The race for West Valley City mayor is heating up, with a half-dozen candidates vying for the position as of late Wednesday.
Two sitting members of the City Council, Tom Huynh and Karen Lang, and businessman Jeffrey Mackay have now thrown their hats in the ring. They join previously announced candidates Ron Bigelow, former Utah state budget director; Don Christensen, who is completing his first term as an at-large council member; and Margaret Peterson, former council member.
Problems in the West Valley City Police Department prompted him to run for the top spot, the 46-year-old Huynh said.
The department has been the center of controversy because of allegations of mishandled evidence in scores of narcotics cases and the fatal shooting last year of 21-year-old Danielle Willard during an alleged drug bust.
“We need to restore the public trust,” Huynh said.
In addition, Huynh said he wants to increase the city’s revenue by bringing in more businesses. Huynh is a real-estate agent who was elected in 2011 to represent District 1 and is halfway through his term.
Lang, 53, who also was elected two years ago and represents District 3, said she wants city operations to be more streamlined and for council members to work more with the staff.
Although the police controversy was not an overwhelming reason in her decision to run, she would stay on top of that situation, said Lang, who owns and operates a greenhouse with her husband.
Mackay, 58, is co-owner of a home-repair and improvement company and a TV-antenna installation company. He said West Valley City is not being managed well and he wants the city to contract with the Unified Police Department for its law-enforcement services.
“I think the citizens of West Valley deserve more than what they’re getting,” Mackay said.
Mayor Mike Winder announced last month that he will not run for a second term, citing the need for a full-time job so he can support his family.