Molly Jones: Change is coming fast, Salt Lake City. This is our chance to get it right.

Salt Lake is one of the best-run cities in the world. But Salt Lake is also in the midst of a transformation.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Sugar House Park on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022.

My name is Molly Jones, and I’m running for City Council first and foremost because I love Salt Lake City.

I grew up in Moab, and I frequently daydreamed of moving to “The Big City.” My chance came when I was accepted to the University of Utah where I earned degrees in both political science and international studies. In my college years, I fell in love with the city I had dreamed of one day reaching.

Through my degree program I interned for Mayor Ralph Becker, which was my first real foray into city politics. While there, I learned just how much impact our city officials can have, and I saw first-hand the hard work that transformative change demands.

When I graduated, I had an unsated wanderlust that led me to spend a year and a half living in a suburb of Busan, South Korea, and Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, teaching English. During that time I completed my life long dream of circumnavigating the world and stood on every continent — except Antarctica. But when it was time to return home, that place was Salt Lake. Later I moved to San Francisco, then Berkeley, where I ultimately worked as the senior director of public policy in the Berkeley mayor’s office.

But still, after seven years in the Bay Area, Salt Lake City called me home. My husband grew up here. I became an adult here. When push came to shove, we knew we wanted to grow old here.

I have seen the remarkable impact of public policy all around the world. From San Francisco to Busan, I can honestly say that Salt Lake is one of the best-run cities in the world. But Salt Lake is also in the midst of a transformation. What was once a small city nestled in the Wasatch Mountains is now a mid-sized city by every meaningful metric, and it’s growing fast.

I left my corporate job to run for this office because District 7 deserves someone who is attending to the district full-time. Our major thoroughfares are constantly under construction, new buildings keep popping up in our business district, Allen Park is being reborn and so much more. Change is coming fast, and we only really have one chance to get it right.

Residents deserve someone who can dedicate her full attention to managing this tumultuous period. Someone who will take your calls, answer your emails, attend local meetings and truly engage in the difficult business of negotiating between all of Sugar House’s stakeholders. I know I’m that person.

I’ve done a lot in my short career: English teacher, senior director of public policy in a mayor’s office, small business owner, certified project manager and trustee on the Sugar House Community Council, just to name a few. I have the breadth of experience necessary to navigate these complex issues and I’ve got the time to devote myself fully.

We can alleviate Salt Lake’s most pressing problems such as housing affordability and homelessness, air pollution and water conservation, but we will have to make tough choices and compromise.

We can land the Olympics again in 2034, but we need to start building that infrastructure now and we need to ensure that — like last time — what we build serves a purpose beyond one-time tourists. We can even mitigate many of the smaller daily frustrations like traffic, parking and construction with better planning, zoning and sensible requirements for new development.

Change always comes. The City Council cannot put Salt Lake under glass or freeze it in time. However, we can direct that change. Rising to meet these challenges, and ensuring Salt Lake becomes an even better place for all her residents will take tenacity, focus and dedication. That is what I’ll bring to City Hall.

I can’t promise you I’ll be perfect, but I do promise I’ll always show up, reach out, listen and compromise. I promise to run city business transparently in open meetings, not behind closed doors. I promise to work every day at directing Salt Lake’s future for the betterment of all of us who call this city home.

My aspiration is for lifelong residents like my husband, aspiring small-town dreamers like me, and newcomers from all walks of life to consider Salt Lake City as their cherished home. I hope you’ll vote, and if you do vote I hope you’ll vote for me.

Molly Jones

Molly Jones is a Sugar House small business owner and is deeply involved in her community’s future and well-being.