13 file to fill Orem mayoral vacancy

Published: Saturday, Oct. 22 2011 1:00 p.m. MDT

OREM — Current and former City Council members and a former state legislator are among the 13 applicants interesting in filling the remaining two years of late-Mayor Jerry Washburn's term.

Washburn, the longest serving mayor in Orem's history, died Sept. 26 after a long battle with cancer.

Orem's mayor performs ceremonial responsibilities and is a voting member of the City Council. The mayor and council members serve part time.

The council plans to make its final decision on the replacement Oct. 24 in a closed meeting at 5 p.m., then announce its decision publicly at 6 p.m. The chosen applicant would then be sworn in as mayor at the City Council meeting Oct. 25, at 6 p.m.

The candidates are:

Norman L. Nielsen is a former member of the Utah House of Representatives and was raised in Orem. He has also been the director of the Polynesian Cultural Center, president pro-tem of the Laie, Hawaii Town Council, past president of SCERA and produced, with his wife, the Miss Utah Pageant for 20 years. He also holds bachelor's degree in economics from Brigham Young University.

"My desire is only to serve the city for the remainder of Mayor Washburn's term," he said. "As interim mayor, I would favor programs that enhance the quality of life from for Orem residents."

Karen McCandless is in her third term on the City Council. She said she has served as a council liaison to 13 city commissions. She is also a member of Intermountain Healthcare's Women's Advisory Council, the Orem Kiwanis Club board and is a volunteer substitute driver for Meals on Wheels. "This service has helped me better understand the needs of women, children and the elderly in our community. My service on (Utah Valley University's) Continuing and Community Education Advisory Board keeps me apprised and involved in the development of programs to meet our community's education needs," she said. "My service has given me an excellent understanding of how Orem city functions and what issues it currently faces."

Richard Jackson served eight years on the City Council and has served on the city's planning commission and board of appeals. He has also served on the Utah County Board of Adjustment and Orem's Community Development Block Grant Advisory Committee. He spent five years as a member of the Utah Transit Authority Board of Directors, four years as a member of the Mountainlands Association of Governments Physical Planning Committee, and was a founding member of the Provo Canyon-Utah Lake-Jordan River trail committee.

Jackson is a retired Brigham Young University geography and planning professor. "I want to do my part to ensure that Orem will continue to be a great place for both families and businesses. I am retired and in excellent health, and have just completed what I hope will be my last book, so I have the time to devote to this position."

James T. Evans is a former City Council member and currently serves on the Utah State Board of Regents. He is also a trustee for the Mountainland Applied Technology College and the Utah College of Applied Technology. He is a former member of the Alpine School District Board and Orem/Provo Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and was Mountainland Regional Director for the Utah Department of Workforce Services. He is Chief Operating Officer and senior vice president of Xactware Solutions Inc. and holds a bachelor's in communications from Brigham Young University.

He said he and his wife, Tana, have lived in Orem since 1984. "Our three children have enjoyed the benefits of many of the recreational opportunities afforded by Orem city, not to mention the premier children's library in the state," he said. "During my time on the council I had the opportunity to work under three mayors and witness their different styles in leading the City Council."

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