Q & A WITH MAYOR RANDY LEWIS: Why I’m Seeking Re-Election
1. Why do you want to be Bountiful’s Mayor?
This will be the last time I run, and I want to finish what I’ve started. Most people don’t know what I do as Mayor. I conduct City Council meetings, but by law I don’t have a vote unless there is a tie, which rarely happens. However, as Mayor, I have many “beyond our boundaries” leadership opportunities which can make an important difference in what we are able to do as a city. My biggest responsibility is to represent Bountiful on a wide variety of regional planning agencies – governmental and quasi-governmental – like the Wasatch Front Regional Council, the Davis County Council of Governments, the South Davis Sewer District, the South Davis Metropolitan Fire District, the Davis County Board of Health, the South Davis Recreation Center, and the League of Cities and Towns. These are where I can have the biggest impact for our city. For example, my work on these external councils resulted in obtaining a $21 million dollar extension for Bountiful’s Redevelopment Agency, and without that we could never have built the Bountiful Town Square project.
Unfortunately, my opponents don’t seem to believe this kind of regional collaboration and cooperation are all that important, even though Davis County’s 360,000 citizens live in wall-to-wall cities. Vital quality of life issues like adequate and affordable housing, transportation and public transit, air and environmental quality, sanitary sewers, and the need for emergency responders cross city boundaries, and the area mayors, including me, play a vital role in making important services seamless.
2. What is the biggest challenge facing Bountiful?
The population of our South Davis area, including Bountiful, is going to explode over the next 10 years, and we have to prepare for that. We are facing huge challenges in providing affordable housing for our children and grandchildren. The median price for a single-family home in Salt Lake County is currently $550,000, with some buyers paying an additional $150,000 over the list price. We have to figure out regional approaches to higher-density housing.
And we have to find regional public transportation solutions to promote better and more affordable transportation options. My work with other mayors on the Wasatch Front Regional Council – with UTA and UDOT -- is key to improving public transit in Davis County. We’re working on a Bus Rapid Transit corridor between Farmington and North Salt Lake – similar to what’s been done in Provo to make more efficient use of Frontrunner, with buses running every 10 minutes. Not all mayors agree on everything, and there’s going to be some serious horse-trading to be done over where stops will be. We’re looking to greatly expand micro-transit opportunities – reduced cost ridesharing from virtual pick-up points to improve east-west transit access. This groundwork is critical over the next two years, and I want to be sure Bountiful’s needs are fully addressed. UTA has sponsored a micro-transit pilot program in Salt Lake, and I want to bring that to Bountiful. These public transit programs are absolutely critical to improving air quality and better public access to north/south leisure and entertainment opportunities.
And, speaking of air quality, I want to start a serious conversation between our state, federal and local political leaders, along with industry stakeholders, to begin looking at whether we need to start a long-term partnership effort to relocate refinery row – a hugely expensive undertaking. And one which will require extensive research, study, and planning. Not to mention a whole lot of cooperation and creative financing.
3. What do you believe better qualifies YOU to be the mayor over your opponents?
All of us are good people, and we all want good things for Bountiful. Bountiful is a well-run, well-managed city. People REALLY like living here. We’re all good listeners. What I bring that’s different is a lifetime of leadership experience in business, in the community, and in my faith. I’ve been the mayor for 8 years, just as Kendalyn has been on the City Council for the same period of time. I know how to do the job, and I’ve built critical relationships with other government leaders that pay off to Bountiful’s benefit. I’ve described my key role in securing a $21million extension for our Redevelopment Agency. This past year, we received a $500,000 grant from Davis County for our North Canyon trail project. $250,000 of that grant came through ONLY because I have the kind of personal relationship with Commissioner Bob Stevenson that when his staff wanted to only give us $250,000, I could call Bob directly and persuade him that we really needed twice that much. He gave it to us.
I have managed a successful multi-million-dollar private business employing 75 people and caring for hundreds of recovering orthopedic surgery patients for more than ten years. Before that I ran a private clinical laboratory for 25 years. I served my church for 20 years as a bishop, a stake president, as a mission president in Alaska. A majority of the City Council have endorsed my candidacy, and the four women mayors in Davis County also gave me their endorsement.
One of my opponents has claimed that there is “a tradition of domineering, patriarchal mayors,” which she opposes, as do I. That “tradition” is a strawman argument of her own fabrication which demeans every mayor in Bountiful’s history. That characterization doesn’t apply to Bob Lindsay, nor does it apply to me. Bob Lindsay is a good man, but he professes to have a tough time understanding how Bountiful’s budget works – as though it’s deliberately murky. Bountiful’s budget, like all municipal budgets, must conform to state law and to “best accounting practices” common to all local governments. Bountiful’s budgeting process has been recognized as among the very best in Utah, year after year after year. We pay smart financial experts to get it right, and if Bob gets elected, he’ll learn that in very short order.
Bountiful has some wonderful city parks, and I want to help make the Washington Elementary property into our best park yet, which will be planned with the same kind of active citizen input that went into Creekside and the Town Square. We still have lots of work to do on improving our foothill trails.
4. What is your philosophy of government?
One of the great things about being a mayor is that I am right where the rubber meets the road. It’s not easy for most people to be able to call and talk to a federal congressperson or senator, or a governor. But I, along with all the City Council members, answer our phones and respond to e-mail and letters. We ALL welcome citizen input, and I get a lot of it – which I really appreciate. I try to gather the best information I can to help me make decisions, and I believe I mostly make good ones. But I’m not infallible, and I’m open to differing points of view. When the new city hall project became so controversial 4 years ago, I led the effort to get Qualtrics involved in enhancing our ability to gather citizen input, and I helped persuade the City Council to look at a remodel rather than “build new.” I coined the phrase, “people are more important than bricks,” and I don’t know anyone who is not pleased with what we all were able to accomplish as a result.
There’s a great quote from Edmund Burke, who was a conservative, Irish Member of Parliament, and a friend to America: Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays you instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to your opinion.
Speech to the electors of Bristol, November 3, 1774
This quote has been accepted for decades as the conservative touchstone of what makes a good legislator. It’s why good leaders are risk-takers. It’s why, sometimes, great leaders have to be willing to risk re-election. AND – that’s the leadership characteristic so sorely lacking in Congress today. I’m not a candidate who’ll say whatever I think people want to hear in order to get elected. Here’s my promise: along with our City Council, I’ve helped bring excellent government to Bountiful for eight years, and if you vote for me, I’ll work as hard as I can to make the next four years Bountiful’s best yet.
Mayor Randy Lewis