Jason Olson, Deseret Morning News
Mayor Heather Jackson gets help from her son, Hugh, as she moves into her new office on Friday. She calls Eagle Mountain "the best city in Utah to live in."

EAGLE MOUNTAIN — To be sure, Heather Jackson takes one campaign promise very seriously: She's pledged not to embarrass the good folks who live in the fast-growing northern Utah Valley city by being charged, arrested, booked or indicted.

Jackson, who took her oath on Monday last week to become the 10th mayor of Eagle Mountain, is intent on bringing back luster and shine to City Hall's top office, which has been tarnished in recent years.

After all, this is the place that has gone through nine mayors in 12 years.

Jackson, whose newest son, Joseph, is only 3 weeks old, is well aware of the jokes Eagle Mountain has inspired. The very public antics of ex-elected officials in the city include one case of a former mayor who faked his own kidnapping, the case of a former city councilwoman who allegedly accepted money from a major city developer and didn't divulge it and a case of a former mayor who allegedly misused public funds.

To the end of not repeating recent history, Jackson told people while on the campaign trail that she won't break the law. At the very least, she says, she won't tell police she was abducted and forced to drive to California.

"I've lived here 9 1/2 years and haven't done anything crazy so far," she said in an interview with the Deseret Morning News. "I've spent two years on the City Council dealing with the crazy. My intention (is) being normal."

Originally from Maryland, Jackson came to Utah to attend school at Brigham Young University. She said she didn't earn her degree — one former Eagle Mountain mayor was fired from his job with the Utah Highway Patrol after it was discovered he'd lied about earning a master's degree — but has worked as a loan officer and at an escrow company, handling money and dealing with people's trust.

"I don't have any issues to hide in my closet," she said. "I've had two jobs in 15 years involving people's trust. ... It's a natural fit to being the mayor."

The rapid growth of the city — 250 at its inception in 1996 to roughly 23,000 now — created some infrastructure problems that former mayor Don Richardson and the City Council have begun to address.

Jackson says she will continue to push for progress with the city's infrastructure during her term, including adding power lines and finishing wells.

Jackson has several issues she wants to take care of in the city, besides, of course, changing the public perception.

Her to-do list includes opening the city offices on Fridays, pushing for more economic development and beautifying the city through finishing parks and trails.

Jackson says she hopes to lure more businesses to the city — including a grocer. Residents now must drive to nearby Saratoga Springs, Lehi or American Fork to shop.

Several office buildings are already under construction, as is a Maverik gas station, the city's second station. With the city's largest budget to date, Jackson will be able to bring many of her hopes to fruition.

Jackson said she hopes people will notice Eagle Mountain in a better light and see it for the great community it is.

"They need to know Eagle Mountain is the best city in Utah to live in," she said. "It's a wonderful diverse community of Utah."

Jackson said the city experiences a lot of transplant growth from California and the East Coast, as well as military families because of the proximity to Camp Williams, which makes it different from many communities in Utah.

She's excited to fill the role of mayor and says she can only do it because of the support of her family.

"I have a husband that supports me 100 percent," she said.

And her husband isn't the only one that supports her. City Councilman David Lifferth says he has complete faith that Jackson will guide the city well and stay out of personal catastrophe.

"I have great confidence that she will have no problems in her term," he said.


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