Majority of Vineyard officeholders now women
Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said, “If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done ask a woman.” If that is the case there is going to be a lot accomplished in the next four years in Vineyard.
As a result of ranked choice voting outcomes, Vineyard not only has a woman in the mayor’s office, and voting member of the city council, in Julie Fullmer, but three of the four other councilmembers are women. Tyce Flake, who has been serving on the council, is the lone man of the group.
Vineyard, one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S., is embarking on several large projects including the build-out of its new downtown area, the Utah Lake boardwalk, transportation facilities and more housing and businesses. It will take strong ideas and a fresh approach to accomplish the desired outcomes for these projects, according to Fullmer.
Fullmer, now starting her second term, has shown her capacity to get things done for her city on a county, state and federal level. The council, to date has supported her in those efforts. Fullmer expects that will continue and even more will be accomplished as they look forward.
“Our council has the wonderful commonality of being majority women, but we all have a great variety of strengths, focuses and opinions along with mutual respect and excitement of working together,” Fullmer said. “I am grateful for the City of Vineyard for being willing to entrust me and the rest of the council with this opportunity.”
Last June, Fullmer and other elected female leaders held a “Utah Women Run” event. The goal was to help women learn why they should run for office, how to run, what they have to do and where they can go for help.
Fullmer said it’s about giving back by showing up.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve such an incredible city. I have a true love for the people of this community and region, and I’m proud to call Vineyard home,” Fullmer said.
“The power of people is how we can get things done in our communities,” Fullmer said. “Stand up and show up for what you want to see happen. Invest time to meet with these people and gain opportunities from these connections.”
That is what these new Vineyard council members expect to do. They are committed to be service oriented and love their community.
Rasmussen’s path to the council started with her “Gardening in Vineyard” Facebook page.
“I became a Master Gardener in 2020 in hopes of not only learning about a subject I love, but to become more useful to Vineyard,” Rasmussen said.”
She was then appointed to the planning commission and ran for city council. She was instrumental in the opening of the Community Garden in Vineyard last June.
“As the Vineyard garden lady, I look forward to continuing to develop education programs for residents for their gardens and landscapes, as well as helping to ensure we select the most appropriate plants for our parks and public spaces,” Rasmussen said. “I am eager to witness the construction of our downtown, an opportunity to revisit a more traditional way of community building with the wonderful work of Jeff Speck.”
“Expanding our community garden, working with local organizations on social equity and opportunity, enhancing our sustainability standards, and bringing more art and culture to this budding city are just some of the things I look forward to participating in,” Rasmussen added.
“The core of my campaign was sustainability and community self-sufficiency. As the councilmember over sustainability and conservation, I want to work with city staff to develop meaningful sustainability standards for our civic buildings and general plan,” Rasmussen said. “I would like to initiate community outreach to enable citizens to understand why awareness of protecting our natural resources and minimizing our impact is important, and how they can do that in a way that is both feasible and significant.”
Rasmussen says she is thrilled to work with Fullmer on the Arts and Culture Committee. “We have a wealth of creative and diverse citizens who are eager to share their ways of self-expression and heritage, and I know that offering opportunities for that will bring an increase in well-being and community identity,” she said.
“It is important for us to continue turning inward, reflecting on what it means to be a citizen of our city. I have observed a shift in understanding of the natural world, and I know that we have an opportunity to introduce nature-based solutions, seek more efficient ways to produce energy and maintain comfort, and recognize how fortunate we are to inhabit this growing city by the lake. The resources we have here are replete, and I hope to help steer us in a direction that retains those resources while inspiring innovation.”
Although Sifuentes has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Utah Valley University, she went into the business field and now has a professional home bakery in her basement, specializing in a variety of artisan breads made from sour dough.
“I have been baking sourdough bread for years,” Sifuentes said. “When my husband lost his job during COVID, the community stepped up and ordered bread. That gave us hope and a financial boost.”
Sifuentes said that after her husband found a new job, and things normalized, her Vineyard Bakery continued to grow and now it is her business that keeps her going.
“I am excited to serve on Vineyard City Council. I love our city and want so badly to help shape our future while representing Vineyard’s citizens,” Sifuentes said. “Vineyard is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. I plan to focus on our economic development, smart zoning, safety, transportation, and parking. Specifically, I look forward to the development of downtown Vineyard. Attracting the right businesses and planning smart access and parking will be vital for the area. What we do now will have a lasting effect on our community.”
“Being one of the fastest growing cities in the country. We have had a lot of land that has developed at a very fast pace with a fairly young city. I want to do my best to complement the staff and council in making wise decisions and creating smart plans. I’m really excited about our downtown area where we are developing an economic centerpiece for Utah County. I feel that we have accomplished so much and we have so much to look forward to,” she added.
Sifuentes said her new assignments on the council cater to her personality, and what she is able to do. Fullmer has asked her to help in a variety of way including economic zoning, planning commission, Alpine School District, library, Bike Commission, senior residents, Parks and Recreation and events.
“I am going to put my heart and soul into this position and hope to be proud of what we accomplish together,” Sifuentes added.
Cristy Welsh and Tyce Flake both are continuing their service on the council. Their biographical information was made available through the city.
“Our family moved from the Pacific Northwest back to Utah over Thanksgiving of 2014 and knew Vineyard was to be our home,” Welsh said. “I quickly got involved in our community and it was a pleasure to serve on the planning commission from 2016-2019. Now as a City Councilor I strive to protect our city’s heritage while thoughtfully encouraging innovative, prudent growth. I am dedicated to maintaining our quality of life and ensuring that we stay connected as a community.”
Outside of her civic service, Welsh says she enjoys her work as the Program Coordinator for Brigham Young University’s Simmons Center for Cancer Research.
She has a Bachelor of Arts from BYU in Media Art Studies and worked in the film and television industry.
“Vineyard is in the middle of dramatic growth. The decisions of the city council will have long lasting effects on the quality of life in our town. I have spent a majority of my life serving my country, and my adopted state. I now seek to serve my community,” Flake said.
“My broad range of service, experience, organizational management, and personnel management gives me a unique skill set. Since I am retired from my past professional obligations, I am prepared and able to give the town of Vineyard my full time attention,” Flake added.
Flake has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from BYU.
Flake was recently awarded the Citizen Forester of the Year from the International Society of Abrioculture-Utah Chapter/Utah Community Forest Council for his work on Vineyard’s Tree Manual.
He retired from teaching secondary education in 2012 after 20 years. He taught World Geography, American History, and Comparative Political Systems (a citizenship class for immigrants). Among other administrative assignments he was on the text book selection committee for the Alpine School District.
He retired from the Air Force in 2001 as a Senior Master Sargent (E8). He had a combined 30 years of service in the Air Force, Air National Guard and Active A.F. Reserve. His training included Logistics, Facilities Management, Munitions Management, and Disaster Response.
“I was deployed during the Vietnam conflict and three times during the Middle East conflicts,” Flake added.