Eagle Mountain mayor is first to run for re-election

2009-07-02T00:05:00Z Eagle Mountain mayor is first to run for re-electionCaleb Warnock - Daily Herald Daily Herald
July 02, 2009 12:05 am  • 

EAGLE MOUNTAIN -- Eagle Mountain on Wednesday experienced a historic first, and a sign of the times.

For the first time since the city was incorporated on Dec. 3, 1996, a mayor here is running for re-election, rather than -- not to put too fine a point on it -- being run out of town, so to speak.

At 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Mayor Heather Jackson filed her application to run for a second term. If she wins, she could accomplish a second historic feat, potentially becoming the first mayor here to serve a full four-year term. Jackson said her goal as mayor was to put controversy to rest, a goal she feels she has accomplished.

"I feel we are getting boring," Jackson said with a laugh on Wednesday. "That is one of the things I hear so often from people -- they thank me for not being in the press in a negative way. I am glad our city has finally grown up enough to have someone run for re-election."

Jackson won her mayoral seat in the fall of 2007 during a special mayoral election made necessary when then-Mayor Brian Olsen resigned after being charged with misusing public money, a charge he was ultimately acquitted of by a jury.

In Olsen's wake, Councilwoman Linn Strouse famously served as interim mayor for three weeks, drawing the ire and protest of city employees when she placed the city manager on leave. When the City Council met to consider removing her from office, she left the building 20 minutes before the meeting, making it impossible for the council to act according to state law.

After a bitter and highly charged election, Richard Culbertson, the candidate Jackson bested to win the mayoral seat, was ultimately sentenced to up to 15 years in prison for fraudulently obtaining several home loans.

Since being incorporated as a city in 1996, Eagle Mountain has had its share of controversy and legal problems involving elected officials. Councilman David Blackburn was cleared of conflict-of-interest allegations in June of 2007. Former Mayor Kelvin Bailey resigned in 2005, more than a year after pleading no contest to providing false information to police in a faked kidnapping.

Having just celebrated its 12th anniversary this summer, the city has had nine mayors; never has one served a full four-year term, although one mayor, Paul Bond, was elected and completed a two-year term. In 2005 alone, four different people acted in the mayoral position.

Jackson said on Wednesday that she didn't run again in order to accomplish anything historic, but her goal was to bring stability to the city, and by running again she hopes to continue that trend.

"As I thought about deciding whether to run for re-election or not, I thought the city has achieved some stability in the last year and a half, with the current council and myself, and I felt like it was really important for the city to continue that stability."

The mere fact that Jackson has applied as a candidate for re-election "is indicative of the city having reached a point of stability," said city spokeswoman Linda Peterson. "Our current council and mayor work well together with the best interests of the community at heart, rather than their own personal interests."

By the close of business on Wednesday, Jackson was the only person to have filed for mayoral candidacy in Eagle Mountain. Interested residents have until 5 p.m. on July 15 to file and pay a $50 candidacy fee.

Caleb Warnock can be reached at cwarnock@heraldextra.com.

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