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West Valley councilman announces bid for mayor

Published: Tuesday, May 28 2013 3:50 p.m. MDT

WEST VALLEY CITY — City Councilman Don Christensen announced his candidacy for mayor Tuesday while speaking live on KSL Newsradio's "The Doug Wright Show."

"The issues facing our city require that we continue pushing forward," Christensen said. "I bring a lifetime of community service and yet am completely up to speed on what it will take to meet the challenges we face today in West Valley City."

The at-large city councilman's announcement follows news last week that first-term Mayor Mike Winder would not seek re-election this fall. Winder said his decision was motivated by a desire to secure more gainful employment to provide for his family. The mayor of West Valley City, Utah's second-largest city, reportedly earns $35,000 a year.

"In our form of government, it's a part-time mayor," Winder said, "but it's not very part-time at all, of course, because there's daily demands. As the breadwinner of my family, it makes it tough to raise a family of four on."

The city's police department has also come under scrutiny in recent years, first for its prolonged investigation into the 2009 disappearance of Susan Cox Powell and more recently for allegations of corruption in the city's former Neighborhood Narcotics Unit that have resulted in more than 100 criminal cases being dismissed by the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office.

Christensen said, as mayor, he would focus on three things: improving transparency and accountability in government and public safety; job development and business recruitment; and creating volunteer opportunities for city residents to maintain clean and safe neighborhoods throughout the city.

"Every day is our chance to make our city a little better," he said.

Christensen is a first-term councilman and retired educator. He holds a master's degree in education from the University of Utah and a doctorate in education from BYU. He previously served as an elected member of the Utah State Board of Education.

Email: benwood@deseretnews.com

Twitter: bjaminwood

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