Eight city council candidates will be on the August 15 primary ballot. Each voter may choose two, and the four with the most votes will advance to the November general election, where again each voter may choose two. The two winners get the seats.
Here candidates answer questions about their education, experience, objectives, and motives for running.
The following candidates have sent responses so far, and they are published below:
- Kyle Barratt
- Staci Carroll
- Barbara Christiansen
- Doug Richards
The following candidates have not yet responded, but their answers will be posted when they do. Until then, because there are so many candidates, their names are omitted below to reduce clutter.
- Aaron Clegg
- Bill Houlin
- Ernie John
- Jeffrey Shorter
Note: The questions in the post were sent to all three candidates by e-mail on Tuesday, July 18. Candidate responses are ordered alphabetically by surname. Responses may be slightly edited for grammar, punctuation, and format.
- Published: 25 July 2017
- Updated: 28 July 2017
Education, Experience, Background
Please tell us how your education, experience, and other background qualify you to serve well in elected office in American Fork. (Note particularly any volunteer or other work related to American Fork City government.)
Born, raised, and educated in American Fork. I have a Bachelors and Masters degree. Masters is in Public Administration with a emphasis in State and Local Policy. Attended or watched 75% of city council meetings over the last 4 years.
Education: I have a Bachelor’s degree from BYU in Family Science with a minor in Business. I obtained a first class education in group dynamics as well as business basics of accounting, finance, economics, and statistics.
Experience: My work experience includes technology startup Onbravo, which offered wireless internet service at its infancy at the turn of the century. I also spent about four years working as a marketing manager for Nu Skin. Last but not least, I have spent the last ten-plus years focused on rearing my children as a full-time mother of three children. My active role as a mother gives me a perspective and voice that differs from the existing council.
Family Background: For 26 years my dad, John Valentine, served as a state legislator for part of Utah County (including American Fork). This is relevant for many reasons, the least of which is my lifelong exposure to policy making and public service. From the age of 12, I sat in committee meetings, sat on the floor of the legislature and constantly discussed ideas with my dad the Senator, with my family, and many, many politically engaged citizens. As a continuation of my upbringing, I have continued to stay involved in state and local issues. I have been a Republican party delegate a number of times and try to watch and participate in city issues. If I can’t attend city council meetings in person, I watch them online.
AF PARC Tax Advisory Board: For the past 2-1/2 years, I have volunteered on this board. The PARC tax sets aside state sales tax funds toward parks, arts, recreation, and culture in American Fork. The advisory board is tasked with recommending funding allocations to the city council. In this capacity, I have participated in budget allocation processes to balance the wants and needs of various parties within the limits of available funds. This service has also allowed me to productively deliberate with the board members and to achieve consensus. Lastly, it has given me the chance to work with city staff and city council and observe how they function.
As a reporter for the American Fork Citizen and Daily Herald, I have covered the community for 29 years. During that time I have attended at least 90 percent of the City Council’s regular sessions and work sessions, and the Planning Commission meetings. I have a broad understanding of how government works, and in particular, how American Fork has come to be what it is. I have been able to see strong points and been made aware of potential pitfalls. I have volunteered on several committees, including the Library Board, Steel Days Committee, Friends of the Library, American Fork Hospital Community Outreach Council, and the city’s 150th birthday celebration. I have used my training as a writer, at no charge to the city, to help create items to help the community. I have received the Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement Award.
My education and career combine engineering, production management and business management, predominantly in the highly hazardous chemical industries. I recently retired as a corporate executive from American Pacific Corporation, where we produced a variety of chemicals and products for the aerospace, pharmaceutical, agricultural, automotive airbag and fire extinguishing business sectors. American Pacific was recently acquired by Huntsman, where I had the option to move to Cedar City or retire, and I elected to retire.
My undergraduate degree was awarded from USU and post grad studies were mainly from Westminster. However, along the way I have attended every university in Utah, with the exceptions of CEU and UVU.
I currently own and operate a small cattle farm in Highland; part of this operation includes running the cattle on the open range in Spanish Fork Canyon. I am a member of the Spanish Fork Livestock Association, where we are considered the stewards of Spanish Fork Canyon up to Strawberry.
I was born and raised in American Fork, and for a period of time my family lived at what was then named the Utah State Training School; our home was approximately 200 feet west of the amphitheater. Living at the school was a unique and life-shaping opportunity. While we lived there, and for several years after, I worked at the school in the recreation department. Because of this experience I have a profound commitment for those less fortunate.
I was a member of the all-volunteer American Fork Fire Department for 10 years and served two terms on the Board of Directors of the American Fork Irrigation Company. I was on the Board of Directors for the Utah State Simmental Cattlemen’s Association.
Please briefly identify one, two, or three major things you hope to accomplish during your term, if elected.
- Fixing the Roads
- Minimizing increases in utility costs
- Greater efficiency/effectiveness in government
Roads: I would really like to see progress made on our roads. It has been a drastic need for a while now, with very little headway being made. A new road has 20 years of life; a standard average is 12; the average lifespan for American Fork roads is 7.8 years. Of course, you don’t need to know those numbers to know that your road is in a state of decay. The city has recently adopted a 10-year road plan which will aid in planning and measuring progress. I would like to work creatively with the city council to commit ongoing funding to this critical need. More on this later, in my response to the road funding. question.
Water: I also think that our aging water system needs attention. The water line that conveys the majority of our water from canyon springs to our city is too small and is decaying. Additionally, we have had three water main breaks in the last seven months. These water line failures cost the city extra money for manpower, emergency service, and disaster cleanup. Because we don’t see decaying water lines (like we see and feel road potholes), most of us take them for granted until there is a problem. Similar to the road plan, I will work toward a long-term plan to responsibly take care of our water system.
TOD: I also think that managing growth well is important, particularly in the Transit Oriented Development that is slated for the area around the American Fork FrontRunner station. This area has the potential to become something vibrant and robust, as long as it is kept to the ideas and format that have been envisioned for the area. A well-developed and managed TOD would have good bike and pedestrian access to transportation, well-scaled streets and sidewalks, designated open spaces and parks, and a mix of uses. If it is properly planned and developed, I see the potential for this to become a beautiful asset to city — an asset that could draw commerce and become a major benefit to our city.
Other: There are other things I would like to work on if elected, including improving business environment and quality of life for residents, supporting safety officials and neighborhood to improve safety, and engaging more residents in our efforts to provide services and strengthen our already strong sense of community.
I plan to get the city’s 10-year road reconstruction project firmly in place, with citizen involvement so they have a good understanding and feel good about supporting its funding. I will get volunteer efforts organized, similar to the Neighbors in Action or Neighborhood Preservation efforts in the past, in order to enhance services at the least amount of cost.
In the industries and companies I’ve worked for, one of many practices that spanned all companies is the culture of continuous improvement. Continuous improvements are a main part of the manufacturing culture and tracked and measured. The practices of continuous improvement drive costs down, improve the quality of goods and services and reduce waste.
I’ve attended the council meetings and recognize that some of the problems the city faces today have already been resolved by industry. I feel as if a person with industrial experience such as mine will complement the existing council.
I am not a politician and do not come out of public service.
Why Are You Running?
Beyond what you have already said in response to questions above, what motivates you to run for office?
In short: I love American Fork and want to serve the city I love.
I have been involved in public service almost my whole life. So for me it feels natural to volunteer myself to serve in the city council. With my work with the PARC board, I have become more involved and interested in the things happening in the city. I also believe I have a different voice and perspective that will allow me to effectively collaborate with colleagues and engage more citizens. Also, the timing is right; my current family and life commitments allow me to dedicate the time and flexibility the city council requires.
When I was a newspaper reporter, I learned about varying viewpoints and had to remain neutral in presenting them to the residents. It would have been a conflict of interest for me to be involved. Now I have retired from that position, I am excited to use the knowledge and experience I have gained through the years to help my community.
The motivation for me to run for the council begins with my grandfather, Dr. Guy S. Richards. Had it not been for him, the Utah State Training School, or Development Center, as its known today, would be in Brigham City. He single-handedly convinced the governor and state officials to build a new school in American Fork instead of converting existing facilities in Brigham City. He also started the very first hospital in American Fork, six beds and an operating room, located where the mayor’s office is today.
As a young doctor my father, Dr. Guy A. Richards, conducted one of the first mass polio immunization clinics in the United States, here in American Fork. He converted our family station wagon to be the first ambulance in American Fork. Along with the ambulance, he personally paid for the first radio system used by the ambulance, police and hospital. He volunteered to be the AF City doctor, which included the responsibilities of the ER Doctor. He also served as Superintendent of the Utah State Training School in addition to his private practice. Not long ago the emergency room at the hospital was dedicated and named after him.
Both my grandfather and father were deeply committed to American Fork, Utah County and the great state of Utah. I wish to follow in their footsteps.
The next set of questions and answers for these candidates is about taxes, water rates, fees, and roads.
If you’re a candidate whose answers do not yet appear here, it’s not too late to send them. If you support a candidate whose information isn’t here, it’s a great chance to offer that candidate some help.
For candidate contact information, see American Fork City Council Candidates Contact Info. See also the City’s Voter Information Pamphlet for information about most candidates.
A sequence of similar posts involving mayoral candidates begins here.