Shireen Ghorbani took her seat on the Salt Lake County Council and went straight to work after being sworn in on Tuesday.
The half-Iranian daughter of an immigrant was elected by the Democratic Party’s Central Committee last weekend to fill the at-large seat vacated by the county’s freshly inaugurated mayor, Jenny Wilson.
Taking her place on the council, Ghorbani said “it is sweet” to finally begin to work to “serve the residents of Salt Lake County.” After two years of campaigning, a process which Ghorbani said took her to “to far flung corners of the state,” she said “there is no place like home.”
Ghorbani ran an unsuccessful campaign for Congress to unseat Rep. Chris Stewart last year (although she piled up more votes than the Republican in Salt Lake County). Then, last month, she lost to Jenny Wilson by 77 votes in the party special election to fill the vacant mayor’s seat after Ben Mcadams was elected to Congress.
Wilson watched from the audience as her former rival took her old seat on the Council. Ghorbani outlasted nine other candidates, gaining 55 percent of the vote during the first round of balloting on Saturday and winning with 72 percent in the second round.
A mother to a 4-year old and employed full time by the University of Utah as a communication professional, Ghorbani was initially hesitant to run for the seat. She shifted gears after the U. offered her a part-time position allowing her more time to fulfill her council duties.
As a “proud Democrat” she said she looks forward to working in a bipartisan way on issues that she said “surpass party lines.” Those issues, according to the freshly installed councilwoman include improving air quality and community safety, and addressing the related issues of affordable housing and homelessness.
After Ghorbani took the oath of office the Council jumped straight into a working meeting and began discussing support for bills that would address air quality in the Salt Lake Valley.