SALT LAKE CITY — Promising to listen to what residents have on their minds, Jenny Wilson took the oath of office as Salt Lake County mayor on Tuesday.
Wilson, a Democrat, knocked on hundreds of doors while campaigning for U.S. Senate last year and called many voters during the mayoral race. She said meeting people at their homes was more meaningful than a decade on the County Council and working on congressional staffs in Washington, D.C.
"The thing that impacted me the most are those doorstep conversations, and that’s what this government is all about," she said. "If we forget about the people at the door and what they’re feeling, the stress that they’re feeling, many of them, we’re not doing our job."
Salt Lake County Democrats chose Wilson over three other candidates Saturday to fill the remaining two years of former Mayor Ben McAdams' term after he was elected to Congress last November. Wilson intends to run for election to a full four-year term in 2020.
"I am going to be a mayor who's out there. I'm going to go out to communities," she said.
Wilson told a packed council chamber that she's "humbled" to move forward with her own vision for the state's largest county.
Residents, she said, are worried about continued growth threatening their way of life, they want full Medicaid expansion and are "craving clean air."
"One of the things I hear over and over recently is we want our air cleaned up, and to me that means everybody has to give," Wilson said.5 comments on this story
The county in the past year had an "aha moment" over housing. Young people, she said, are having a challenge finding housing, even with low unemployment.
"We're going to need somebody in this role to drive solutions for affordable housing and, frankly, housing affordability," she said.
Homelessness also remains a challenge, Wilson said, adding she will continue to build on what McAdams did in that area.
Wilson's election as mayor opens up her at-large seat on the County Council. Salt Lake County Democrats will meet in 30 days to fill the vacancy.