David Ibarra spent 14-years of his life being raised in Utah’s foster care system and is now a front running mayoral candidate for his state’s capital, Salt Lake City. Following the formula of Napoleon Hill’s, “Think and Grow Rich,” has seen candidate Ibarra go from dishwasher in a Marriott restaurant, to busboy, server and ultimately to prominent restaurant owner and Ferrell’s Ice Cream Parlor. Recently, Candidates.vote writer, Michael Brownstein, had the opportunity to sit down and visit with Salt Lake City, mayoral candidate, David Ibarra, a democrat, living in a blue city surrounded by an ocean of red.
Candidates.vote — What ended up inspiring you to get your start in politics?
Mayoral candidate David Ibarra — It’s kind of a life journey. I was born in Salt Lake. Raised here, and frankly raised in the foster care system for 14 years. So I know how it feels to be on the outside, looking in; that experience gave me a unique perspective and passion for inclusion and fairness — for everybody.
I started as a dishwasher at a Marriot restaurant, then went to busboy, then to server, then assistant manager. I went all the way through the ranks. Ten years after I started as a dishwasher, I bought my own restaurant. From there I opened up several businesses, but I haven’t forgotten who I am. I started my foundation (Ibarra Foundation works to make college possible for Latino students. To date – 89 students have received a college education with the help of the Foundation.) in 2005, to help people, and to coach them through life. And now I’ve done well, I don’t need more, why not do the things I’ve done in the service of others in running a city the way it ought to be run? It’s one of the things I think I’m talented in, and I can bring that, along with my experience in government, so I decided I’d take 4-8 years and offer my service to Salt Lake.
Candidates.vote — What book are you currently working on reading, and what’s the best part of it?
Mayoral candidate David Ibarra — The book I read every day for ten minutes, and I have since I was 18 years old, “Think and grow rich”, by Dr. Napoleon Hill. I read that every day since that’s the book that was given to me by the manager of that restaurant when I started as dishwasher, with the promise that if I read it he’d be my mentor, and it’s the book that changed my life.
As for the second part, the answer is that nothing happens until you know what you want and you gain a purpose. And once you gain a purpose, everything else falls into line. And that’s a book in the series of books that I read every day.
Candidates.vote — What would you consider your greatest failure?
Mayoral candidate David Ibarra — My greatest failure was in 1984 when I went bankrupt. I owned four restaurants at Fashion Place Mall, and the mall decided to go to a food court in the 80’s and not renew my lease.
And so all of a sudden I find myself without the restaurants and in the end it forced me to try and do something real quick with the restaurant equipment and it wasn’t a good idea, and I failed. But I realized I could overcome adversity. If I’d managed all this in ten years, I could do it in five, and I was able to do just that.
Candidates.vote — What’s your all-time favorite movie?
Mayoral Candidate David Ibarra — My all-time favorite movie is Shawshank Redemption. I’ve watched it at least 30 times.
Candidates.vote — When you’re feeling down, what comfort food do you go for and why?
Mayoral candidate David Ibarra — I’m very careful of what I eat, I don’t eat anything that isn’t organic. But my all-time favorite dish is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Candidates.vote – What’s your favorite place to visit in Utah?
Mayoral candidate David Ibarra — My favorite place would be St. George during their marathon. I’ve run four of them, and there is a period in the marathon that you run up 1.6 miles on a hill that just about wipes you out, but then the sun rises over the red rocks and no matter how much pain you’re in there’s just no better or more beautiful time in life then to see that moment of the sun coming over the red rocks.
Candidates.vote — Hot dogs or hamburgers?
Mayoral Candidate David Ibarra — Hamburgers.
Candidates.vote — What newspapers/magazines/periodicals do you read, and do you read them in paper or digitally?
Mayoral candidate David Ibarra — I don’t read anything in paper anymore, everything is digitally. But I read Utah Business, Utah Politics, and others, but it’s all digital.
Candidates.vote — Do you have any pets, and if so, what are they?
Mayoral candidate David Ibarra — I have a poodle, his name is “Okie Dokie Ibarra” and I call him Dokie for short.
Candidates.vote — What music do you enjoy listening to?
Mayoral candidate David Ibarra — RnB, Motown, Detroit sounds.
Candidates.vote — When you do get free time, how do you choose to spend it?
Mayoral candidate David Ibarra — When I do get free time, which is not often, because I do work every day including Sundays; normally it’s 45 minutes at the end of my day, and I choose to walk around downtown Salt Lake, and there I can really think and meditate about the things of the day and the things I want to do tomorrow, and are we moving forward.
Candidates.vote — Who is your greatest idol/person you look up to and why?
Mayoral candidate David Ibarra — There’s three, but the top is Mohammed Ali. He came out of a neighborhood like me. He was a man of color, and the way he led his life, living what he thought was right, though it doesn’t necessarily mean it was right, I loved the way he lived his life as he believed it to be and became the most recognized individual in the world and never gave up on his values
Candidates.vote — What is something you respect about your political opponents?
Mayoral candidate David Ibarra — They’re all willing to serve.
Candidates.vote — And finally, if you could send a short message to anyone reading this, what would it be?
Mayoral Candidate David Ibarra — There’s a quote that I live my life by and I think we’d all be good to do the same. “Some look at things that are, and ask why. Others dream dreams that never were and say why not.”