The race for Mayor in Draper City has become contentious, with accusations of lies and negative campaigning. Issues at the center of the race include backlash to a proposed homeless resource center and developing the site of the state prison after it moves further north.
Draper’s incumbent mayor Troy Walker would like to be remembered during his first term for his leadership on the prison relocation commission, and this year, creating the city’s own fire department.
But Walker worries the homeless shelter debacle may overshadow those achievements.
“If it hurts me, it does,” Walker says, adding that he doesn’t regret the offer to host a homeless shelter in Draper. “I feel like it was the right thing to do," he says.
Walker adds that since the raucous town hall in March, many residents have reached out to apologize for the way the public treated him.
One of Walker’s challengers, army veteran and business owner Troy Martinez, says the angry reaction to the homeless shelter offer could have been prevented if the mayor had gone to residents first.
“It was decided before any input was taken, and then people were asked about their feelings on it. Which is totally backwards, in my opinion,” says Martinez.
Walker’s two challengers say the current administration doesn’t have enough resident engagement. Both have proposed stepping up communication and soliciting feedback from Draper citizens.
“Our citizens are smart and articulate,” says city councilwoman Michele Weeks, who is also running for mayor. “We need to have more surveys and engage them more in what’s going on in municipal government.”
Weeks has criticized the city’s rapid development, saying city roads can’t keep up with the population growth. She wants to reduce zoning for high-density housing.
The incumbent mayor Walker says his record in city government since 2008 should speak for itself.
“As mayor and as a councilmember I’ve done a good job for our community,” he says. “We haven’t had a tax increase in a decade.”
All three candidates for mayor agree on one thing: Draper residents deserve a seat at the table when it comes to planning development near the Point of The Mountain. As construction on the new prison draws closer, each candidate is hoping to be that representative.