Ben McAdams quiets critics with willingness to listen, compromise

Published: Sunday, Aug. 12 2012 6:00 p.m. MDT

Becker is one of several elected officials within the county who have endorsed McAdams in the race against Republican Mark Crockett, a former county councilman.

But neither McAdams nor Crockett view the race as Republican vs. Democrat.

"Salt Lake County voters, by and large, are independent," McAdams said. "Neither candidate is going to win without crossover support from independents and the other party."

Last month, Republican mayors from throughout the county joined McAdams on the median of Vine Street in Murray to show their support for the candidate. The event was purposely held in the middle of the road — not on the right or the left — to demonstrate what supporters say is McAdams' non-partisan nature.

"Ben is a consensus builder whose even tempered, non-partisan and pragmatic approach to tough issues like fiscal management, education and sustainable communities makes him my choice to lead Salt Lake County into the future," Taylorsville Mayor Russ Wall said. "He not only gets things done; he gets things done the right way."

As a father of four, McAdams has his children in mind with many of the things he wants to get done as county mayor. He wants to make sure his kids have access to quality education; he wants them to be able to go outside at recess, and not have to worry about unhealthy air; and he wants them to have places to live and work when their education is complete.

"I know that when you look at public eduction, most of the pieces of that puzzle are at the state level," McAdams said. "But there are things the county can do, and I'm committed to doing that."

He says the county needs to increase after-school programs, particularly those for at-risk kids. Salt Lake County also has a large refugee population that needs extra attention.

"I really think the future of our schools is the most important issue for residents of Salt Lake County right now," McAdams said. "That's the most important issue in our family. What kind of education will our kids receive as they attend our neighborhood schools?"

As for air quality, McAdams says it's time to "stop talking and start finding solutions."

"The real solution has to be over the long term," he said.

Encouraging people to drive less and not idle their cars is a good start, McAdams said, but promoting smart growth throughout the valley, focusing on commercial centers where people can live, work and play will have long-term benefits.

"Growth is neither good nor bad," he said. "What's good or bad is what we do to prepare for it. Preparing for circumstances we see in the future is a Utah value. We shouldn't just find ourselves letting it happen to us. We should plan ahead and prepare."

With growth comes an opportunity for give shape to the county, McAdams said.

"Over the next four years, we're going to be making decisions about what we want our county to look like in the next generation," he said. "Those are very important decisions, and I believe we should put our hands on the steering wheel and decide where we're going to go."

* * *

Ben McAdams

Age: 37

Political party: Democrat

Occupation: Senior adviser to Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker; also teaches securities law at the University of Utah

Politics: Has served in Utah Senate since December 2009, when he replaced Sen. Scott McCoy 


Education: Bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Utah; law degree from Columbia Law School

Family: Wife, Julie; four children — twins Kate and James, 6; Robert, 4; and Isaac, 1

Residence: Salt Lake City

Website: www.benmcadams.com

E-mail: jpage@desnews.com

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