Saying he'll be tough on crime, friendly to police officers and conscious to not raise taxes, Republican David Buhler formally announced Monday his candidacy for Salt Lake City mayor.
Buhler, a former aide to Sen. Orrin Hatch and Gov. Norm Bangerter, is now the executive director of the state Department of Commerce, a post Bangerter appointed him to.A number of well-known Republicans, including the governor, attended Buhler's announcement, held in the foyer of the old South High School.
"If the voters elect me, here's what they'll get - a mayor who will limit taxes, a mayor who will be tough on crime, a mayor who will work to increase home ownership, a mayor who will encourage economic development and a mayor who will be an energetic advoPlease see BUHLER on B2
cate for the city on every issue vital to our future," he said.
Buhler is the only announced Republican in the mayor's race this year. Democrats in the non-partisan race include businesswoman Deedee Corradini; state Rep. David Jones, D-Salt Lake; and Mike Zuhl, Salt Lake Mayor Palmer DePaulis' chief of staff. DePaulis chose not to seek re-election this year. He's often mentioned as a gubernatorial candidate in 1992, although he hasn't announced his intentions yet.
Buhler picked former Salt Lake City councilwoman Alice Shearer as chairman of his campaign. Shearer, a longtime Republican who also works in the Bangerter administration, said she's helping Buhler because she knows the problems of the city and knows Buhler can deal well with them.
While only 33, Buhler has considerable experience in government. In the late-1970s he worked as a constituent aide to Hatch in Utah. When Bangerter was elected governor in 1984, Buhler helped on the campaign and left Hatch to work in the governor's office.
Bangerter, down 35 points in the polls against former Salt Lake City Mayor Ted Wilson in 1988, tapped Buhler to manage his re-election campaign. It was a tough job, with little money coming in, but Buhler stuck it out, and Bangerter won by 2 percentage points.
Buhler was rewarded with the executive directorship of the Commerce Department, where over the past two years he's managed to return $275,000 to state coffers in unspent funds, cut red tape in business regulation and helped convince the Public Service Commission to lower utility rates, saving customers $80 million.
"That is the kind of leadership I'm ready to provide Salt Lake City," he said.
Buhler said he'll run a door-to-door campaign. But it's clear he'll have the support of big-hitting Republicans as well. He'll need it. Recent polls show Salt Lake City residents are mostly independents, and while more lean toward the Republican Party than the Democratic Party, ever since the change in government in 1979 only Democrats have won the mayor's office.