Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Good News for American Fork: A Strong Field of Mayoral Candidates
Full Disclosure: I have worked with all three mayoral candidates in one context or another. Two have generously been helping a nonprofit organization in which I'm involved; I've had some association with the third in the context of local government. In the past I've voted for at least one of them and against at least one of them. I say "at least," because I really don't remember how I voted or who was running in some of the first races after the Rodebacks moved to American Fork. I did a bit of volunteer consulting for one candidate in a previous campaign.
I should also confess having already chosen, albeit tentatively, which of these I prefer. My vote is that candidate's to lose - which is still a possibility, depending on how the campaign goes. I'm not identifying my preference publicly yet, and the following are in alphabetical order by surname, not the order of my preference. My attempt here is to be balanced, not partisan. I can always be partisan later.
George Brown is known to be intelligent, generous, and committed to American Fork. He also seems committed to the rule of law, which is a crucial attribute in a good mayor, and as an attorney he clearly is capable of understanding the law. He has City Council experience, and he ran for some more two years ago. His poor showing at the polls in 2003 invites some real doubt as to whether he can even get enough votes to be on the final ballot in November, but an unusually good campaign might well be good enough.
Shirl LeBaron is currently on the city council, where he will remain if he is not elected mayor, because his term is only half over. Like George Brown, he is an attorney, and I really do think there is great potential benefit in having a mayor who both understands and is committed to the law. I have found him willing to communicate and capable of communicating clearly, both of which are important, and neither of which is a given in local (or any other) politics. Unlike George Brown, he did well as a challenger in 2003, beating two of three incumbents to take second place in a race where he only needed third place. So he clearly can get votes.
Heber Thompson is running for his first elected political office, I believe. He is a seasoned, intelligent, personable leader who is active in the community. He is a fine communicator. He seems firmly committed to rehabilitating downtown - a cause in favor of which I have blogged here in the past. I would be confident of the City's fiscal future under his leadership. You couldn't ask for more class or dignity in a mayor, and I would expect to see a lot of his low-key, friendly, competent professionalism rub off on the other good people at the City Administration Building.
I am on record here about what sort of leader we need as mayor of American Fork. For me, there are still a few unknowns about these candidates and their views. But when I stack up what I know of these three candidates against my sense of what the city needs, the conclusion seems clear: From top to bottom this is as strong a field of candidates as we might hope for. This is good for the city.
Copyright 2005 by David Rodeback.