Guest Opinion By Luz Escamilla, Candidate for Salt Lake City Mayor

First published by the Deseret News

I am running to be your next mayor because we must move forward together.

Our focus needs to be on our residents, our collective values and the future of our city. I have been campaigning with a vision for a Salt Lake City that is sustainable, a city government that is well-managed, neighborhoods that are safe and a thriving economy that benefits all of us.

We have a lot of work to do. Affordable housing is too hard to find, the number of individuals experiencing homelessness has increased across our city, our streets are in disrepair, our air quality continues to be a health risk, starting and running a business remains an overly complicated process, and we need strategies to continue to fight against the inland port. This job won’t be easy, but I have what it takes to get the job done.

I’ve been a small business owner; I know what it takes to operate an enterprise. I’m the only candidate with executive branch experience, which I gained from running the State Office of Ethnic Affairs. I have been a grassroots-level advocate working for nonprofits in the areas of health care, domestic violence, people with disabilities and issues related to poverty.

For the past 13 years, I have been an executive leader at Zions Bank. There, I have empowered women- and minority-owned businesses and assisted them in starting up and developing their operations.

Most importantly, my career at Zions Bank has given me a whole host of skill sets needed to run the city efficiently and effectively. The administrative and managerial skills I’ve developed means I won’t be learning on the job how to oversee the city’s 3,000-plus employees. The business relationships I’ve cultivated have given me a better insight into what our city needs to do to bring better paying jobs to Salt Lake City. The metrics-based project management I’ve led better positions me to tackle the complicated challenges our city faces.

I do ask voters to look at this experience before casting their ballot. I also ask them to look at my record and reputation from the 11 years I’ve served in the Utah State Senate. In that time, I’ve cultivated relationships with a wide array of constituency groups, including my colleagues on the other side of the aisle.

This experience matters because much of the opportunities we’ve missed or missteps we’ve taken have been the result of fighting with the state or within City Hall. Make no mistake — this fighting has come at the expense of progress for our city and its residents and our opportunity to have a strong capital city.

I know how to bring people together, find common ground and build consensus while never compromising my values or betraying the interests of those I represent. That’s what our next mayor will need to do if we truly want to see progress on multifaceted issues like air quality, homelessness and affordable housing.

If elected, you can expect your city government to be open and transparent, fair and inclusive, and always guided by the collective values of our city and its residents.

Salt Lake City is at a pivotal moment. This election is about the direction of our city. If you’re satisfied with where we are, you have my opponent to thank. If you want to see a different direction, a fresh perspective with a bold vision and a leader who has a record of making progress for all of us, I humbly ask for your vote.

For more information visit our website at LuzforMayor.com.

Luz Escamilla is a candidate for Salt Lake City mayor. The general election is on Nov. 5.

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