I had a wonderful opportunity to participate in a Meet the Candidates (M. the C.) night on Tuesday, July 18th. It was a great night to understand more about who I am running along side and the perspective that we each bring to the table. There were many in attendance (and the video is available online here) but I know that listening to an hour and thirty minute meeting does not always fit into everyone’s schedule. So, I am going to attempt to transcribe the meeting, one question at a time. Today I will start with the opening and first question. My hope is to get through all seven questions over the next week.

(Please forgive any transcribing errors. I claim no specialty in transcription- just a desire to make information more accessible.)


Opening

Welcome to the meet the candidates event that is hosted by The Davis County League of Women Voters. League of Women voters mission is to engage citizens in their government by providing non-partisan voter information. The league neither supports nor opposes political parties or candidates for office and we are thrilled to be a part of Kaysville’s event. We have a team of League members here tonight. My name is Peggy Carrico and I’m the moderator. Our time keeper is Marie Fuller, sitting right here, and she has some cards she will show you in a minute, along with Ann Johnson who will be video recording part of this for a moment. So we can get the best possible quality of video, we ask that everyone please silence your phones now. That includes that this is a live broadcast event through the Kaysville city website. You’ll be able to again review this event and refer your family and friends who were unable to attend by visiting our Facebook page at Davis County League of Women Voters or the Kaysville city webpage. Registered voters are able to vote in the Primary on August 15th as well as the general election on November 7th. If you are not registered to vote, if your name and address has changed, or if you want to change your party affiliation, you must, again, register by August 7th online or at vote.utah.gov or in person at the county clerks office. We have registration forms available tonight but they must be delivered in person to the county clerks office by August 7th.  The August 15th primary is by mail only. You will vote for one candidate for mayor. The council candidates will participate tonight but will not be on the primary ballot. Now to our candidates.

They are seated alphabetically by ballot with the three mayoral candidates first and our four council candidates second. For mayor, Rustin Jessen, Lorene Milner Kamalu, and Katie Witt. For city council, Michelle Barber, James Hansen, Susan Lee and Randi von Bose. Your answers are timed, candidates. I’ll announce the time allotted with each question when they are asked. Marie will hold up the cards. You get a 30 second, a 15 second and then Stop. So you kind of keep track of your time if you want to look at that quickly. The first person to respond to tonight’s questions will rotate. So, we will start with Rustin Jessen tonight and then we will move to your left as we go by the questions. To generate the questions we will use tonight we have invited each candidate and some of the city officials to provide us questions ahead of time and then you’re asked also to submit questions if you would like. If you have a questions, you raise your hand and we will get a card to you. We have people who are rotating who will bring you a card to complete and we’ll put them in here. Wherever possible, we try to consolidate questions so it may just be that your question fits within one that we have or we’ll try to consolidate it into an appropriate question. And we may hold on to some of them for the final Meet the Candidates event in October so that could happen as well.

Thank you again for attending this even and now please stand and join us in the Pledge of Allegiance that is lead by Cara Crosby.

–Pledge of Allegiance–

Please hold any applause till the end of the evening. We want to have as much time to hear the candidates as possible. So, our first question is a two minute question and it starts with Rustin Jessen. We want to have you tell us why you decided to run for office, perhaps what your experience has been in working with Kaysville City before, the meetings you might have attended and highlight your connection to Kaysville; your skills, your talents, your experiences and some of the priorities you want to accomplish as mayor. And so this will, again, be two minutes and when it comes to the council, obviously, what you want to establish as council member. So, we can start.

 

Rustin Jessen- Mayoral Candidate

Thank you so much. I am humbled and incredibly excited for the opportunity to even be considered to represent you here in city hall. You go a lot of places in your life but you only have one hometown. Kaysville is my home town. I think the best way to illustrate the skills I bring to the table are to let you know a little bit about what I do for a living. I operate from just across the street here on Main Street in Kaysville. I have a small advertising agency and we focus specifically on family entertainment and family travel. For that, our clients are Disney Parks, San Diego Zoo and some of those larger family entertainment venues. The other thing I do is large scale event production. I am, kind of, the guy in the entertainment industry that people call when they need many thousands of people to be a part of their event and operate on small budgets, small teams. In February I finished my 11th Super Bowl half time show. If you know anything about the entertainment industry, you know it is really easy to get fired. So, having done that show, the biggest show in the country, for the last 11 years is a badge of pride for me. We operate very efficiently with very small teams. With that entertainment production company we have clients that include NFL, Pepsi, Paramount Pictures and some other big events, some other big companies that do those big events. The reason I tell you that is I think it illustrates that I am very experienced in managing logistically diverse projects, managing large budgets, communicating with big groups of people and bring a lot of, maybe, disagreeing people together for am equitable and an entertaining result… basically, a positive result all around. The skills I bring to the table are well honed. They are industry proven. And they’re what I use to operate in my business every single day.

As I said, Kaysville is my home town. It’s a place that I love and what I’ve seen on city council, what I’ve seen in city operations is that we’ve got some mistrust and infighting that is overshadowing a lot of our city business. I would like to bring my skills in moderating, my skills in facilitating and communicating, to improve a lot of the behavior, a lot of that stuff that is going on and get the city business back in the forefront of what we are doing. Thank you so much for the opportunity to speak to you and for considering. I appreciate it very much.

 

Lorene Kamalu- Mayoral Candidate

My name is Lorene Kamalu. We have lived in Kaysville for 21 years. My husband and I moved here when he was serving in the Air Force. When he finished his commitment at Hill Air Force Base after four years, we loved Kaysville so well we decided to stay and raise our family here, always. So, that was in 1996. I have been a stay at home mom with a very successful home business. And I have a business degree from Brigham Young University.  And I was able to put that to use working part time and raising our children to be Darts, which is a funny mascot.

So, fast forward to just three and a half years ago, someone suggested I consider running for city council and I laughed. It was not anything I ever thought about doing but the idea intrigued me. And so, I did consider it by starting to attend all of the city council meetings. And that was in January of 2014. So, I began attending and at that point in time there was a spot that opened for the citizens planning commission. A lot of people do not realize what that is but there’s a whole team of planning commissioners who were appointed by the Mayor and they also serve the city of Kaysville. And so I put in an application and I was appointed and I have been serving. This is my fourth year as a citizen planning commissioner for Kaysville. Now, what I have found out when I started serving is that my passion changed from business to public service. It was not anything that I ever anticipated but I have loved serving.

And so, I am running for mayor to provide some leadership and some support. I have had a lot of leadership positions in my business and in the community and I would love to apply that to be mayor of Kaysville. Priorities for me: Our biggest issue in Kaysville right now are our roads. And it’s not just road maintenance but it is also the bridge where we are backing up. And now, just in the last while, the project for US 89 has become a huge issue. So those are some of the things I really want to work on.

 

Katie Witt- Mayoral Candidate

Hello. My name is Katie Witt and I have lived here, in Kaysville, for about three years. I was not born here, wasn’t raised here but I got here as soon as I could. So, we chose Kaysville deliberately. It spoke to us. Just something that I love about Kaysville it that people who were born here, raised here, come back to raise families. And that’s the kind of town that I want to be a part of and so we chose Kaysville, love how it makes us feel. I have four years of council experience in another state. I’m the only candidate for mayor who has council experience. I think it’s pretty important that if you are going to be leading the council, you understand how council works. I have a passion for local government. I didn’t realize when I first ran for a city council how much I was going to love it and how influential these people are. This is the government that touches your life the most. And so, that’s why we need the best people that we can find to serve on our city council.

My priority, my number one priority, is getting a strategic plan for our community. We need to be able to plan what Kaysville is going to look like in 10 years, 20 years. And in order to do that, we need citizen input and businesses, schools, churches. We need to figure out what Kaysville is going to look like and we need to start working now to make the changes that we need in order to get to that point. My website is katieforkaysville.com and I appreciate your vote.

 

Michelle Barber- City Council Candidate

Good Evening. My name is Michelle Barber and I am grateful to be considered for Kaysville City Council. A little bit about me: I am a web designer by trade, and event planner also.  And a mother by trade. I have been born and raised in Kaysville. I live, grew up, in East Kaysville and I married a West Kaysville-ite. And we are, what Katie described as, the Kaysville family who love it enough that we are now raising our family here. My husband and I are passionate about our city. We’re proud of our city. And we’re excited to be part of shaping a wonderful place for our children to live and a part of.

Part of my career and my experience as a designer is that I am able to look at big problems from a high level view, decide what we want to do, how we want to fix it and work together to make the changes. I work with engineers on a daily basis. I’m an engineer, myself. I know how to tackle difficult problems. I’m a technology evangelist, computer nerd- you can call me that as well, and I realize it is important that I need to bring to our city. We have problems we need to face, tackle straight on.

I have been involved in Kaysville City everything from organizing neighborhood watches to event planning and volunteering throughout the city. I’ve been really passionate about the changes that I wanted to see in our city, specifically with the unity that I feel needs to be brought to our Kaysville political scene. One of my platforms is that I want to make Kaysville’s political scene more representative of the wonderful community that it serves because you go outside and talk to your neighbors, Kaysville is a wonderful place to live- has wonderful people, has wonderful experiences about it. Kaysville political scene needs to represent that. I know that I can bring unity, collaboration and work together for those changes. I am excited to focus on the development and business growth. My husband growing up in West Kaysville and I have seen a lot of growth changes and we know that Kaysville needs a strategy. We need a plan for Kaysville or we’ll end up where we did not expect to be. I’m excited to be a part of that. Thank you.

 

James Hansen- City Council Candidate

Hello everyone. It is good to be with you here tonight. My name is James Hansen. I’ve been living in Kaysville for the last four years. I came here to start teaching up at Weber State University. I’m a professor of accounting and I have to admit, facing you guys is a little more stressful than my normal class of students because, with them, I control their grades and maybe that… but we have a lot of fun. I love teaching. But I am an accountant by trade. I am a CPA. I love doing my budget as much as you might. Some of you don’t like doing yours but I think that’s some fun things. Again, a few things, about at the end of May/beginning of June, someone approached me, says, “I think you ought to run for city council.” And I gave it a little bit of thought. That is about how quick it is for me. I’ve been in the middle of a move. I’m moving from, I’d probably say, the center of Kaysville- Main Street and Mutton Hollow but the north end- down to the west side of Sheperd Lane. So, I just finished that move so I am a little bit out of sorts today but I’m glad to be here.

I think the things I bring are unique. Like I said, my training is as an accountant. I work with people all the time. I deal with difficult situations. I try to help things move forward. That’s what is important to me. I appreciate what other people have said about the long term strategy that I feel Kaysville needs. Let’s make it. Let’s make it happen so we can focus on where we want to be in the future.

I grew up in the Uintah Basin and that tells you a little bit about me. I went to high school there in Vernal. I love farming and I love cows so it just tells you some of my bias. And I love bees.

My involvement with the city council; I work with the Boy Scouts and I’m the merit badge councilor for citizens of the community. So what brings me to the city council is those scouts, coming here to help them get involved and have them go up to the mic and say you can make comments on issues. I’m here just to offer myself as a public servant for you to do the best I can to help Kaysville continue to be a great place. Thank you.

 

Randi von Bose- City Council Candidate

My name is Randi von Bose. I am also running for city council and I am very pleased to have this opportunity. My husband and I moved into the area about three years ago. He has been doing his medical training in Texas so we have not been here in Utah. I was born here in Utah, down in North Salt Lake, and when it came time to pick a place to settle our family, he’s working up in Ogden but I wanted to be down here in Davis County and Kaysville felt like the right place- mostly for our children, which I will talk about a little bit later. Including our kids and their needs in our schools and their safety is one of my big focuses that I hope can be brought more to the forefront.

I do have four kids. My oldest is 11 and my youngest is 4. I was telling someone earlier that my four year old just learned how to dress himself so I have a little bit of my life back and I guess it goes to the city now. So, you’re welcome. I have a degree in Psychology from the University of Texas at Arlington. And I have loved government since I was a kid. I remember when I was in fifth grade, we took a field trip down to the capital building. And it was the most magnificent place I’d ever… (choking up)… but it was the most magnificent place I had ever been. And I knew that there were great things that happen through government.

I have kept involved with national government and local government throughout my life. When we moved here I wanted a chance to get involved so I got involved with my kids school with the community council there. I served for two years as the community council chair. And then after this last election cycle I really felt like I needed to be more involved in the city. So, I began attending city council meetings. And I didn’t do it with the intent of running for city council but the more meeting I sat through, the more evident it became to me that there is a divide. And there is rhetoric that is causing our city to fracture. And my training and my background has prepared me to bridge that communication gap. That is my hope. That is my main goal.

Like I said, I also have a goal with schools. I think that all of the schools are functioning on their own and when we need something we come to the city and we try and fight for it. But I think it would work a lot better if we take the heads of all of our community councils from all of the schools and have one meeting and make a list. What are the priorities? And then look at the city and say, “This is our city safety priorities. This is what we need to do.”  And that is one thing I would really like to focus on.

Thank you.

 

Susan Lee- City Council Candidate

I hope you don’t mind if I stand. My name is Susan Lee. I am crazy enough to be running again for city council. And I say that because as you put yourself out there in front of citizens of this community, you put yourself up there to make decisions with people on both sides of the issue. And so, no matter what you do or what you decide, there’s always going to be somebody that is not happy with you. And so, with that being said, I really appreciate those who are willing to put themselves out there.

A little bit about myself. I was born and I was raised here in Kaysville. And most of my life I’ve lived here in Kaysville. I’ve raised four sons and they are all Darts- yes. And I am so grateful for the community that we live in, the service that so many people provide each and every day and to be able to see it first hand as somebody who is on the council.

The reason that I have chosen to run again is because through the last four years I have been on the council, three and a half now, there’s been many goals that I have set out that I would like to see accomplished and several of those goals- if you get a minute before you leave, I’ve listed them on my table there- that have been accomplished and there are still more things that I would like to accomplish. The things that are really a big focus right now is getting the roads repaired. I know- I drive on them- they’re not the best in a lot of places but we’re working on it. It is something that is difficult to do . You have to step up and you have to make these decisions every time you come to the council. And I’m willing to continue to do that. And I thank you all once again for coming this night.


Tune in tomorrow for M. the C. pt. 2- West Davis Corridor and US-89