Following last year’s midterm elections, many newly elected officials have begun or will soon begin their terms of service representing the people of Utah and Utah County.
From a new county sheriff to new school board representatives and everything in between, here are the 16 newly-elected officials representing Utah County in local and state positions.
(Many officials began their service prior to their election because of extenuating circumstances such as seat vacancies before the election.)
Tanner Ainge: County Commission Seat A
Ainge sat in his first commission meeting Tuesday morning after having cruised to victory over both a primary opponent and a third-party opponent in the general election.
First brought into the spotlight when he ran against now-Rep. John Curtis for an open Third Congressional District seat, Ainge later decided to run for a commission seat left open by one-term commissioner Greg Graves.
David Leavitt: Utah County Attorney
David Leavitt, who is taking over for departing Utah County Attorney Jeff Buhman, said that even after a tough campaign, he’s impressed with the welcome he’s received from the Utah County Attorney’s office staff.
In the Republican primary, Leavitt ran against Utah County’s criminal division chief, Chad Grunander, who was backed by Buhman. Despite this, Leavitt lauded Buhman for inviting him into the office after he won the election to facilitate a smoother transition.
Leavitt said his goal for the county attorney’s office is that every case will be handled and examined with the scrutiny an individual would hope to see on his or her own case.
Amelia Powers: Utah County Clerk/Auditor
Amelia Powers is bringing her business consulting experience to the Utah County Clerk/Auditor’s office, which Governor Gary Herbert called the “epicenter of dysfunction” during this last election cycle.
Taking over an office with known problems was, at first, overwhelming to her, Powers said. But, after meeting with other local officials, she is convinced that everyone else is willing to work with her to keep Utah County one of the best places to live and raise a family.
Mike Smith: Utah County Sheriff
Mike Smith, former Pleasant Grove Police Chief, reflected on his first four months as sheriff after being sworn in a few months early when sitting Utah County Sheriff resigned in August.
September saw the rapid growth and subsequent response to the Pole Creek and Bald Mountain fires, forcing Smith to respond to a crisis shortly after being sworn in.
But Smith said those months allowed him to see the sheriff’s department and the rest of the community come together and unite to get through the problem.
Amber Bonner: Alpine School District 2
Amber Bonner has spent time serving on school community councils, in PTAs, on the district community council, on statewide education committees, has been a booster president at the high school level and volunteers in her children’s classes weekly.
“I am passionate about kids’ education and about making sure the needs of individuals are met and that we can be doing the most we can to make sure kids individually are getting their needs met,” Bonner said. “That’s the most important thing we could be doing.”
Sarah Beeson: Alpine School District 3
Sarah Beeson said she’s always been involved with schools in some capacity, whether it’s volunteering, being a PTA president, serving on a school community council or being a booster president for the American Fork High School Marching Band.
She’s concerned about school fees and doesn’t want extracurricular activities to be removed or not supported because of fees. She’s concerned about fee waivers and wants to work with the state legislature to pass legislature that is equitable for all students.
Ada Wilson: Alpine School District 5
Ada Wilson said she’s passionate about education and has had longtime involvement in schools.
She’s concerned about the consequences of the Alpine School District’s fast growth, including crowded schools that she said could be causing emotional problems in children. She wants to work about increasing the number of psychologists and counselors in schools.
Melanie Hall: Provo City School Board District 2
Melanie Hall was appointed to the Provo City School District Board of Education in 2017 after Michelle Kaufusi resigned from the board upon becoming elected the mayor of Provo.
Hall said she decided to run for the seat after enjoying her time on the board over the past year.
She said she wants the board to continue looking at school safety and aims to be an advocate for children.
Jennifer Partridge: Provo City School Board District 4
Partridge has served on the PTA at both the school and district level. She was also on the district’s facility advisory committee for the district’s most recent bond and for the potential upcoming one.
Partridge said she is focused on supporting teachers and students, along with helping to meet needs.
Dan McCay: State Senate District 11
Dan McCay previously served in the state house of representatives before his election to the senate. McCay said he believes, “Growth and infrastructure are the biggest issues facing Utah. We need to continue spending to improve infrastructure at the Point of the Mountain and on the west to be able to support growth.
Keith Grover: Utah Senate District 15
Keith Grover also spent some time as a state representative before serving on the state senate. Grover was appointed to fill the seat in June after Sen. Margaret Dayton resigned due to health issues. Grover said he believes growth, public education funding, UVU funding and transportation infrastructure are the biggest issues facing Utah County today.
Brady Brammer: State House Seat 27
Brady Brammer is an attorney from Highland.
“Because I have represented cities and other governmental entities in my private law practice and because I have served on Highland's planning commission, I know that we need foresight, planning, and attention to detail on solutions to help us deal with the growth we all see in our area as well as foresight on the growth we all know is coming. This will require a focus on transportation, communication, water, and other public services. Through proper planning, budgeting and oversight, we can save taxpayer dollars and help guide intelligent growth,” he said.
Jon Hawkins: State House Seat 57
Jon Hawkins is from Pleasant Grove and is a manager of sales engineering at WorkFront. He earned his MBA from BYU.
"My business experience has taken me all over the country and internationally. Throughout my life and career, I have gained the experience and understanding it takes to lead a group of people, to build a consensus, and to initiate and follow through on major undertakings on behalf of an organization," he said.
Marsha Judkins: State House Seat 61
Marsha Judkins was appointed in July to fill the seat vacated by Keith Grover, who filled the Senate District 15 seat. Judkins is a Developmental Math adjunct professor from Provo. She said education is a big priority for her, saying, “I believe curriculum and policy decisions should be made at as local a level as possible with parent and teacher involvement. I support prioritizing and focusing funding towards raising teachers' salaries to a competitive wage.”
Adam Robertson: State House District 63
Adam Robertson was selected to replace Dean Sanpei in January 2018 after Sanpei resigned for a new job in Colorado.
Robertson is the Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at Fortem Technologies Inc.
Robertson concurred that growth and transportation are some of Utah County’s greatest issues.
“The phenomenal growth is particularly challenging and requires careful planning to deal with housing, air quality, water, education, and transportation,” he said.
Cindy Davis: Utah State Board of Education District 9
Cindy Davis is an adjunct professor at UVU and has a Masters in Education Leadership and Policy from the U of U.
Davis has held elected positions on School Community Councils at Deerfield Elementary School, Mountain Ridge Junior High School and Lone Peak High School.
“There is a real need for adults in the community to step up and be willing to serve our young people in whatever capacity we can,” She said. “As a parent I give schools my children's best hours of the day when they are fresh, awake and alert. We need to all work together as parents, educators, community members and policy makers to make sure that those hours in school are not good but great for all children.”