Salt Lake County has a matriarchy for the first time in its history

Women now hold all leadership positions on the County Council.

(The Salt Lake Tribune) Clockwise from top left, Salt Lake County Council members Laurie Stringham, Aimee Winder Newton, Suzanne Harrison, and Dea Theodore.

It took more than 170 years, but for the first time, women now hold all leadership roles in Salt Lake County’s legislative body.

Republican County Council member Laurie Stringham recaptured the title of council chair this week after having previously served in the role in 2022.

GOP council member Dea Theodore, who is seeking another term in this year’s election, will hold the title of vice chair.

Meanwhile, Democrat Suzanne Harrison will serve as the council’s minority leader and the 2023 chair, Republican Aimee Winder Newton, will take on the title of chair pro tem.

“In all the years that I have served as an elected official, I’ve usually been the only woman in each of the different places I’ve served,” Stringham said. “So this has been kind of exciting to have such amazing women that I’m serving with.”

Stringham said she’s teased people about Utah’s most populous county now having a matriarchy. Women, she said, offer unique leadership to any kind of political role.

“I’ve learned that they tend to be a lot more willing to get all the facts, really research and dig in,” she said, “and really try to understand each of the problems and issues that come before us before making a decision.”

In 2022, voters made history by locking in the first female-majority Salt Lake County Council when they elected Harrison to her countywide seat.

Women are also in control of the county’s executive arm with Mayor Jenny Wilson at the helm. In 2004, Wilson became the first woman elected to the council.

She took office as mayor in 2019 and is running to retain her position this year. Republicans Erin Rider and Yianni (John) Ioannou are vying to unseat her.