Ana Valdemoros: As a city council member, I will foster economic stability and a stronger sense of community

I have always sought the middle ground, bringing people together to achieve common goals.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Ana Valdemoros, owner of Argentinas Best Empanadas, leads a class on making gnocchi at her Salt Lake City restaurant, Wednesday October 11, 2017.

Salt Lake City has been my home for the past 23 years, and I’ve had the privilege of being an active participant in the shaping of our community since my arrival from Argentina. My steadfast dedication to shaping and strengthening our community is rooted in passion for our city, and my decades-long journey in Salt Lake City has been both fulfilling and transformative.

My professional journey began working for Salt Lake in city planning, where I crafted master plans and led projects, such as the Westside Master Plan, North Temple Grand Boulevard, Outdoor Design Dining guidelines and Transit Station Area zoning districts. These projects were more than just plans; they were blueprints for the city’s future, enhancing our urban landscape and providing accessible, efficient transportation systems.

My passion for community building continued at NeighborWorks as I supported local businesses, fostering the entrepreneurial spirit that defines our community. I next ventured into the food industry, turning a simple food stall into a thriving business, Argentina’s Best Empanadas, in July 2016. This establishment showcases the potential of local, sustainable ingredients and a flourishing culinary scene. Building on my food industry experience, I co-founded Square Kitchen in Spring 2018, providing accessible commercial cooking spaces for aspiring food entrepreneurs, reducing barriers for budding chefs and restaurateurs.

After receiving 84.54% of the vote and becoming the first minority elected to Salt Lake’s City Council, I am proud of what I’ve accomplished on the Council. I advocated for and secured the votes for more than $15 million in funding for Pioneer Park and other parks across District 4 to ensure that they remain cherished places for future generations to enjoy for years to come. Amid a housing crisis and homelessness, I championed over $20 million in state-leading affordable housing investments.

Recognizing the importance of public safety, I bridged the gap between law enforcement and local businesses by advocating for and voting to add a police officer as a business liaison in downtown Salt Lake City and reinstating yearly random City Departmental Audits to improve city department efficiency.

To address the complex challenges of mental health and addiction, I spearheaded the Community Health Access team, which has responded to more than 400 calls in its first year. I advocated for $2.5 million to go toward a temporary receiving center for individuals with severe mental illness and obtained state funding for two six-police officer squads to ensure the safety of sheltered and unsheltered individuals in homeless resource center neighborhoods. Additionally, I helped allocate more funds for more yellow shirt ambassadors to maintain order and cleanliness in businesses and residential areas.

When re-elected, my primary objective will be to secure increased funding to establish a comprehensive, RV-inclusive sanctioned camping ground. I’ve already taken significant measures in this regard by endorsing and casting my vote in favor of the City Council’s allotment of $500,000 for a safe outdoor area, complete with vital facilities such as restrooms, in order to maintain our commitment to preserving the dignity and welfare of our homeless population, while also addressing their unique requirements. This was a critical step in the camps taking shape today.

Although this year’s record-breaking snowpack has improved lake and reservoir level, it is clear that we must do more to incentivize water conservation. As your council member, I will address the persistent drought conditions by strengthening conservation policies and fostering collaboration with neighboring municipalities.

Moreover, I believe that Salt Lake City’s District 4 should be a place where families can live, work, play and build wealth through homeownership. As RDA Chair, I have laid the groundwork for increased affordable housing investments by making policy changes to incentivize family-size housing and ownership. During my next term I will continue to champion the Green Loop Project, and I plan to continue building partnerships between public and private interests to increase the availability of affordable housing units without straining the local budget. These efforts do not end at the city level — I plan to advocate for affordable housing initiatives at both the state and federal level, allowing us to expand existing housing programs and create new ones tailored to the unique needs of our community. I am committed to making affordable housing a reality for everyone, fostering economic stability and a stronger sense of community.

As a leader with a passion for our city, I have always sought the middle ground, bringing people together to achieve common goals. My record is clear and I am immensely proud to stand behind it and to have the opportunity to continue representing you on the Council. I humbly ask for your vote. Together we can continue to shape the future of our community and build and thrive in Salt Lake City.

Ana Valdemoros

Ana Valdemoros has served her community for 23 years. She’s shaped Salt Lake City since her arrival from Argentina and is a champion of urban development, affordable housing, public safety and compassionate solutions for complex challenges.