HILDALE (News4Utah) – Major changes are happening in the town of Hildale after they elected their first woman and first non-FLDS mayor.
“It’s been interesting to say the least,” said newly-elected City Councilman Jared Nicol.
Nicol said on Monday the last remaining FLDS city councilmen, Brian Jessop and Doran Jessop, stepped down.
“They still have pride in the city and the work they put in,” said Nicol.
Nicol moved with his wife and four children to Hildale three years ago from Midvale.
His friends, understanding the town’s polygamous roots, were concerned.
“They’re like: ‘Is that any place to raise a family?’ And it’s like: This is the best place to raise a family,” said Nicol.
Nicol said his first years in the border town were hard as he lobbied for change and finally decided to run for office.
Along with Mayor Donia Jessop, they are two of the first non-FLDS leaders in the city, a shake-up that continues to rattle the town.
“It’s not that we’re against anybody or looking to run anybody out of office or out of town, but we’re just looking for that balance,” said Nicol.
Mayor Donia Jessop tells News4Utah that Brian Jessop has not attended meetings since January, his position forfeited.
Nicol says Doran Jessop did not mention religious concerns in his resignation, although another council member’s resignation letter in January was more vocal.
“There has been one letter that spells in out very clearly that because of his religion, he will not work under a woman,” said Nicol
The resignations seem symbolic of the changing town demographics since FLDS leader Warren Jeffs arrest.
Nicol, who said he wants the best for both his FLDS and non-FLDS friends says he feels more people now have a voice.
“People can come in and give concerns and share ideas, and everything is going to be considered,” said Nicol.
A meeting is scheduled May 16th at City Hall to help fill those vacant seats.
Nicol says they are willing to look at anyone, no matter their religious affiliation.
In Hildale’s neighboring Colorado City, Arizona, many of their councilpersons continue to be faithful FLDS and loyal to Warren Jeffs.