Voters in downtown Salt Lake City and its nearby neighborhoods get to rank up to three candidates to decide who will lead District 4 on the City Council.
[Read more: Salt Lake City voter guide 2023.]
We chatted with each of the candidates vying for the council seat to learn more about what is important to them. Here’s what they had to say:
Eva Lopez Chavez
Eva Lopez Chavez’s career has included work as a liaison for Mayor Erin Mendenhall’s administration and a stint as chair of the Salt Lake County Democratic Party. She remains on the party’s executive committee and works as a project manager and consultant for small businesses.
Why she’s running
Lopez Chavez said she felt called to serve, expand her reach into the community and fill what she considers a void at City Hall. Her district, she said, is missing responsive representation that is integrated into the district.
“More than ever,” she said, “we need leaders that are willing to define our neighborhoods and connect communities together.”
What’s her top priority if she’s elected?
She said her top concern is the city’s housing crisis and how it affects renters, small businesses and future homeowners. If she is elected, Lopez Chavez said her top priority is protecting residents from being displaced by growth and rising costs.
“There is the need in a conservative state like ours, where we can’t place a rent moratorium or we can’t actively build inclusionary zoning, at least outright written into city code,” she said. “We can, however, incentivize and build a pipeline for renters and tenants, homeowners to become educated and to have the tools they need to prevent displacement.”
Lopez Chavez said it’s about more than simply preventing displacement. It’s about ensuring residents have access to high-frequency transit, work opportunities and amenities like green spaces and afterschool programs.
What sets her apart from other candidates?
Lopez Chavez said her experience leading different multijurisdictional departments to protect neighborhoods is what sets her apart from her opponents in the District 4 race. She said she knows how to bring people and their experiences to the forefront of decision-making.
“It’s not just about the tone of leadership,” she said, “but also (having) somebody that actually proactively engages, is accessible and responsive to the public in a way that they need right now.”
Clayton Scrivner has touted a more than 25-year career in public service. He now serves as a spokesperson for Park City, but has worked for Salt Lake City, the city’s Redevelopment Agency, and the state Office of Tourism in the past.
Why he’s running
Scrivner said the district is facing a crucial moment of exponential growth and residents deserve a choice. He’s long been curious about running for office, has felt a lack of connection with City Hall and thinks he has something new to offer.
“Between my experience both professionally and as a resident,” he said, “I felt like I have a unique perspective and I could take a unique approach that is something different, that is something that doesn’t exist, and that we could offer our residents a vibe and an approach to the job that would represent a quality choice.”
What’s his top priority?
It all starts with affordable housing, Scrivner said. If residents can’t afford to live here, he said, Salt Lake City can’t be a great, accessible, livable city. He thinks the way the city has gone about creating affordable housing is wrong.
“We’re cutting checks to bring down rents for an undetermined amount of time,” he said. “We’re funding affordable housing, and I think that anytime you have a blanket approach, a monolithic approach to any policy, there’s trouble.”
He said nonprofits should find creative solutions to making Utah’s capital more affordable and has called for developing the Fleet Block, Public Safety Building and Depot District.
What sets him apart from other candidates?
Scrivner said he’s offering voters a campaign that is funded by people — mostly Salt Lake City residents — with more District 4 residents contributing to his campaign than his opponents.
Ana Valdemoros, a small-business owner, is seeking to retain the council seat she has held since 2019. She was appointed to fill the remainder of former council member Derek Kitchen’s term as he left to join the state Senate. She won her election later that year with nearly 85% of the vote.
Why she’s seeking reelection
Valdemoros said she wants to serve another term because she’s contributed over the past four years to the city’s momentum on issues such as homelessness, affordable housing investments and the post-pandemic rebound of downtown, and she wants to see her work through.
“I’m paving the way for families to come back to downtown,” she said, “and I feel like the next four years will be amazing.”
What does she consider her proudest accomplishment on the council?
The incumbent council member said she is proud of the millions of dollars of funding she’s helped secure for District 4 parks, the city’s response to the cascading crises of 2020, and creating more affordable housing options for families and younger Utahns.
What is her top priority if she keeps her seat?
Valdemoros said she wants to focus on creating affordable homeownership opportunities.
“The policy is in place,” she said. “It’s a matter of now putting the numbers down and funding those projects.”
What sets her apart from her challengers?
Valdemoros said her education sets her apart from other candidates in the District 4 race.
“I am highly educated,” she said. “I have a master’s degree in city planning.”
Valdemoros started her career as a Salt Lake City planner and eventually moved into the private sector to become a business owner. She said that experience gives her an understanding of both the bureaucratic and business worlds.
“I do not think that you can get a better candidate than me in that regard,” she said.