t put the burden on the citizens with taxes; you can put that burden on businesses that come in, and that way you’re helping to grow the city without having to put too much on the taxpayers,” he said.
Lamb said his election win didn’t sink in until taking the oath. “It finally feels real tonight,” he said.
For Whitelock, her feeling was “one of joy and a little bit of nervousness.”
A former nurse, Whitelock has served in public office before, having been on the Jordan School District Board of Education as well as various Utah PTA boards, including the state board.
She said she’s always been involved with the city from the outside but never on the inside.
“New day, new adventure,” she said.
Her initial priorities are establishing work sessions and improving the city’s image are.
“We’re a wonderful place, but we’re not respected in the valley, so I want to work on that,” Whitelock said, adding that to do that, city leaders need to build relationships with the Salt Lake County Council and legislators.
She said she has many relationships with those that represent West Jordan and the Jordan School District.
The city’s image has also been affected by council infighting in the past, something the new members think will change.
“I think the city council we have now is going to be united and work together,” Lamb said. “We’ve seen other councils in the past that didn’t work together, but this one is really a good bunch of people that are going to work together to make West Jordan better.”
It’s one of the reasons why Riding, now the city’s 13th mayor, was so excited to get started.
“I’ve got some really good people on the council,” he said. “I’m looking forward to working closely with each one of them and try to see if we can’t get some good things accomplished for our city.”
With the change in government coming in 2020 from the current council–manager form to a council–mayor form, Riding and Anderson will be up for reelection in 2019, only serving two-year terms.