Megan Wallgren | Lehi Free Press
City Council candidates shared their views and mingled with residents at a Q&A hosted by the Lehi Free Press on Wednesday, Nov. 8 at the Lehi Senior Center. Moderator Skyler Beltran, reporter for the Lehi Free Press, asked a series of questions, and each candidate was given a turn to answer. Topics covered included parks, political advocacy in the city such as Pride events, traffic, property rights and cooperation between city leaders. Each council member had a chance to express their views. The event was also live-streamed and is available to view on the Lehi Free Press Facebook page.
There are three city council seats to be filled during this election. Voters will be using ranked choice ballots to fill those seats. The six candidates in attendance were Heather Newall, Kenneth Roberts, Paige Albrecht, Michelle Stallings, Nicole Kunze and Casey Glade. They were narrowed down from a larger field of candidates in the primary election held Sept. 5.
“We’re in a critical phase right now. We’re not building for us, we’re building for our posterity,” said Heather Newall. Newall has previously served on the planning commission and said she has a history of working with others to make change. She would reach out to other city council members and work to find solutions and make great things happen. “I think collaboration is critical for city council. Absolutely I’m going to be a champion of the people, but I’m not going to spend four years being ineffective. It doesn’t mean that I need to give up on what’s important to me. It means I need to collaborate, I need to find inroads, I need to be effective, or there’s no point in me being here.”
Kenneth Roberts called Lehi a crossroads but said it shouldn’t be paved over in the process of getting people from east to west. He would like to see ways to send the traffic to Eagle Mountain and Saratoga Springs around, rather than through, the city. Those include not only road placement, but better public transportation and trail connectivity that would increase bike use. “Now is the time to make the plan to put in place so that we can have options,” he said. “We can broaden the scope a bit and look at different things that can help people get around the city.”
Paige Albrecht is the only incumbent in the race. She is in her second term as a city council member. She said that she hates the politics, but loves the work. “Check and see who’s engaged in your community, who has served in capacities that didn’t benefit them, who’s volunteered their time for their neighbors. I think those are the people who have invested in Lehi beyond just holding office or just wanting to hold office,” she said. Albrecht added that she would continue to put in the hard work because she cares about Lehi and its residents.
Michelle Stallings said she feels Lehi has mishandled its growth. “I will be there serving the needs of the residents over the profits of developers — we’ve done that way too long. We need a change of focus in our city. We need to refocus on the things that make Lehi great and preserve those things,” she said. If elected to the city council, Stallings said she would reach out to residents and get their input in making vital decisions.
Nicole Kunze pointed to her years of service as a volunteer in a variety of different capacities as giving her a well-rounded knowledge of city issues. She said she is one of those people “who show up for all of the things, not just the things that they are the most passionate about, but where people need the most help.” She said that, as a council member, “I’m going to speak up for the ones who need an advocate on the city council, but I’m also going to be the one who listens — to other city council members, to our city staff, to our state representatives and to our business community as well. We have to be able to listen to everybody, and I’m one of those people who are able to do that.”
Casey Glade’s message was that it is time for change. He called himself a reluctant candidate, and labeled the current state of city government “loophole leadership.” He said, “We’ve had the same leadership for too many decades.” He expects a fight and said he won’t back down. “Is it important to get along with our neighbors? Yes. Is it important to get along? No. I’m going to be a fighter for the residents. I’m going to be the person who protects you and your property rights.”
You can watch the Q&A event here.
Election Day is November 21 this year. For a ballot to be counted, it must be postmarked no later than November 20, 2023 or placed in the drop box at Lehi City Hall (153 N 100 E) no later than 8:00 p.m. on Election Day, November 21, 2023. Those needing assistance on election day can go to the Lehi Public Safety Building (128 N 100 E) from 7 am to 8 p.m.