Race: Orem City Council

Email: sam@sam4orem.com

Website: https://sam4orem.com

Facebook: https://facebook.com/sam4orem

Occupation: Dell EMC Operations Lead

Age: 35

Education: BYU - BS Information Systems, Master of Information Systems Management

What are the biggest issues facing your city and how do you plan to address them?

Public Safety – We recently approved hiring 4 additional police officers and made improvements to our public safety career ladder program to retain our best trained, most experienced police officers and firefighters. In the coming years, in addition to hiring more police officers, we will also need to hire additional firefighters. When the time comes to open a new fire station--just a few years away--we cannot expect to hire and train 15 new qualified firefighters at a time. We need a more phased approach to ramp up to that level. Developing a long-term master plan for both departments will help us ensure public safety is staffed and funded at appropriate levels while helping us maintain a balanced, fiscally responsible budget.

UTOPIA – Over the last few years, I have spent over 1,000 hours working on solutions for UTOPIA. While the rest of the Council opted not to act on the more ambitious proposals I brought forward, UTOPIA has still had a dramatic turnaround. The network is now positioned to expand and thrive without adding any city debt, taxes, or fees. The second half of Orem’s network will be completed within 3 years, which is impressive since the first half took 15 years!

Planning – The city’s master planning and neighborhood planning efforts already under way will be critical tools for developing a clear vision for Orem’s next 20-30 years and beyond. I am proud of the way our city planners have drawn residents, business owners, and other stakeholders into our planning meetings, open houses, and visioning exercises. It’s one of the reasons we see such intense ownership of our neighborhoods, and we’re empowering residents to help lead the way.

Fiscal Sustainability – For many years, Orem has benefited from being Utah County’s retail hub. Strong sales tax revenue has helped us maintain unusually low property tax rates. When facing a recession like 2008, though, we are heavily exposed to budget shortfalls. We had to scale back on several essential services, including both police and fire services. The modest $1/month property tax we recently approved to hire 4 more officers will make us more resilient to economic downturns. Essential city services will be more sustainable, even as online sales and rapid retail growth in other areas of the County compete for Orem’s sales tax revenue.

What sets you apart from other candidates?

I believe my approach to serving on the City Council has provided a needed boost to public engagement in Orem. Our staff has made tremendous strides forward inviting the public into our planning and decision-making process. We need Council members who are willing to embrace that mindset—to engage in ways that get us outside our comfort zone and open to scrutiny. It helps us consider each perspective more carefully and leads to robust, sound decisions.

As the youngest member of the Council, I have provided a valuable point of view for a community with a median age of just 26. Having representatives from multiple generations helps keep us mindful of opportunities and challenges our residents face at each stage of life.

Perhaps what sets me apart most is my thorough attention to detailed research and analysis. The platform I published on my website contains 3 times the amount of information as the other 5 candidates combined! I understand that public policy is more complex than what fits on a bumper sticker. I am willing to acknowledge the nuances of each issue and facilitate open discussions with real feedback and follow up.

In asking for your vote to represent you for the next 4 years, we have a duty to inform voters where we stand on key city issues. We cannot communicate everything we stand for in a few hundred words, unless we don't stand for much.

I invite you to read through the Issues pages of my website to understand why I am the most prepared to serve.

What relevant experience do you have for this position?

In the years leading up to my first election (2015), I attended Council meetings regularly and interviewed each department director to better understand the problems they were working to solve. Speaking to thousands of residents while knocking doors, I listened to where they felt the city was succeeding and where the city needed to improve. That allowed me to hit the ground running the day I took office.

During my almost 4 years in office, I have made a point to participate in events in every Orem neighborhood, develop relationships with staff members from every department, and heavily engage with each of the committees to which I’ve been assigned.

For each of my City Council committee assignments, I have made a point to get to know each of our citizen volunteers personally and actively engage in the issues they research. In some cases, committees became temporarily short-handed, so I volunteered to bridge the gap. With the Beautification Committee, for example, one of my favorite activities was presenting beautification awards to residents who made an extra effort to beautify and brighten their neighborhoods with well-planned and well-groomed landscaping. My committee assignments have included:

• Beautification Commission

• Natural Resources Stewardship Committee

• Orem Youth Council

• Planning Commission

• Public Works Advisory Commission

• UCCU Center Board

• Utah Infrastructure Agency (UIA) Board

Professionally, I have had the privilege of working with some of the biggest names in technology (Apple, Google, Oracle, Dell EMC), working on complex financial modeling projects. That skillset and experience helped tremendously as we worked through our options for addressing UTOPIA, for example. I earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Information Systems Management from BYU’s Marriott

What previous elected positions have you held?

Orem City Council, 2016-present

Is there anything else you want our readers to know about you?

Nothing against vanilla, but I am not a vanilla candidate. I rock boats. I ruffle feathers. A more cunning politician would be more prone to using vague, neutral language that avoids taking any substantive position at all. That is just not me. I am direct and transparent. I do not dance around the issues. I attack them head on.

My mindset has always been that each of the issues we discuss is about people. And in many cases, those issues not only affect people today, but will affect several generations to come. That is why the platform I published on my website is so detailed and comprehensive.

Voters deserve to know where we stand on each issue, and you deserve elected officials that hold themselves accountable to what they say. Many of you feel the answers you receive when questioning certain candidates on city issues are inconsistent. By publishing my positions publicly and in great detail, you can be assured my response to you is the same as my response to your neighbor or a friend across town.

That is part of my relentless commitment to be open and transparent with each of you. I am the first and only member of the Council with a page dedicated to communicating with Orem residents. If elected to represent you for 4 more years, I will continue to make being Orem's most accessible elected official a top priority.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve and represent you. I look forward to your calls, texts, emails, and Facebook messages as we work together to build a better Orem!