In Depth: Candidates have similar progressive agendas

Incumbent Salt Lake City Councilwoman Nancy Saxton is a self-proclaimed progressive who proudly touts liberal reforms she has pushed during her eight years on the council.

But two candidates challenging Saxton for her council seat in District 4 say she is not the candidate of change.

Challengers Luke Garrott and Brian Doughty both said they have views that they would consider progressive. Garrott, a political science professor at the U, is a liberal Democrat, and Doughty, who sells machinery for Welch Equipment, said he is an Independent but considers himself “socially and environmentally progressive (while) fiscally conservative.”

And the two say Saxton has not been consistent with the progressive views she champions.

“I think I have clearer vision than she does,” Garrott said.

He pointed to Saxton’s votes against current Mayor Rocky Anderson’s efforts to create Youth City, an after-school program for young people, and to allow for open space on the east side of the Salt Lake City Library. Doughty and Garrott said Saxton has allowed personal conflicts with the mayor to cloud her judgment on these issues.

“You know her and Rocky are like oil and water,” Doughty said.

Saxton, however, said her poor relationship with the mayor is something Anderson has created.

“The mayor has often singled me out as someone who he takes umbrage with,” she said. “I’ve actually voted for his proposals more than not.”

Saxton said her experience gives her a clear edge in the race. During her time on the council, Saxton said she has sponsored and passed more ordinances than any other current member.

“That really does set me apart,” she said. “Experience is really important on the City Council.”

Garrott and Doughty rival or top Saxton in the amount of campaign contributions they have recieved — Garrott has raised about $12,300, followed by Doughty with $4,600 and Saxton with $3,600. Saxton was running for Salt Lake City Mayor, but dropped out of the race in July.

The other two candidates in the race, Jack Gray and Carol Goode, have raised less money and are running less visible campaigns — neither have a campaign website. Gray has raised about $1,500 in donations and Goode has brought in $500. Gray and Goode could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

While the candidates disagree over who is most apt to make change, they have similar positions on many issues being discussed in the race. All the candidates stress the importance of affordable housing, advocate efforts to lessen the city’s environmental impact and support preserving open spaces.

“I find that local issues tend to be left,” Saxton said.

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Tyler Cobb

U alumnus Roger Jackson converses with city council candidate and U professor Luke Garrott as Garrott campaigned door-to-door on Saturday morning.