Race: Santaquin City Council

Email: jessicajo430@gmail.com

Age: 33

Occupation: ESL teacher

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

People are concerned about high-density housing and the way it affects traffic patterns and that they could essentially be built in someone’s back yard. Santaquin is experiencing a growth spurt right now and it’s crucial that we develop and promote that growth in a way that is beneficial to long-time residents, new move ins and potential residents. There are many people in the city who have lived here for a long time and it's important to respect them and their ideas as well as acknowledging that growth is inevitable and we need to be proactive about having our vision and plan set so that when developers come they will know and share our vision for Santaquin. I think it’s good to have a diversity of housing but I think there needs to be a moratorium on high density housing until the zoning can be changed. In serving on the planning commission I’ve learned that when developers come in, we cannot deny a plan just based on not liking it. If it meets city code and is in the right zone then it gets approved. This would have to happen quickly because we cannot stop high density from happening. Other cities in Utah have tried and have faced costly lawsuits with developers and have ultimately lost those. The legislature is looking at taking away zoning rights from cities and in order to not have that happen we need to allow high density housing. Water is always a concern and I know Santaquin has an excellent ability to recycle water and we need to make sure that treatment facility can keep up with the growth and be sure we always have it on the forefront of our minds when doing our budget that eventually it will need to expand and we want to do that before it’s too late. A concern is that more people will move in and the city won’t maintain its identity of being a small town with a focus on community, it will just be a place of strip malls and apartments but it doesn’t have to be and if we hold strong to our roots, maintain and enhance our current social infrastructure we can still keep that identity.

What sets you apart from other candidates?

It's a tribute to our city that most growth comes from within. Santaquin is a desirable place to live and people want to raise a family in the same way that they were raised. I didn't grow up in Santaquin but I want to maintain the values that long time residents have. I share the vision they have for Santaquin while recognizing that growth comes in. But through proper zoning and an introduction of agro-tourism we can still maintain the balance of the city. I love serving this city and I hope to continue to do it for many years.

What relevant experience do you have for this position?

I currently serve on the planning commission as well as the chairperson for the recreation board. I’m passionate about city service. I think that for a community to grow in the best way possible is for the community members to be involved and to serve each other. At planning commission and recreation board meetings I have learned that the best way to serve a city is to take myself and my own opinions out of the situation and really think about an issue with the entire community in mind. Always thinking, will this benefit the majority of the city? and how can we stay balanced as a community.

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

The passion I have for city service came as soon as we moved here when I began coaching my kids’ sports teams. Being involved in making the city great is something I like to do and I’m good at. To make Santaquin great we need to promote growth but plan for that growth in the best way possible so we can maintain the small city charm and the sense of community that we all currently enjoy.